Shortly before his death, Bruno Zevi wrote an article in Lotus International stating that the digital world represented the greatest change in conditions and the greatest potential revolution in architecture since the Renaissance.
Today it is clear that digitalisation has opened a path leading to new forms of representation and new opportunities with regard to developing and handling highly complex spatial and surface forms. But digitalisation has also made new interactive
forms of communication possible which could give the architect a new role and a new social position – thereby supporting the claim that architecture and architects are now facing a revolution which is as radical as the Renaissance.
The question is whether we who are involved in architectural
research have managed to understand these new conditions and help the potential revolution on its way – and this is the main topic of this research conference.
Another aspect of digitalisation is the revolution in communication
forms and control systems with global effects to which it has led. We have created a form of global simultaneity:
we can control financial transactions in new ways, and we can control globally divided production processes in ways which have meant that some phenomena and processes apparently only exist in the virtual world, and that both financial issues and culture are released from the geographical spaces with which we normally associate them in our understanding of the world. This constitutes a radical change in the contextual frameworks in which we normally place architecture and architectural production.
Even though this will probably be challenged by some people,
it is nonetheless still possible to claim that architecture only exists in an analogue world – that architecture as space and materiality in relation to human senses and bodies does not take shape as architecture until it has been completed.
This makes the question of the relationship between the digital and the analogue worlds a central issue for architectural
This is not an obscure and overlooked field: many of the theorists of globalisation have stressed that the processes of globalisation and the digital world do not acquire real meaning until they ‘touch the ground’ – that the necessary infrastructure belongs to the analogue world, and that the messages transmitted in the digital networks are produced in the analogue world. In other words, that the digital world and the analogue world are closely interwoven.
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