Mapping Architectural Past, Precedent, and Future

Hello, Welcome To The Architect's Genome.

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An Introduction

Architecture, that which defines the built environment through the accurate and precise manipulation of light, space, and form, cannot truly exist without context. This is not to say that architecture cannot be, as it often is, irreverent of its site, neighbors and period, nevertheless it is always responding to the environment and the setting simply by existing within the two. Just as a construct is inherently affected by location (inclusive of time and surroundings), architects find themselves similarly inseparable from their backgrounds. The architect’s genome contains the full complement of information he or she inherits from their experiences, whether the experiences relate to time spent at a university, working at an office, teaching, running a firm, or otherwise going about their daily life, each unique set of data is expressed in the architect’s work.

Architectural theory and our current definitions of architectural style and influence are built upon this nebulous, genomic connectivity; yet the underlying structure is only ever exposed in miniscule chunks, often relinquishing much of the praise for the profession’s stylistic development to chance or fate. With the rapid progression toward data as a solution for deeper understanding, the remapping of architectural history is not far away. Like the Human Genome Project (HGP), aimed at identifying and mapping all of the genes of the human genome, The Architect’s Genome aims to map and identify the connections and influences that form the basis of the profession, thereby allowing a reexamining of current perceptions of style.

History favors the story of the lone architect; an image put forth since the transformation of the “master builder” into the tortured, creative genius whose vision was then executed during construction. Although architecture still has not recovered from the schism between the notion of the “designer” as a singular entity and the truth of the social and collaborative profession it remains, slowly we are seeing the return of the collective firm and the death of “Starchitecture.” Social networks are an integral part of the historical analysis of people, but the large-scale dynamics of the design-world have often been overlooked in critical theory and history in favor of the individual-centric approach for categorizing style.

This tool provides a glimpse into some of those large-scale dynamics. Click on "Visualization" to check out the data, "Build an Architect" to see how your input can help build our database, and "Process Book" and "Video" will tell you a bit more about how we got here.


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Special Thanks

© 2015 The Architect's Genome Jake Rudin, Lezhi Li, Benjamin Lopez Barba, Nicolas Rossenblum.