Chronicle | What are future architects dreaming about?

When we talk about foresight, what could be more normal than to evoke the rising generation of architects. I have chosen to present five students diplômables among those who have enrolled in the "prospective group" which I animate at the School of Architecture of Paris-la-Villette. Prospective chronicle of Jean Magerand.

This column appeared in first publication on CyberArchi on May 02, 2007

In the work of these five students are questioned the apprehension and understanding of history. The new ways of collecting, analyzing and confronting the data of a project are examined here. Here, too and above all, are interviewed new processes ' Projétuels '. What becomes the art of assembling the real, in the design process, at a time when we have high-performance tools for processing information? What is the value of giving the computer tool in the creative process? What place for ' projétation ' in such universes as ' Second live '? What extensions for the knowledge and design trades? What new limits give the skill of the projector in the face of real-time computational powers that increase exponentially? The topics discussed and the problems outlined by the students question us about the paradigmatic mutation and its consequences for the field of architecture. Cédric Louard works on Wydiwyb architectures "What you Design Is what you Build". He is interested in the process of building the cathedrals of the Middle Ages. In the past, the "working document" was a life-size model, confused with the building itself. The architect lived on the construction site, and the Interprofessional collaboration was carried out in real time around the building. Today, the new information processing tools Help to find a similar situation. The virtual mockup incorporates, in real time, the modifications of all the partners of the Act of building, developing a "debate-plural", a "multi-logue" permanent. Cédric Louard is therefore proposing to take on the archival documents concerning the construction of the cathedral St-Just and St-Pasteur of Narbonne. He proposes to develop a work approach inspired by this collaboration in real time, using the new tools. It works not in a sequential way but in a hypertextual way since project approach and building site approach are so to speak mixed up in a real-time acting device. As an organizational model of its architecture, Cédric Louard relies on the principle of termination of the Web. His work can be tracked in real time on Http:// 2.0/. Benjamin Cabut develops a personal project approach based on CAD programming. This work also involves building a "digital look" to analyze the elaboration of a project in a focused manner. Through the computer tool, it segments the complex process of ' projétation ' to make it more controllable and malleable. The question posed is: How to integrate programming (in the computer sense) with the project approach by carefully fragmenting the work of imagination and the work of elaboration? The goal is to use the computing capacity of the computer to offer variations and possible declinations. The machine is always stirring up data sets. The computer, unemotional, scrolls through the different possibilities, in the image of Raymond Quenau who, in "exercise Style", tells 99 times the same story but in a different way. From this repetition-difference is constituted a process ' projétuel '. Sébastien Caput shares the realization of a stagnation in the internal spatial organizational evolution of buildings. It proposes the realization of a prototype of new office building Intelligent, responsive, interactive with its internal environment (its users) but also external (weather conditions, surrounding buildings, urban events). The project aims to develop an intelligent architectural system, using new technologies to improve communication between individuals. On the track of Nicolas Schöeffer, Sébastien Caput questions cybernetics, which is defined as "the art of making action effective", and one of the areas of application is communication. To develop its project, it uses the properties of feedback whose characteristic is to regulate the information between two systems in interactions. The work of Spatialisation builds on the new ways of working from a "virtual mockup", within the framework of a redefined collaborative work ' projétuel '. Paul Ehret was educated in the USA and finished his studies at the Ecole d'architecture de Paris-la-Villette. It works, among other things, on the modes of random generation by computer program. This automatic optimization, but chosen, allows to select the most efficient or the most interesting solutions with regard to pre-defined personal criteria. His concerns are associated with terms such as Topological geometry, Neo-Darwinism, Epigenetic landscape, Déterministic Chaos. The grouping of these selective tests then leads to the development of an architectural object. This work leads to the production of "architectural pieces" directly from a CAD drawing and opens to a "real-time Architecture". In fine, Paul Ehret questions the reports of drastic it accuracy with the interactions of the site which are subject to many adjustments during the project. His work is applied to a medieval castle site, where he introduces a museum program. The architectural project of its museum is derived directly from its prospective investigations. Mélanie Vennin pursues