My most recent conversation with a fellow classmate centereted around the top of urbanism versus parametrics.  Why these two would ever be seen as adversarial is what I will discuss now.  In “Writing Urbanism” by Douglas Kelbaugh, one contributor critiques parametrics as reducing architecture to a mere aesthetic – a surface treatment – at the expense of urbanism – how an architectural form contributes to the life and experience of the city.  This supposed conflict is reinforced when one considers the Dean’s Ponce de Leon’s replacement of Doublas Kelbaugh, which one could interpret as the triumph of technology and parametricism at the expense of urbanism.  These two points of view, however, are not incompatible.  We need architects who can work in the city and promote urbanism.  At the same time, we need architects who are makers, as this provides the profession with new avenues of work.  Architecture, as one should know, is made up of a variety of architects, some conceptual others technical, and it is this diversity that enables the profession to engage in multiple levels of discourse.  Not all  medical doctors are oral surgeons or pediatrists, so not all architects should be of a singular type.  While we should not lament the expansion of the discipline into specialties, we can critique those avenues that take architects away from architecture.  One concern we must have is how new avenues of exploration, such as systems thinking and parametricism, result in the manifestation of the built environment. If these do not contribute to the formation of “spaces,” then is the profession becoming too diluted? Are we losing focus on what we should be the best at, designing the built environment?

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