chapter  19
Digital Fabrication, Between Disruption and Nostalgia
WithAntoine Picon
Pages 16

Architectural practice has been transformed at an extremely rapid pace through the development of digital tools, a pace that history and theory have had trouble, until recently, following. Parametric design and Building Information Modeling have not waited for historians and theorists to make sense of them. Theoretical studies have often been led in a somewhat prescriptive way as an effort to tell their readers what the architectural discipline should be about today. Instead of framing the universe, computation becomes rather the inner principle of animation, the very life of the material world. It enables fabrication to plug into its dynamism, or to use a Heideggerian expression “its unfolding”. The digital age definitely marks a new episode in the evolution of materiality, and this is not only because of digital fabrication. Nostalgia is not necessarily an irrational regret of the past that paralyzes the desire for innovation.