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Effect and Affect. Architecture and Digital Sublime


It is curious but true that the emotional power of projects that stem from computational design grows all the more overwhelming to the extent that the process that underlies them remains mysterious. They are charged with a strange tension: they adhere to a strict algorithmic logic, but are also characterized by its veiling or dissimulation. Zaha Hadid's Museum at Michigan State University, Jürgen Mayer H's Metropol Parasol in Seville, or the experimental architectures of Achim Menges or Gramazio & Kohler would seem to have been shaped by invisible, magical forces. It's time to ask ourselves if the era of digital intelligence has effected the retern of a nearly-forgotten aesthetic category: the Sublime, now as the Digital Sublime. Le Corbusier, like Ètienne-Louis Boullèe, speaks of reaching the Sublime by way of «concreteness and factuality». What does that mean for parametrical project formulation and computational design? What's to be understood when we speak of «the digital sublime»? What perspectives does it open for architecture?


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