Routledge - Taylor & Francis Group Ltd

Testing the Relevance of Parameterization to Architectural Epistemology

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Advances in building information modeling (BIM) deeply impact the production of new architecture; its benefits are obvious and its acceptance widespread. But how does BIM impact the study of existing architecture? Can BIM be assumed to operate as a neutral framework, equally applicable to the study of architecture anywhere? Using as a point of departure a recent outline of the conceptual structure of parametric modeling prepared by Sacks, Eastman, and Lee (2004), this paper compares parametric models of two existing works of architecture: Mies van der Rohe's Crown Hall and Peter Zumthor's St. Benedict Chapel. The processes of parametrically modeling each building are specifically compared in two ways: first, parameters are established for each model; second, each model is “flexed” as a means of disclosing possible semantic relationships within each work of architecture. Because each building demands a different parameter-establishment strategy, and because the models permit different degrees of flexibility, the comparison illustrates the shortcomings of a “neutral framework” assumption to an architectural epistemology

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