Waveform architecture and digital design

Blobblurb; Blobitecture: waveform architecture and digital design

Timothy Brittain-Catlin


By John K. Waters. Hove: Rockport Publishers. 2003. [pounds sterling]27.50

Transport for London has brought out a handy guide for passengers which can be found at every underground station. This stylish 20-page publication tells the traveller how to buy a ticket, stand on the escalator, walk onto the platform, and to sit in the train. It is, of course, daft: the relevant information, if it had to be printed at all, could be put on a piece of paper half the size of a bus ticket.

And so it is with Blobitecture. The message is that new software encourages architects to make more use of curvy shapes. And that’s about it, but the author has stretched it out to over 170 pages to make a ‘lifestyle’ product. Written in a blatantly journalistic style, and following a more or less chronological format, a few of these ‘blobby’ structures, as well as some ‘blobby’ objects, are presented in a narrative that reads like a series of press releases: breathless descriptions by designers of the brilliance of their own work. Wonderfully opaque utterances, more blurb than blob, provide some lighter moments. ‘Architecture for such fluid, dimensionless territories can only be an utterance, without language; a new architecture that is anticipatory, imperfect, and precisely misaligned’: that sort of thing. The illustrations do not always do justice to the text, the choice of designers is a mixture of the obscure and the famous, and the whole thing ends with a bump rather as if the ink had suddenly run out.

A teenager with an interest in product (or book) design might appreciate it. But it isn’t about architecture. A book about form, and only form, and that has no reasoned structure or thesis behind it, is not, and never can be, a book about architecture.

COPYRIGHT 2004 EMAP Architecture

COPYRIGHT 2004 Gale Group