Wednesday, November 2, 2011

type or prototype...

Last Friday we looked at the work of Blu Homes, particularly how they use Digital Project in their practice.  Super interesting products/buildings that might be described as halfway between a single-wide and custom home.  I'm wondering if they might also be described as somewhere on the continuum between typological and prototypical.  These also seem like terms of art with a bit more purchase than 'ideal' for the work in studio.  I draw the distinction from Raphael Moneo's essay "On Typology".

"The first products of this activity, which we in retrospect have called architecture, were no different from instruments or tools: building a primitive hut required solving problems of form and design similar in nature to those involved in weaving a basket, that is in making a useful object.  Thus like a basket... the architectural object could not only be repeated, but also was meant to be repeated."

"Now the word type-in its primary and original sense of permitting the exact reproduction of a model-was transformed from an abstraction to a reality in architecture, by virtue of industry; type had become prototype."

"The singularity of the architectural object which in the nineteenth century had permitted adaptability to site and flexibility for use within the framework of a structure was violently denied by the new [modernist] architecture, committed to architecture as mass production."

It's tempting to set up the two dialectically and declare our current digital moment a synthesis.

EDIT: When I say: "It's tempting to..", I mean: "I'm suspicious of the impulse to..."

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