In the Spring of 2015, Prof. Ford and I prepared two abstracts for the 2015 ACSA Fall Conference (themed “Between the Autonomous & Contingent Object”). The two abstracts were intended to take debating positions about the role of simulation in architecture, and both positions advanced the debate-style organization of the conference. One abstract was named “Simulating Paradoxes.” The other was named “Simulating Criticality.”
The good news is that we’re headed to Syracuse — though only the first of those abstracts was accepted. The conference reviewers had this praise for both abstracts (documented in a July 21st email from the organizers) including these lovely comments about the originality of the scholarship presented:
Rather than a paper that leaves us with questions hanging in the air, there is an opportunity here to start to actively speculate on solutions / ideas / possibilities that address the title, and the final question. I would encourage the author to do so!
The author makes a clear argument for why introducing critical thinking into simulation is important for the cultural significance of architecture. It would helpful to identify a specific simulation and explain how the ‘critical’ can be introduced. Otherwise, the argument will remain too generic.
A good proposal with an interesting (because simple) premise: to uncover potential for criticality in today’s simulation-driven design process. A valuable contribution to the debate, as the outline clearly works within and expands a lineage of discourse. The last paragraph is below the quality of the preceding text and appears hastily written. One would expect this paragraph to hint at where criticality may be found today – whether that is in solar louver seems questionable (just as little as I think it ever resided in Eisenman’s column grid…) I am not sure that contemporary criticality needs to be inevitably tied to the idea of sign and signified and the whole route of language theory. In fact, the proposed shift away from representation and with it from the description of an object through a coded convention seems to suggest the very opposite may be the case.
A stoic focus on unpacking the changes from drawing to simulation and the associated questions and conclusions seems like the most promising route to me: What space does the smooth process of simulation leave for critical distance? Or, if none, are process and representation even still as relevant to criticality as they once were? Overall a great proposal.
The final paper will be presented in the 2015 Fall Conference in Syracuse, NY, on October 8, 9, or 10.