There is big trend about parametric approach and computation in design and architecture. In the last months, I’ve repeatedly been involved in discussions about if it would be more exact to call what we do as designers “computational design” or “parametric design”. It is not a useful discussion, I have to say.
I have the feeling that computational design is more trendy and parametric design is more nineties, would you agree with that ? As Aldo from Noumena Architecture said during our last workshop : “Don’t say parametric design!”.
But what is the difference between “parametric design” and “computational design” ?
I don’t know. “Computational design” refers to the use of computers and mathematical approach to the generation of geometries, objects and architecture. “Parametric design” is about using parameters to design things. It means that if parameters changes, the result change. Regardless of which expression is the best, what interests me the most is the idea of focusing on design process instead of designed objects.
the most interesting shift in design is that we have passed from designing object to designing networks and processes http://t.co/iwg54WHo
— Francesco Cingolani (@immaginoteca) September 29, 2012
The process is everything (Mies would say that “God is in the process”) and that’s why I think that “parametric design” is still an interesting way to explain our approach. Parameters is about changing conditions and adaptability to user needs. We need to design process instead of objects.
François Roche recently published on his blog our emails exchanges about these topics. If you know him a bit, you would not be surprised to see that he’s not very polite. If you don’t speak French, try to google translate the post.
François Roche says that “computation is a good think, not parametric design…it’s like confusing science with the power of science”.
I answered “Personally, I’m more interested in action than language.”
I use both.
I like to shuffle things and confuse myself and the others, so I use both expressions. In English I mainly define myself as a computational designer, but working in France, I tend to use “Architecture Paramétrique” and “Design paramétrique” because there is no right word to translate computational (I don’t like architecture numérique). Let’s give some examples.
Actually, the name of my computational design course in Marne La Vallée architecture school in Paris is “Architecture Paramétrique” and one of the platform I use to promote my computational design workshops is architectureparametrique.com.
At Hugh Dutton Associates and on complexitys.com we use mainly “parametric design” or “performance-driven design” because we think that our role as designers is to pick parameters and information streams and let them converge to a project (designer as a medium).
What about Andrea Graziano ?
I’ve already had this discussion with Andrea, one of the most influent computational designers in Italy and Europe : he doesn’t like when I say he’s a parametric designer :)
Do you want to join the discussion about computational VS parametri design?
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