Ugly, Useless, Unstable Architectures – the book


Ugly, Useless, Unstable Architectures – Now available as a monograph from Routledge:

Feo, Inútil e Inestable – Monografía publicada por Routledge, ya disponible online.

More content at:

Feo, Inútil, Inestable >>

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Intro / Nitro (Dinamitando a Vitruvio)

2013_1_Miguel Paredes_255_tratado-1INTRO/NITRO

An article by Miguel Paredes for Doscincocinco (255), nr.14.

Published May 2013 by DaETSAM, ISSN 22541098

Parametric Skunk Works _ Lecture at UFV

20130403_BAN1_SKUNKWORKS copy

Miguel Paredes will give a lecture entitled “Parametric Skunk Works” at the School of Architecture, Universidad Francisco de Vitoria.

April 3rd, 19:00 PM

New book!!: “La transformación de las estructuras de la ciudad”


Edited by Miguel Paredes, Belén Butragueño and Javier Fco. Raposo.

Published by Mairea Libros, December 2012

ISBN: 978-84-940645-1-7

Firmitas vs. the Unstable

The implications of Firmitas / Stability in Vitruvius’s “De Architectura” went originally beyond the purely tectonic. Firmitas was related to certain permanence in terms of both form and organization. A critical role was played by the classical notion of equilibrium. In its original meaning, Firmitas relates to static, mono-functional architectures.

As opposed, unstable architectures are characterized by their variability, their capacity to alter its properties along time, to allow for the existence of local deformations and adaptive behaviors. This organizational structure points toward the idea of field conditions: non-hierarchical, extensive structures whose components display seclusive properties. Thus, resiliency, hybridization and smoothness would be the qualities of an actualization of the architectural Firmitas.

Reiser & Umemoto. BMW Delivery Center

The successive actualizations of Vitruvius’s triad

Since its re-discovery during the Carolingian renaissance, Vitruvius’s “De Architectura” has been successively reedited and translated, each time adapting its focus and scope to the zeitgeist of different historical contexts, but keeping its intention in the transmission of the Hellenistic view of the world in that originated it. While keeping this intentional framework, Vitruvius’s notions were either expanded, transformed into collections of examples, typology manuals or abstract guidelines that always embraced the specific cultural, sociological and technological needs of their times.

Thus, the synthetic Firmitas, Utilitas, Venustas exemplifies very well how the structure of Greco-roman and Hellenistic thought has indelibly permeated western culture at all scales, and how its Platonic conceptual framework was considered, at least up until the Enlightenment, as a superior instance of civilization.

Unsurprisingly, the fact that western thought has such strong classical roots means that we are still working within the framework of the last complete set of actualizations of Vitruvius’s criteria produced during the Enlightenment, which was simultaneously the last historical manifestation of renewed interest in classical culture and the starting point of Classical modernity.

Le Corbusier. Muslim Modulor, 1955