Representations and Processes

November 24 2009

This was an assignment for 4.580: Inquiry into Computation and Design by Prof. Terry Knight. We were asked to design an extension for Louis Kahn’s Richards Medical Center, and look into the relationship between process and representation.

Louis Kahn - Richards Medical Center

We translated the plan into two types of components: square units and connections. We then built a program that automatically generate connections from any units layout. The appearance of a connection depended on the sizes and distance of two neighboring units. We believed the program somewhat reflected the underlying logic in Kahn’s original design, and could accommodate most possible extending scheme.

Click here to play with the program.

Ironically, in class, most designs submitted by the other groups could not be drawn by our program. Of course we could indicate that they do not follow the ‘true’ grammar of the original plan. After all it is impossible for such a program to accommodate any design intention. Processes are limited by the way of representation we choose. Unless we change the mechanism that machines learn and induce, they can only do things that we understand before them.

Collaborated with Ari Kardasis.

class project shape grammer design computation Processing