ARCH 614: Limits of Legibility
Reconsidering the Systematic Field: Indexical Hierarchical System Logic
Abstract: The logic-based system is not focused on a field for insertion, but on a logic that results in a specific field. This is not an affected field but an affected logic permeating outward from content centers in a hierarchical connective manner. It is a complex system with stressed and unstressed moments. The architect has more control than in a limited field.
A system doesn’t produce architectural form in the Eisenman sense; in a system content dictates form, the logic of the system, the application of the system. The system is also a break from the field. The system doesn’t start with the unadulterated field; through adaptable logic applied to a set of unique conditions a dynamic field RESULTS. This allows for more severe intensification. The limited field is restrictive, the applied system allows for specific hierarchy and multiplication of reaction. The applied system allows for specified reactions at all points, there are no unintentional moments. The architect controls the reactions through rules/logic. The system is responsive to unique needs of program. It is a strict analysis and manipulation of relationships; the solution answers the architectural problem, eases use, performs, evokes response to spatial conditions, etc. The logic is not arbitrary but a successful tool. It holds potential for all hypothetical conditions, but is tight enough that the logic is understood and some restraint is placed on form/reaction/interaction. The syntax is informative; it is an engrained way-finding system. Banham suggests, “That the form grasped by the eye should be confirmed by experience of the building in use”. In system architecture, the user immediately understands the guiding logic, but not the entire building at once as Banham suggests. The user is then surprised at moments, but not confused; the building continues to be experiential. Moments of difference in the logic mark threshold; the user is informed and becomes more aware of the logic. Users need containment and a sense of direction, therefore logic embedded in the form must inform the user of directionality and program.
The form represents indexical logic, not indexical process. An index is a trace or indication of what is absent, a process marker. The form created by the system is a logic marker; one can understand the original logic and how introduced content transformed it. It is not a focus on how it was made but how it adapted. This reveals the dynamic temporal quality of the network. Time is essential, the logic must have the potential to adapt/morph.
In this logic, there is a focus on local and not global connection and reaction; however there is still a unifying global logic. Architecture is a framework for use. The framework must be hierarchical and provide opportunity for distinctive local conditions. It is primarily concerned with the connectivity and interaction a building allows. It is not necessarily “one after the next”, it is a more hierarchical network. Local relationships are what the logic address, but the focus is relative proximity, not sequence. The field logic is three-dimensional, which allows for this hierarchy of content and connection, and not planar and restrictive two-dimensional. Stan Allen states, “The field describes a space of propagation, of effects. It contains no matter or material points, rather functions, vectors, and speeds.” This is program connection. The logic is about relationships, the in-between. The logic understands the influence of content on the system, on other content, the strain on adjacent relationships, and hierarchical reactions. Allen again states that, “a complete examination of the implications of field conditions in architecture would necessarily reflect the complex and dynamic behavior’s of architecture’s users.” Spaces and volumes are ordered to necessities of daily life; the user is the driving factor.
The system understands human association of spatial tendencies. It does not use signs but relies on the human understanding of architectural space (narrow, expanding, elevation); it relies on the experiential.
The programmatic elements are simply parts; they are initially non-relational. However, they affect the connective logic, they are part of the logic, and significantly affect the space between. They are not parts in an object but influences on a system. Their influence on the system will not disrupt the system (render it altered beyond recognition); it will enhance the reading of the logic, make the logic more pronounced.
System architecture is anti-beauty. This does not mean final form is hideous, it means the attention is primarily on function and connection, and the form being a result. The result can be beautiful if the logic is well conceived. Content dictates form, not form dictates content placement, function. There is no iconic intent; interior use is the focus: function, flow, experience. Form is essentially guts with a protective shell, an exoskeleton. Form exists only to inform the user of the logic.
The system is based in reality, in existing conditions. The final form is not predictable because local conditions cause different reactions. There is no preconceived solution; the solution comes from interaction with the real. There are only preconceived notions of experience/interactions; the architect must anticipate these interactions to create the logic. Simple logic is more adaptable and less likely to become compromised. The interaction of affected logics based on site and program distribution reveals moments of clustering; the mutation and collision of affected logics results in a unique moment, yet retains syntax. Mutations and irregularities stay localized; they are able to morph back into the “field logic” because they are a mutation of the set logic. The system must be of an adaptable and proliferating logic, as content/program have an expiration date. Addition of new content does not destroy the system; it is an adaptable organism.
Because the reactions are based on specific unique local conditions, because the logic was conceived to allow for specified mutation, it resists the trap of becoming a repetitive mundane system. It allows for variance, and for variance to interact with other variance in proximity and continue mutation and unique interaction. It allows for hierarchy, scale, speed (program=slow vs. connection=fast), and a semi-permanence of spatial conditions (temporal but specific). System logic adds coherency but doesn’t restrict to repetition. It is a framework for opportunity, multiple reactions, mutations. It creates architectural space, unique place.