Shaped by the twin forces of economic globalization and technological transformation, contemporary architecture and design practice is today more homogeneous and yet more varied than ever. Today architects and designers all know and use many of the same computer software and digital tools—from Photoshop and Autocad to Maya and Grasshopper, from CNC to 3d printing. They read and contribute to many of the same magazines, websites, blogs and social networking sites. They travel on the same aircraft via the same hubs to many of the same destinations to visit many of the same exhibitions while secretly longing for many of the same designer goods and products (yes, you do!). And, significantly, they are all under the same personal and societal pressure to develop design practices that are both creative and economically viable. And yet, each designer and each design practice responds to the homogenizing forces of globalization and technological transformation in distinct, often dramatically different ways.
Indeed, it is precisely those differences that are on display here in projects designed by some of the newest members of our faculty in the College of Design. You will see here on display an incredible variety of technique, material investigation, process and even disposition toward the design object itself. You will see paintings, drawings and renderings of real and imagined projects. But you will also see computer controlled grass mowing devices and metallic balloons that listen in on what you might be saying about them or about me. You will bump into glass bubbles filled with memories and “massimals” that hopefully don’t bite. Your eye and then your hand will follow the contours of digitally fabricated landscapes that have no scale or place. Then you will turn and find yourself in Appalachia. You will touch but hopefully not sit on furniture that only becomes real when selected and sent online as computer files to a friendly, neighborhood fabricator who will make one for you. You will be confronted with renderings of some of the most important buildings in the last ten years. You will see a menu of 8 ½ x 11 calling cards revealing features of the next architecture. All this and more we hope you will enjoy. But do be careful not to get lost in the Pajama Factory, or to linger too long with the “massimals.” And above all, be careful what you say to the balloons.
Dean, College of Design
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