Download Shape as Memory: A Geometric Theory of Architecture PDF

TitleShape as Memory: A Geometric Theory of Architecture
PublisherBirkhauser Verlag AG
ISBN 139783764370732
File Size3.1 MB
Total Pages93
Table of Contents
                            0 cover-image-large.jpg
1 front-matter.pdf
Contents - p04
History - p05
Chapter 01 - Geometry & Memory - p08
Chapter 02 - A Process-Grammar for Shape - p24
Chapter 03 - Architecture as Maximal Memory Storage - p54
Chapter 04 - Architecture & Computation
Document Text Contents
Page 2

Michael Leyton

Shape as Memory
A Geometric Theory of Architecture

Birkhäuser – Publishers for Architecture
Basel • Boston • Berlin

Leyton_aktualisiert 11.4.2006 12:57 Uhr Seite 1

Page 46

Figure 2.28: The Fourth Administration Building, first version.

Leyton_aktualisiert 11.4.2006 12:57 Uhr Seite 46

Page 47

Leyton_aktualisiert 11.4.2006 12:58 Uhr Seite 47

Page 92


tion of a building. However, it was noted that this relationship is
dispensable, since it uses the standard property of a computer:
speed based on miniaturization of a symbolic process – a process
which could be carried out by hand.
However, the above sections allow us to define an entirely new
relationship between architecture and computation – one that
goes to the very function of architecture, and is not dispensable.
We saw that my new foundations for geometry are equivalent to
new foundations for computation, in which the reading opera-
tion is the inference of past history from shape, and the writing
operation is the generation of shape. Furthermore, whereas sci-
ence is defined as the reading operation, art and design are
defined as the writing operation.
Therefore, according to this theory, architecture is an example of
the writing operation in a computational process. That is, accord-
ing to my new foundations for architecture: A building must act
as an external hard-drive for the computational processes of a
human being.
Notice, therefore, that the relationship of a computer to architec-
ture is not the usual one of a tool in the creation of a building.
The relationship is much deeper than this: It is the person that is
the computer, and the building is a hardware component that is
part of this computer.
Notice the relation between this statement and the theory of time
given in section 4.4: According to my new foundations for com-
putation, time is produced by the conversion of objects into mem-
ory stores – i.e., the inference of history from shape. This contrasts
with the standard theory of computation, in which the computa-
tional process takes place in time.
Therefore, my new foundations for computation, in which time is
produced by the computational system, imply that time is pro-
duced by reading a building. In fact, since the new foundations
for architecture say that a building should be a maximal memory
store, the conclusion is that a building must be an object that is a
maximal source of time.
However, the deepest aspect of the theory is this: Since the build-
ing is a memory store that extends the computational system of a
person, the new foundations lead to the following principle:

A building should be an extension of the person’s mind.

Leyton_aktualisiert 11.4.2006 12:58 Uhr Seite 92

Page 93


It is here that we have the fundamental difference between the
classical foundations of architecture and the foundations pro-
posed in this book. We have seen that, because the classical foun-
dations are based on symmetry, they attempt to minimize memo-
ry storage in a building. In fact, when people describe the sym-
metrical arrangement of columns on all four sides of Palladio’s
Villa Rotunda as the epitome of classical perfection, I argue that
they are making the following correspondence:

In the standard foundations for architecture,
perfection is equated with amnesia.

The consequence of this is that the computational processes of a
human being cannot be carried out with a standard building. In
other words:

A standard building is that component of the environment
that cannot be used as part of one’s mind.

In contrast, my new foundations state that a building must be an
object that maximally provides the capacity to be part of a per-
son’s mind; i.e., a maximal memory store. This means that a
building must be an object used in the computational processes
of a human being. Furthermore, these computational processes
must not be the simplistic ones of a conventional computer. For,
according to the new foundations, computation is the self-cre-
ation of mind. Most importantly, the mind creates itself by read-
ing and writing the environment as maximal memory stores.
Buildings are parts of the environment. In fact, they are the most
significant parts of the environment that human beings can pro-
duce; and therefore they can be the most significant memory
stores that people can actually write. This is what the new archi-
tecture must provide. That is:

The computational process is one in which the mind undergoes
self-creation by reading and writing itself as history.
The architectural principles, proposed in this book,

are the means by which buildings can be read and written
as the self-creation of mind. These new architectural principles

are illustrated with the administration buildings.

Leyton_aktualisiert 11.4.2006 12:58 Uhr Seite 93

Similer Documents