Our research straddles the realms of art, architecture, and engineering at many scales. We are a software-savvy practice, but we are not only interested in the virtual. Our creative process grows simultaneously at both ends of the spectrum, as it were: as open design speculation and specific protocol of manufacturing. (F01B Legendre/Kahlen with John Pickering 2009).
As designers we gain sustenance by talking to clients about their needs. However, when it comes to providing answers, our knowledge of the brief may, circumstances permitting, translate into something more than intuitive doodles. Using simple algorithms, we will, on occasion, let the machine 'do the talking', then look for ways in which the machinic logic meets the real world - and the specific constraints of the brief at hand. (Stork Chair Legendre 2015)
For example, this tower diagram depends on connecting branches which share core services. Sharing continuous (if not always vertical) services is a key functional requirement of high-rise design. But what about the design itself? The branching is down to a mix of periodic coiling and linear thread distribution (right), two concepts we cannot explain, justify, or even conceive of outside of a machinic discourse. (Rising Masses Legendre Flor Valladares 2008)
Our research has occasionally taken us beyond the problems of representing the physical. In this instance, we looked at how we assess a project's economic viability. Developers use industry performance ratios as quick estimations of massing, GFA, facade-to-core depth, etc. especially for high-rise developments. Using algebra we created fresh visual expressions of these fluid ratios to help developers make better assumptions. (the Skyscraper Manual Chapter III Legendre/Kahlen)
What possessed an architect to spend one year cataloguing and writing the equations of 92 knows types of pasta? We have no idea.
Pasta By Design photography by Stefano Graziani. Foreword by Paola Antonelli, Senior Curator MoMA NYC. Thames & Hudson London 2011. Based on an idea by Marco Guarnieri.