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Juhani Pallasmaa on Computer-Aided Design

Source: Humberto Betancourt

In a recent post covering open source architecture I expressed my enthusiasm for a future generation of D.I.Y. computer-savvy designers. I then stumbled upon the words of acclaimed architect Juhani Pallasmaa, cautioning against the negative effects of over-digitization:

“The architectural profession is currently fascinated by computer-aided design and virtual reality. No doubt, the computer has revolutionized numerous disciplines including architectural practice. Yet the hidden negative consequences of the digital mode of working need to be acknowledged as well; methods and tools are not as innocent as we would like to think. The uncritical use of the computer typically leads to a purely retinal manipulation of images instead of an embodied involvement and personal identification of the designer in the design.

“The sense of scale and the inherent tactility that results from hand drawing are typically lost once design is digitized. The real site of any creative work is the body-mind complex mediating our capacity for dreaming and imagination. All our senses think. These sensory thoughts are integrated into the wisdom of the body, without which artistic creation is impossible. A line drawn by the hand links the mind with the touch of the hand, the scale of the body and the realities of imagination. The computerized image, however, remains scaleless, placeless, and sensorily detached.”

— Juhani Pallasmaa in “An Archipelago of Authenticity: The Task of Architecture in Consumer Culture,” part of Architecture, Ethics, and the Personhood of Place, 2007

This is part of the Polis collection of quotes related to cities.

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