When talking about digital tools we often mention the endless possibilities they enable. When I chose to work with 3D scanning and 3D printing, I set the frames of what my design could become. However, I wrongly thought that my design of the spire could be anything, which is not the same as having endless possibilities. Every digital tool has its own strength and limitation which we as architects have to be aware of. When combining different tools, the style of the architecture will be influenced.
How we choose to express ourselves about technology have an impact on our understanding of how we can use digital tools. When looking at technology as thinking machines, the collaboration between human and computer becomes dynamic and more complex. In other words, computers can become our assistants rather than just a shortcut to the result. We as architects can lose some of the control and let the machines handle parts of the process. Designs controlled by the mind of machines means that we don’t have to understand the logic behind. Therefore, seeing the machines as a thinking object is more accurate than only seeing it as a calculating tool.
The choice of control
An important aspect is how we must choose when we are in control of the process and when we are not. As a result we can manage a highly detailed model where we can free ourselves from designing every single part. In the process of manipulating the 3D models I have strived towards an uncontrolled process where I’ve put in data that have generated different movements and multiplications of the model. After that, I have evaluated the result and composed the units to a complete model of the spire.
To have the option to choose to control every outcome or not is key to how we should use digital tools. Therefore, we have to find the balance between having control and surrendering it. Above all, we need much consideration and knowledge about the opportunities and limitations of the design tool to obtain an aesthetic desired outcome.