the goal of inventing from all parts, in 3 D, a planet made up of continents, oceans, campaigns and city, in the way of Google-Earth. It is about developing a process of landscape, architectural and urban generation that can produce a world of video games. To carry out this work that may seem titanic, the computer tool provides its specific capabilities. The effectiveness of algorithmic tools, the specificity of the fractal tool, the programming are tamed to design large, virtual, urban or landscaped territorial entities. Copying and pasting, symétrisationsing, flipping, inversions are all ' projétuels ' tools. The city, streets networks, street templates, materials, materials, proportions, prospects, plantations, facades, piercings, parks and squares are not generated by constructive constraints confronted by a P.L.U. regulation But by superimposed rules, invented for the occasion. It is a question of shifting the invention one notch; We do not invent the street, we re-invent the process of invention of the street. A break with the tradition of new fashions these students are tired of endless speeches about urban and architectural, always reassessed without ever being really renewed. They clearly break with the pessimism of a post-sixty-Huitarde thought that has become too often disillusioned and cynical. The latter had "strangled the last real architectural utopias with the guts of the last technological utopia". In this sense, since the years 70, it appeared as grotesque to admit that we were interested in ICT, that we wanted to prepare a "better future" or that one wished to work "for the welfare of mankind". In fact, undoubtedly, these fresh émoulues thoughts of architecture defy the forbidden and deviate cautiously but decisively from the modernizing aestheticism that has made the fine days of architectural journals for so long. For the uninitiated, these new designers may seem to play the sorcerer's apprentices. In fact, however, they are only trying to solve the "(…) Paradox of contemporary technique (…) both as a human power and a power of self-destruction, as Bernard Stiegler evokes in technique and time. They are unashamedly questioning the changing of the living environment, provoked by the new technical and methodical tools. They reconnect with the research of avant-garde technique. This "New wave" of architects thus turns the page of fifty years of Architecture voluntarily functionalized (years 50-60), and/or formalized (years 60-70), and/or trivialized (years 70-80), and/or passéisée (years 80-90), and/or Modern-fossilized (years 90-2000) and/or Esthétisées (years 2000). They are experimenting with new analysis and assembly approaches, guided by the principles of genetic algorithms or neural networks. Their research is distinguished by the willingness to work on ' projétation ' tools capable of operating in territories of great complexity, even if these territories are sometimes virtual. There, the project approach re-vivifies and refreshes itself in a context of dematerialized spaces. There, new technologies and architectural thinking sign a new fundamental pact. These future architects, in fine, do not flee the architecture or the city for science fiction. On the contrary, they invest new areas that are sensitive to invention and design to better evaluate architectural thinking. As in the thought of the Perollet-le-Duc, new looks on the past are experienced, thanks to methodical contemporary tools. In this context, the history of Architecture is revisited in order to make him say again and again new and fundamental things. That is, in any case, that, little by little, there is a certain "techno-scientific positivism" That is conscious, reassessed and assumed as such. Finally, there is a surge of prospective optimism emerging in the face of "prominent" and "politically correct" architectural speeches. An authentic New Thought what is truly characteristic and new, with regard to all the movements involved in architectural doctrines since the end of CIAM, is that these young architects base their approach not on a reclamation Because of the previous movements, but that they are surfing on a real cultural mutation emerging in all fields. Obviously this new position in front of the virtuality, facing the world of work that mutates, in the face of technique, asks us about the mutation ' civilizational ', about the evolution of our cultures and about the evolution of the fields of conception. We should be insensitive, unconscious and backward in order not to understand that these experiments do not proceed in any way from a banal superficial mode as we have seen so many since the years 70. Certainly these postures assume to be doctrinal but they are above all paradigmatic and express their kinship-and thus their attachment-to the science of complexity. The new generation begins to straighten the head and strengthen its purpose. She instinctively extracted what she believed to be the epitome of today's world to forge a genuinely contemporary thought. In any event, these speeches by the new generation of architects are articulated in fundamental devices, far from the other doctrinal speeches of the dominant architecture. It is this distance that is the best guarantee of a true renewal of architectural thought.

John Magerand

Architect, urban planner and landscape artist, PhD in information Science and the COM, teacher at the School of Architecture of Paris-la-Villette (