Manifested in form : tensions between utility and form in the digital design of architecture

Abstract: Manifested in form is an investigation of the current states of both the product and the processes of digital design in architecture. This licentiate thesis is a part of an ongoing PhD research study started in December 2009.The subject of this licentiate thesis is in the field of experimental digital design and production of architecture. As this field has grown and matured, architectural discipline has been confronted with radical shifts in the processes of formation and the appearance of products. The formal aspects of architecture have been pushed to incorporate utilitarian aspects. This research highlights and investigates the tension between processes and formal appearance, utility and the aesthetic. It states that intensification of these relationships is not due solely to the advent of digital technology: it has also originated from ontological shifts within the discourses of form and formation. It identifies which changes in these relationships result from the shift caused by advances in technology and which are due to ontological shifts. Within this field, it identifies certain ontological shifts which are aligned with digital techniques and describes the methods of design.The investigation uses ornament as an agent of the formal aspect, structure and construction as agents of utilitarian aspects and prototype as an agent of processes and product. This research unveils the ornament of the twenty-first century as a result of either methods of formal response to utility and/or methods of the digital construction of form. Thus, the ornament of the twenty-first century is an important part of the process rather than a non-essential element applied to a building. Ornament is manifested as a by-product of the processes.