I suppose that while everyone is discussing Le Corbusier, it may not be inappropriate to discuss in this corner another arguably deplorable machine, computer-aided design (CAD). John Margolis, the recently resigned president of the ICAA’s New England chapter who moved to Los Angeles to work with TradArch list member Erik Evens’s firm, has sent me a devil of a delightful video of a Doric column being created on ArchiCAD.
The accompanying essay, “ArchiCAD meets Roman Doric column, falls in love,” is by Jared Banks on a blog called Graphisoft. It was originally written (and the video perhaps created by what Banks calls an “unnamed master at ArchiCAD”) about two years ago.
On the TradArch list there are, I know, some who will condemn the video as, in spite of its subject, straight out of the modernist camp. Instead of the human hand drawing a humane reference to the human body in all its classical proportions – we have CAD, arguably a cad – a machine for undermining all that is sweetness and light in the mother of the arts.
Still, perhaps especially for those of us who are not architects and not intimately familiar with CAD, the video represents the allure of Darth Vader. CAD, and in this case ArchiCAD (which is, I imagine, one of any number of CAD brands), shows that with the right mind behind the controls, beauty can be created. Still, is it a beauty all too pure, all too perfect, all to shorn of the human imperfections that summon character in building?
I wonder, it took just a few minutes to draw a Doric column on this video, and it is clearly a truncation of the true time it must have taken. It reminds me of the wonderful stop-motion video of Francis Terry, George Saumarez Smith and Ben Pentreath drawing a classical colonnade in an art gallery in London. (Terry recently did another on a stretch in London’s Banksy Tunnel.) How long did it really take to CAD that column?
Any thoughts out there on how well CAD and other modern architecture instruments and materials serve to promote and to fit into a revived classicism? I’m sure many readers have been over this again and again, but this question is directed mostly at readers who are not also on TradArch.