Digital Deluge


Luis Fernández-Galiano 

I cannot feign familiarity with the digital revolution. I belong to a generation that used Fortran language in the sixties, when to run a simple program it was necessary to reserve time on the computer, which was back then a huge machine that took up several cabinets in a climate-controlled room, and our interface stationery were punched cards and endless folds of striped paper sheets. When these magazines were launched in the eighties, we had no computers in the office, the production process was based on very traditional analogical methods, and the world wide web did not exist yet. Now that the AV/Arquitectura Viva project has reached twenty-five years, fourteen of them on the Internet, it seems appropriate to take this anniversary as an opportunity to examine a range of technical developments that are changing architecture as much as our own lives. It is redundant to reiterate that computer-aided design has altered the conception of architecture in the same way as perspective did in the Renaissance, and furthermore it must be added that these new computer tools nowadays allow building forms of unprecedented complexity, which indeed causes the predictable anxiety in those of us educated in the sober discipline of the drafting machine or the humble parallel ruler. Inevitably obsolete, we look upon what is known as parametric design with the same fascination and distrust we would feel if face to face with a wild animal. The tameless volumes that these days inhabit competition panels before they find their place in the motley pages of AV Proyectos are probably an eloquent example of this unstoppable growth of formal proposals, morbid perhaps like a fatal viral infection, and effervescently speculative like a tulip fever...

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