video: lecture on Seattle’s Central Library design

This video documents a lecture given in February 2006 by Joshua Prince-Ramus, current director of REX Architecture and architect in charge of the construction of the Seattle Central Library during the conference TED talks. Adopting what he describes as a hyper-rational approach to architecture, Joshua Prince-Ramus explains how logic can act as the catalyst for extraordinary buildings, taking rationality to an almost absurd level and ending up with something amazing and unexpected. In this public presentation the role of teamwork in this design process is also emphasized, finding a suitable parallel in the endeavors of electronic literature and its multiple authors. Like in electronic media, the architectural design also relies on cooperation between different agents. Electronic teamwork has been a driving force in the recent developments of computer assisted drawing software, illustrated by the development of Building Information Models (BIM) by the major software houses. BIM is a model-based technology linked to a database of project information, encompassing geometry, spatial relationships, geographic information, quantities and properties of building components, and attempting to articulate the different agents (design team, engineering team, construction team …) in one model. Like electronic literature, BIM attempts to take advantage of the capabilities and context of networked computers.

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