Origins of Form

The Shape of Natural and Man-made Things—Why They Came to Be the Way They Are and How They Change

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Author: Christopher Williams

Publisher: Architectural Book Publishing

ISBN: 1589799364

Category: Architecture

Page: 144

View: 1139

Origins of Form is about the shape of things. What limits the height of a tree? Why is a large ship or office building more efficient than a small one? What is the similarity between a human rib cage and an airplane or a bison and a cantilevered bridge? How might we plan for things to improve as they are used instead of wearing out? The author has chosen eight criteria that constitute the major influences on three-dimensional form. These criteria comprise the eight chapters of the book: each looks at form from entirely different viewpoints. The products of both nature and man are examined and compared. This book will make readers—especially those who design and build—aware of their physical environment and how to break away from previously held assumptions and indifference about the ways forms in our human environment have evolved. It shows better ways to do things. The author’s practical, no-nonsense approach and his exquisite drawings, done especially for this volume, provide a clear understanding of what can and cannot be; how big or small an object should be, of what material it will be made, how its function will relate to its design, how its use will change it, and what laws will influence its development. The facts and information were gathered from many sources: the areas of mechanics, structure, and materials; geology, biology, anthropology, paleobiology, morphology and others. These are standard facts in these areas of specialization, but they are also essential to the designer’s overall knowledge and understanding of form. The result is an invaluable work for students, designers, architects, and planners, and an informed introduction to a fascinating subject for laymen.

On the Origin of Form

Evolution by Self-organization

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Author: Stuart Pivar

Publisher: North Atlantic Books

ISBN: 1556438869

Category: Science

Page: 121

View: 9211

On the Origin of Form presents a new account of evolution and the origin of life based on the premise that the body form of any species is encoded not in the DNA but in the patterned structure of the primordial germ plasm—the universal predecessor of the egg. Two hundred years after Johann von Goethe’s Faustian quest for the Urform, the archetypal design underlying all living form, comes the recent discovery that organic forms are derived from a unique, self-organized, pre-embryonic structure. This explanation of evolution is an alternative to the now widely questioned Neo-Darwinist theory of natural selection of random mutations. This new model is based on known, relatively uncomplicated scientific principles and is easily accessible to the interested layman. Included are sixty-four pages of illustrations that support this new theory. For additional information, please visit www.ontheoriginofform.com.

Notes on the Synthesis of Form

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Author: Christopher Alexander

Publisher: Harvard University Press

ISBN: 9780674627512

Category: Architecture

Page: 216

View: 603

"These notes are about the process of design: the process of inventing things which display new physical order, organization, form, in response to function." This book, opening with these words, presents an entirely new theory of the process of design. In the first part of the book, Christopher Alexander discusses the process by which a form is adapted to the context of human needs and demands that has called it into being. He shows that such an adaptive process will be successful only if it proceeds piecemeal instead of all at once. It is for this reason that forms from traditional un-self-conscious cultures, molded not by designers but by the slow pattern of changes within tradition, are so beautifully organized and adapted. When the designer, in our own self-conscious culture, is called on to create a form that is adapted to its context he is unsuccessful, because the preconceived categories out of which he builds his picture of the problem do not correspond to the inherent components of the problem, and therefore lead only to the arbitrariness, willfulness, and lack of understanding which plague the design of modern buildings and modern cities. In the second part, Mr. Alexander presents a method by which the designer may bring his full creative imagination into play, and yet avoid the traps of irrelevant preconception. He shows that, whenever a problem is stated, it is possible to ignore existing concepts and to create new concepts, out of the structure of the problem itself, which do correspond correctly to what he calls the subsystems of the adaptive process. By treating each of these subsystems as a separate subproblem, the designer can translate the new concepts into form. The form, because of the process, will be well-adapted to its context, non-arbitrary, and correct. The mathematics underlying this method, based mainly on set theory, is fully developed in a long appendix. Another appendix demonstrates the application of the method to the design of an Indian village.

