Arts & Culture

Exploring ‘Patterns’ in architecture

2 min read

Establishing links between otherwise disparate cultural, intellectual, and technological categories has long been the job of the architect, an arbiter of aesthetic connection. Who else can create a bond between the Parthenon and a sports car, bricks and B movies, octogenarians and the color orange? This task is not as esoteric as it may seem. The ability to create relationships where none existed before is endemic to both the production and experience of architecture. As a result of their increasingly sophisticated logic, appearance, and application, patterns promote this synthetic activity.

Curated by Paul Andersen, design critic in architecture at the Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD), the exhibit, “Patterns: Cases in Synthetic Intelligence Exhibition” focuses on an emerging generation of patterns in architecture. Fueled by the introduction of new technologies and revised conventions of style, form, and temporality, projects in this exhibit remix distinct domains by anticipating unseen links. For example, Atelier Manferdini creates patterns that are shared by a metal serving tray, a dress, a pair of Nike AirScale running shoes and a building. Another firm designs a restaurant where the HVAC system is keyed into an array of shifting wall patterns, colors, and interior garden plantings. Advanced patterns in contemporary design combine a variety of materials, performance requirements, environmental factors, sensibilities, elastic geometries, and kinetic forces. As seen here, they are capable of absorbing each of these demands and desires into an intricate yet consistent aesthetic whole.

“Across many genres of contemporary architecture, patterns are increasingly sophisticated in their logic, appearance, and application,” says Andersen. “The projects in this show exemplify patterns’ ability to integrate aesthetic and organizational sensibilities, and to make connections across seemingly unrelated cultural, intellectual, and technological categories.”

Projects include Wmembrane by Ciro Najle, General Design Bureau; Massachusetts Military Reserve by Kelly Doran; Arcade by MOS; Thermographic Theater by !ndie Architecture; Purple Haze by gnuform; John Lewis Department Store and Cineplex by Foreign Office Architects; 0-14 by reiser + umemoto; Diamond Scales by Atelier Manferdini; Shenzhen Museum of Contemporary Art by IJP; Novosibirsk Summer Pavilion by EMERGENT; Bass River Park by Stoss Landscape Urbanism; and People’s Building Shanghai by Bjarke Ingels Group.