Architect, Tutor and Academic Administrator of the Architecture School of Contemporary Architects Association
Pattern, as a new paradigm
[This talk is done in the Persian language. you can find the original video and text in the Persian section of the website.] Attendees: Ghazal Refalian, Bita Shekari, Delagah Dadbeh TRANSLATED TO ENGLISH BY: Roya Sokouti
Among the various aspects of the pattern, for me, the contemporary aspect of pattern matters more than the other ones. By that, I mean what is the question that pattern s trying to answer in the contemporary era and why it becomes an important issue.
We are specifically in a modern world with our new definitions of the universe. This new approach comes from 70 to 80 years aThe contemporary pattern and related keywords, which in my opinion are completely different from their historical type, are originated from today knowledge and subjects.
Complexities of the world and its laws are results of our effort to know it. The pattern for us, today is an instrument for gaining knowledge and analyzing, it can be as much complex that can explain the complexities of the world. This complexity is very different from the aesthetics the in traditional sense. There will be two different approaches. I think how this pattern will reflect the complexity is more important than the other. In fact, this approach toward pattern can be a contemporary architecture issue.
In the 40s-50s of the twentieth century, these beliefs come to life that components can define the whole. It means a pattern is created by defining relations between parts, without having any recognition of the whole. This is a very important condition for understanding the complexities of today’s world. Many of the complex systems are formed by very simple relations that define parts. There are some keywords here that are obtained from contemporary efforts to discover these relationships, and this leads to the conclusion that a lot of natural phenomena are coming from simple laws. For example, pattern formation, complexity and emergence; or like Alan Turing , who talked about patterns and the formation of animal body patterns in the 40’s , and which rules we use to create a pattern; or cellular automata and Conway’s game of life , Stefan Wolfram looks at it much more seriously and takes a variety of forms to interpret it. Some definitions do not make sense in abstract and aesthetic terms. This way creates contemporary patterns, such as L-systems and fractals that is organizing and developing parts instead of beauty. The issue of growth is a very important topic, especially in urbanization.
Computers that have been created in the modern era can provide new features. They are important because the human brain cannot work like them. But apparently the computer is very close to nature and can repeat continuously and tirelessly; in addition, we know that nature and materials have memory and the process of repeating and saving is an important issue in the computer. Our brain cannot think like this. Nowadays many mathematicians believe mathematics is the science of finding a pattern; numeric patterns and relations. For example, the number of people immediately forms a pattern in our mind; even geometry is a kind of creation of pattern in the mind.
In this way, many words are meaningful since the 40s. Patterns are having more and more important roles in our contemporary world. Debates such as data mining, machine learning, and pattern recognition are introduced. And, conversely, the contemporary pattern introduces a series of words, like repetition and differentiation, which repeat not as a repetition of Deleuze, but also a repetition that keeps changes and also creates it itself. Words like intensity and gradient are contemporary qualities that have come up with today’s pattern.
The contemporary aspect of pattern, in which the process, time and space are so important can quickly become architecture and close it to the pattern as a visual quality. (Pattern is a representation of time)
The pattern is a secondary layer in this approach and the visual effect is not its purpose. It is a process, although it has visual and structural representation. Their discussion is more about defining and controlling complexity. It can be a surface layer of graphic, but they get more interesting while facing deeper issues. In this definition, pattern accepts environment easier and affects on it, and from this view, it can be very lively and interesting, and constantly interacts with its environment. For example, in a facade, for having environmental different affects besides keeping totality, we use patterns that preserve our overall unity, but the behaviour of components are different and different intensities can be created.
But another aspect of the pattern, which is more known to us, is geometric patterns, which are often created by absolute repetition. Geometric patterns have the role of abstract space creation in our architecture or art, an imagined space that wants to distract the viewer from reality. When we look at the geometric pattern in the Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque, we do not see this contemporary aspect that has been mentioned, and can’t be measured that way.