The range of research projects being pursued in the name of architecture is perhaps more broad than any time in history. Some would equate this to a trend of uncertainty of agency in the discipline. In contrast, I find the range of intellectual possibilities to be refreshing. It is possible to explore architecture in intellectual frameworks as disparate as linguistics and semiotics vs. computation or environmental performance. In recent years, however, I can identify a few areas of research that have gained particular popularity, at least in the American academic community: parametric design, “green” building, bio mimesis, material research, and digital fabrication. I would like to compare how these current preoccupations compare to that of our Spanish counterparts.
In my preliminary research I have also developed a question relating to certain terminology used by several of the participating architects, which is the use of the word “emotion.” Perhaps I am misinterpreting, but my initial reading is that much of the Spanish architectural community strives to find a balance between “reason” and “emotion.” In contrast, I feel that the MIT architectural community is far more invested in purely questions of “reason.” I am interested in exploring these differences.
Perhaps the combination of “reason” and “emotion” is intriguing to me because I find the most exciting progress happens in architecture not from innovation within a single aspect of architecture but from a confluence of technical innovation and “non-technical” affect, whether that be programmatic, social, psychological etc. Therefore, I would like to explore how the Spanish architects are using innovation to influence our quality of life and how that compares to other architects around the world.
I believe that no individual research program, ideology, methodology etc. holds the key to innovation in architecture, but instead innovation is the result of a certain intellectual agility. Each architectural problem presents a unique opportunity for design innovation. Innovation as a definition means something new, something previously unrecognized, therefore, any attempted rigid definition would not only prove to be insufficient, but in fact be detrimental, inhibiting the spectra of possible architectural futures. Instead, I am in the process of producing a comparative analysis of various research projects within the Spanish and international architectural community.