Eisenman’s Conceptual-Generative Diagram: A Creative Interface between Intention, Randomness and Imagination and Space-Form

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Conference Proceedings
Authors: Ana Vasconcelos

Abstract: Digital diagrams are constituted as strategic-communicative-productive intermediate space-matrices among architecture, the architect and the digital machine, and between architecture and other disciplinary fields. According to Stan Allen, diagrams are a map of the possible worlds, a description of potential relationships, where a plethora of functions, actions and configurations are implicit in time, subject to continuous modifications.Alluding to the notions of diagrams, machinic and figural of Deleuze and Guattari, Eisenman’s conceptual-generative diagram functions as a hypertext and a creative and affective interface between intention, randomness and imagination, and architectural space and form. Proposing a new type of reality in a permanent state of evolution and of form-thinking and form-making, they have become a technique or poetic operation that, in addition to representing, also present and evoke, in between order and chaos, intention and the unexpected, mechanical and organic, real and virtual, presence and absence. For Eisenman, diagrams function as a heuristic instrument of criticism in the design process, in search of other spatial and conceptual qualities for a reflection within the discipline of architecture itself. Diagrams are a space-matrix, or as Eisenman puts it, a “meta-writing” in terms of the field of orientations and possibilities to be apprehended and inscribed, first in the project and later in the construction of the architectural place. These possibilities and orientations, guidelines or meanings are not totally contained within the diagram itself, rather they also reside in the intermediate space between the diagram and the observer, creator or architect. Diagrams are an evocative and inspiring space-formal matrix, the contents or evocations of which are not found “embedded” or “enclosed” in their shape or material, rather they are indicated or outlined, in varying degrees of explicitness, as signals or traces, evoking multiple interpretations and reflections. Eisenman uses digital diagrams as a mediating agent or instrument to investigate, explore, create and draw the architectural space within the thematic basis of the interstitial–“the “in-between”. He does so through a process that is intentional, random, interpretive, esthetic and poetic, all at the same time. In contrast to the traditional quest for form that is synthesized in the idea of a box or container, Eisenman proposes an alternative means, through which form or space can be found through a long process in which rational approaches and computerized drawing intermingle, introducing formal randomness, in which the diagram is the mediator. Eisenman refers to that procedure as “spacing”, ”espacement” or ”espaciamiento”, in opposition to “forming”.Eisenman’s conceptual-generative diagram constructs and develops a matrix field of forces and geometries that, acting in the project as a spatial-formal guide, opens up from the first record or first intention, to many possibilities of configuration/definition of the object or architectural place. Consequently, it makes possible the exploration and discovery in architecture of other ways of thinking, imagining and manifesting forms and spaces, that investigate new ways of occupancy and promote other possible ways of life. It is an architecture in which diagrams are constituted as an expression of the figural/imprecise/blurred condition, the traces of which persist in the space-form of the building; a diagram that is both a creative interface between the intrinsic exploration of its defined concepts and the final configured complexity of its spatialities and functional superpositions.

Keywords: Architectural Design . Eisenman . Digital Diagrams . Creative Interface . Space-Form

DOI: 10.54941/ahfe1002331

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