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RESULTS OF FIVE STUDENTS FROM THE
PROGRAMMED DESIGN ASSIGNMENT,
IN THE FORMATIVE DESIGN
STUDIO AT BUFFALO

Text by William S. Huff,
Professor, Department
of Architecture, State
University of New
York at Buffalo




The Programmed Design


A design can be programmed through the combined selection of (1) a figurative element or set of elements (typically, though not necessarily, abstract) and of (2) a rule or set of rules of operation. By applying the rules to the elements a design is, without the indulgence any arbitrary interventions, automatically engendered.

Despite the preset outcome of a design being ordained by a program, the program's designer is fully responsible for whatever comes about from his initial choices and has the ultimate determinative power to modify (rigorously, of course) or to rechoose either the elements or the rules (or both) in order to bring a design into accord with whatever aesthetic outcome is judged to have merit.

While properties of symmetry are easily recognized in many patterns, there are many more patterns with invariances that are not readily discerned from their palpable presences: structures that - determined by invariant properties, which are most likely inconspicuous - take on semblances of randomness. Frequently, the natures of these unperceived properties are relatively uncomplicated and, once detected through some methodological procedure, can be given elegantly concise expression in the way of abstract formulae. If all laws of nature were readily discernible, it might be conjectured, humanity's scientific quest would have been a far simpler project.

Probing lower levels of symmetry, those that are, more likely than not, indiscernible from a design's external appearance, and imaging their visual manifestations are among the major objectives of this assignment.





By a small miracle of sorts, manifested in many a way from the physical to the metaphysical-partially, but not only, due to the computer chip-this article was put together in day-to-day contacts between Belgrade and Buffalo throughout the sustained computer-chip bombings of NATO.




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