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Marc Jarzombek recently suggested one could determine how well a society is doing by their ability to precisely carve stone. I like his metric for its simplicity, but also for its assumption that we must not be doing so well today. So much of the discussion surrounding digital design has focused on the surface. Perhaps this is because we inherited economically thin sheet materials from the industrial era, or because we no longer consider compression-only structures to be valid. While I argue these structures outlast any partial-tension structure, making them inherently sustainable, I also argue the purpose of the proposed research is not to revert to this ‘antiquated’ architecture. This research is intended to mine the lost knowledge of stereotomy (the art of cutting solids, more typically stone) as a way to inform our contemporary methods of making with the dimension of volume.


About the Author

Brandon Clifford
matterdesign Boston, MA, USA

Bran­don Clif­ford is cur­rently the Bel­luschi Lec­turer at the Mass­a­chu­setts Insti­tute of Tech­nol­ogy as well as Prin­ci­pal at Mat­ter Design. Bran­don received his Mas­ter of Archi­tec­ture from Prince­ton Uni­ver­sity in 2011 and his Bach­e­lor of Sci­ence in Archi­tec­ture from the Geor­gia Insti­tute of Tech­nol­ogy in 2006. From 2006–09 he worked as project man­ager at Office dA in both Boston and New York. Bran­don also served as edi­tor of Pid­gin Mag­a­zine from 2009–11, the 2011-12 LeFevre Fel­low at OSU Knowl­ton School of Archi­tec­ture, and the founder of the Mal­leab­list Move­ment in architecture. In 2011 Bran­don was awarded the pres­ti­gious SOM Prize in archi­tec­ture and urban plan­ning.

Publish Date  August 06, 2013

Dimensions  Trade  336 pgs   Color printing (on white uncoated paper)

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