Between Form and Event: Machiavelli's Theory of Political Freedom

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Author: M. Vatter

Publisher: Springer Science & Business Media

ISBN: 940159337X

Category: Philosophy

Page: 355

View: 6256

Before Machiavelli, political freedom was approached as a problem of the best distribution of the functions of ruler and ruled. Machiavelli changed the terms of freedom, requiring that its discourse address the demand for no-rule or non-domination. Political freedom would then develop only through a strategy of antagonism to every form of legitimate domination. This leads to the emergence of modern political life: any institution that wishes to rule legitimately must simultaneously be inscribed with its immanent critique and imminent subversion. For Machiavelli, the possibility of instituting the political form is conditioned by the possibility of changing it in an event of political revolution. This book shows Machiavelli as a philosopher of the modern condition. For him, politics exists in the absence of those absolute moral standards that are called upon to legitimate the domination of man over man. If this understanding lies open to relativism and historicism, it does so in order to render effective the project of reinventing the sense of human freedom. Machiavelli's legacy to modernity is the recognition of an irreconcilable tension between the demands of freedom and the imperatives of morality.

The Origins of the Philosophy of Symbolic Forms

Kant, Hegel, and Cassirer

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Author: Donald Phillip Verene

Publisher: Northwestern University Press

ISBN: 0810127784

Category: Philosophy

Page: 142

View: 9386

The Origins of the Philosophy of Symbolic Forms marks the culmination of Donald Phillip Verene’s work on Ernst Cassirer and heralds a major step forward in the critical work on the twentieth-century philosopher. Verene argues that Cassirer’s philosophy of symbolic forms cannot be understood apart from a dialectic between the Kantian and Hegelian philosophy that lies within it. Verene takes as his departure point that Cassirer never wishes to argue Kant over Hegel. Instead he takes from each what he needs, realizing that philosophical idealism itself did not stop with Kant but developed to Hegel, and that much of what remains problematic in Kantian philosophy finds particular solutions in Hegel’s philosophy. Cassirer never replaces transcendental reflection with dialectical speculation, but he does transfer dialectic from a logic of illusion, that is, the form of thinking beyond experience as Kant conceives it in the Critique of Pure Reason, to a logic of consciousness as Hegel employs it in the Phenomenology of Spirit. Cassirer rejects Kant’s thing-in-itself but he also rejects Hegel’s Absolute as well as Hegel’s conception of Aufhebung. Kant and Hegel remain the two main characters on his stage, but they are accompanied by a large secondary cast, with Goethe in the foreground. Cassirer not only contributes to Goethe scholarship, but in Goethe he finds crucial language to communicate his assertions. Verene introduces us to the originality of Cassirer’s philosophy so that we may find access to the riches it contains.

History of Form *Z

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Author: Pierluigi Serraino

Publisher: Springer Science & Business Media

ISBN: 9783764365639

Category: Architecture

Page: 93

View: 3894

'Form*Z is an argument against drafting'. This is how Christos I. Yessios describes the conceptual framework of his famous 3D modeller. Drawn to the United States by the American dream, Yessios (Edessa, Greece, 1938), a professor at Ohio State University, is a key figure in the reassessment of design assumptions on space making. Tapping into the shared cognitive framework on which design had produced its most recognizable forms, Form*Z was conceived by an architect for his fellow colleagues. Following the canonical paradigm of form making, an array of pre-defined platonic shapes provides designers with the starting point for a series of controlled transformations to generate geometries whose limits are set by the individual imagination. At the same time, it furnishes a comfortable setting filled with just enough gear to accomplish the most customary tasks with a relatively low risk of getting overwhelmed by the layers of complexity of highly advanced modeling software in recent years. Form*Z has become a blockbuster for the exploration of the third dimension. Eleven years after its official introduction in the arena of the 3D offerings, the intricate wireframes once confined to the digital universe have started slowly, but steadily to become physical realities in the built environment.

The Origins of Order

Self Organization and Selection in Evolution

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Author: Stuart A. Kauffman

Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA

ISBN: 9780195079517

Category: Medical

Page: 709

View: 4388

Kauffman's thesis combines concepts of self-organization, integration with natural selection, and adaptation to explain the origins of life and maintenance of order in complex biological systems.

The Origins of Life

The Primogenital Matrix of Life and Its Context

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Author: Anna-Teresa Tymieniecka

Publisher: Springer Science & Business Media

ISBN: 9401734151

Category: Philosophy

Page: 386

View: 4083

Life appears ungraspable, yet its understanding lies at the heart of current preoccupations. In our attempt to understand life through its origins, the ambition of the present collection is to unravel the network of the origin of the various spheres of sense that carry it onwards. The primogenital matrix of generation (Tymieniecka), elaborated as the fulcrum of this collection, elucidates the main riddles of the scientific / philosophical controversies concerning the status of various spheres that seek to make sense of life.