Methods of AssemblyMethods of Assembly

Investigating Informal    Societal Participation

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Atomized Assembly

Excuse me Mr. Architect, I have a feature request

What if a architecture took on more of a software development style; watching as developers claymore over getting access to the latest beta version posted online, I imagine it would bring a dose of pleasure to each major push to get an update out the door. Contractors and the trade become plugins with a full set of APIs built into to the design. Major Design cycles become unattached to a specific context, individual client or visual appearance. Design becomes much deeper than a pretty skin able facade and takes place in the experience. (not a Vegas thin facade type of experience but an apple type of infused cultural experience )

Update frequency: 5 to 10 years between each major version release.

3b. Nebuchadnezzar's BrickWork

What if elements within a traditional method of assembly began to re comprise defined roles within each piece? Most notably, what if the individual piece also held within it enough information to describe the process of assembly?  The process for construction could be held within individual “pieces” and contributes to direct assembly with adjoining pieces. Two adjacent steps trigger the piece to become part of the assemblage, how it’s acted upon and then at what point it triggers the next piece for assembly to take over,  informs the steps of assembly.

This idea already has ancient precedent found in the ruins of Babylon; the brick are literally inscribed with information on how the wall and whole temple is to be built.  Not only could it have informed assembly, but it could inform reassembly if the temple fell into ruin in the future.

From Oxford Art Online:

Nebuchadnezzar had inscribed bricks identifying his temples and palaces inserted into their walls and also left inscribed clay tablets urging his successors to rebuild them. During the late 20th-century war with Iran, the Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, following the instructions of the ancient king, ordered a major reconstruction of the ‘Southern Palace’ according to designs by Koldewey and Andrae (although some archaeologists argued that these were dated). Work on the reconstruction began in 1987 and was scheduled for completion in September 1990.

3. BrickWork

Introduction to Atomized Assembly A major theme within investigating methods of assembly has to do with the relationship between the individual and the “whole” created when individual pieces come together in assembly.  This concept is very flexible and can weave through theory and practice very easily.  Typically, the singular entity is contrasted to an idea of many, one verses many “ones”  This type of difference is based on a numeral difference between the two measurable quantities.

Brickwork, “Architecture starts when you carefully put two bricks together. There it begins.” Mies van der Rohe

The first method of assembly replaces the mason for a deplorable, cnc robot to perform brick wall assembly on site.  Similar to the drawing machine of Tim and Nick, the introduction of algorimic programming opens up a whole world of possibilities within a tradition that regulated itself to a very controlled and limited set of different types a brick wall is constructed.

To a degree, the brick has always dictated its assembled form, it's about listening to what the material wants to be.  With technology and better listening through high-tech studies material is being taken to its physical limits to expose what is really possible from such a simple brick.

“This is no less true of steel and concrete [than of wood, brick and stone]. We must remember that everything depends on how we use a material, not on the material itself....New materials are not necessarily superior. Each material is only what we make it.”

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Whats Next?

At a certain point the closed idea of many “pieces” (traditional methods of assembly - quantity based) open up to a plane of infinity in which we recognize the vast, ever expanding “many” to be a singular infinity.  Commonly, this is when something is recognized as a whole rather than the individual pieces, although this often requires complete assembly.  Inversely, this logic creates a situation where the singular piece is, even before assembly having taken place, an assembled whole as it holds within it the instructions for assembly.  In the case of the robotic mason this singular piece is held within the algorithm and the brick.  In this situation the instruction set for assembly is still separate from the thing that is actually being constructed.  While impressive, from a diagrammatic perspective, there are still two elements (brick and the cnc instructions) that are only slightly shifted beyond a traditional, quantity based process of assembly.  The quantities still exist within the computer and they are finite and defined before construction starts.

What if elements within a traditional method of assembly began to re comprise defined roles within each piece?