16

Fractile geometry and parametric design

The Morning Line is not only about geometry, it’s about expression. There is nothing else in the project besides Matthew Ritchie’s picture language. The lines themselves and the drawings they make are the structure and the space. To accomplish this, The Morning Line is conceived as an infinitely modular construction, built from a single shape, which we named "the bit," that assembles with other similar bits to build space. This bit is conceived as a universal brick that can be mapped with Matthew's drawings to produces pictures in and of space. The bit's shape is derived from a truncated tetrahedron that shrinks or grows and then attaches back onto itself to produce three-dimensional fractals. Since this architectural system is infinitely self-scalar, as these modular bits expand or contract in any direction, so too do the drawings that express this underlying geometry and carry the weight of the structure. Conceptually, this system scales the hand of the artist from the very small to the very large.

In the project, each successive size of the bit is called a “generation”, with Generation 1 being the largest. At every moment, the process of building architecture is a rehearsal for how matter in the universe assembles itself. Our current era of assembly is the age of the crystal. The energy storage potential in crystals (periodic, aperiodic, and chaotic) is vast and differentiated. Computation itself is siphoned through the crystals of silicon chips. Our own designs at Aranda/Lasch tend towards crystallographic constructions of space, using its language of lattices and cells to describe growth. This language of modularity has useful affinities to architecture at large since it describes the ways solid-state matter (like a metal or a diamond) is structured. It’s possible to imagine both crystal structures and architecture structures as modulated assemblies where simple low-level rules and unfolding symmetries determine large-scale organizations. Also, the particularities of a design project share something with the nuances of any rock, both become specific not just from its rules of grows but also through external pressures that curb this growth, causing it to react, hybridize, synthesize or otherwise change pattern. In other words, crystals are specific, shaped by circumstance; they each carry a shadow of the universal tucked into their idiosyncrasies. There is no more vital and organizing force for architecture than the productive dis-symmetries of crystallographic structure. (Benjamin Aranda / Chris Lasch)