Tools As Processes

This is a rant, so please excuse the grammatical errors, and gently glide over the possible logic fallacies. You have been warned.

So a recent musing sparked off from an asynchronous discussion with a friend.
Ok - so the classical acceptance of the digital/computational tools we now have at hand in architecture is that they enable us to create objectiles and not single objects. In this scenario, with its evident implications for the metier itself, the tool retains a rather singular, isolated and well-defined aspect.

The question now posed is what happens if we view the tool not as a singular, static object (or set of instructions and limitations) but as a process itself. Tools themselves are, in the end, just instances of their respective objectiles - tools are processes. So, in a simplified manner, we now expand the “creativity” matrix of the architectural ideatic space into two dimensions: on one axis lies the (collapsed from n-dimensions) space of the objectile (or the output of the design process) and on the other axis lies the (again, collapsed n-dimensional) space of the tool itself.

A quick historical integration:

  • some tools change little over time - for example, the hammer (essentially the same throughout millenia).

  • the tools of the architect have suffered various changes, evolutionary jumps, etc. throughout time. For example,take Alberti’s notational paradigm (see his digitalized way of mapping the wall of Rome). Currently, we relish in the use of digital tools on a computer (computational tools).

  • computational tools - ie, parametric modelling, for the sake of the argument - allow us to define our own tools in a continuous flux. Everytime I’m changing bits and pieces of the algorithm I am essentially creating a new generation of that tool.

  • Both tool and output object are singular instances of an objectile. Both are, in essence, processes. One can speculate that the act of designing is actually the product of two interwoven evolutionary trails: that of the tool and that of the object.

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