Albert Einstein once stated, “It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity”. I think retaining a human-scale to design has become increasingly difficult because of the current influence of technology and digital fabrication. Adam Marcus discussed this issue in his lecture “Computation & Craft” by acknowledging the existing divide between new ways of representation and old ways of working (art and craft). He referenced the Guangzhou Opera House in China and mentioned that despite the beautiful material qualities and shocking presence, the monumental design is somewhat “otherworldly” and dehumanizing.
According to Malcom Moore’s “Guangzhou Opera House Falling Apart”, the $130 million project is failing structurally due to underestimating the complexity of design during construction. Moore explains that large cracks have formed in the ceiling and walls, and many of the glass panels have fallen or shifted from their place, creating rain damage. In The Art & Craft of the Machine from 1901, Frank Lloyd Wright claims that “…not one educational institution in America has as yet attempted to forge the connecting link between science and art by training the artist to his actual tools, or, by a process of nature-study that develops in him the power of independent thought”. Even 100 years later, Wright’s quote seems to remain relevant. I think Marcus’s proposed solution of utilizing the computer as an “instrument” in the design process and working back-and-forth between computer and hand-crafted representation will not only help merge the design and construction stages, but also keep structures at a human-scale.
Moore, Malcom. “Guangzhou Opera House Falling Apart.” The Telegraph. N.p., n.d. Web. 8 Nov. 2012.
Wright, Frank Lloyd. The Art & Craft of the Machine. N.p.: n.p., 1901. Print.