Saturday, August 28, 2010

architectural academic crochet

This is one of my recent projects. Just to show that I can crochet something else, not just hyperbolic planes. Since there is a crochet in the title of my blog I should write about it too. Especially because recently one of my friends complained that my blog is too academic, too mathematical, and too serious. I think he meant too boring, just was polite not to say that to me directly. May be he is right, I am too serious. But it is hard not to be serious when you live near the big and serious university and go to the talks that are serious. Just going to these talks mean that you are serious, especially when you go to the symposium early Saturday morning like today.
Yesterday and today there was a symposium Shaping Architects=Shaping Architecture in Cornell.
I am finding it quite fascinating  to listen talks in the areas with which I am not very familiar. Architecture for me associates with buildings - I was fascinated by Newgrange built 5,000 years ago on my trip to Ireland; last week I was equally enjoying walking around San Francisco looking at the different patterns used for exterior decoration of Victorian houses and I was fascinated by modern buildings in Financial District. I have read some history of architecture but it was about different styles, not about how architects get their ideas, how do they think, how do they explore space, and how do they teach their students. This morning I had an opportunity to peak in the kitchen of architects because they were exactly discussing how they teach students design ideas.
Discussion started with an introduction by Prof. Dagmar Richter about the history of teaching architects. First Academies or Schools of Architecture were created in 16th century Florence and France. It was decided then that architects are more noble than craftsmen that were organized by guilds. There is some parallel here with mathematics in Ancient Greece when theory was separated from practice - mathematicians were supposed to think about ideas but calculations had to be left for specially trained slaves. In 16th century architects were supposed to create art for aristocrats. It was defined that architects should stop doing things by their hands but only create ideas. Politically these first architecture schools were against democracy. No wonder they were destroyed during the French Revolution and new type of schools was created - schools that prepared architects for building military objects and state buildings. That has historically created two directions in architecture which are still fighting, and  currently architects are trying to understand where architecture is now.
My particular interest was about the talk by Gisela Baurmann Crocheting Algorithms.
In Gisela's design studio students use crochet as a conceptual model of fabrications and then form there move to digital models. In her talk she was exploring similarities of crochet and patterns in nature on different scales - in visible dimensions and on a cell level:

When only contours are left these patterns from nature become look like a fabric.
When ideas are developed further they start to turn into design.
There are more pictures on her studio blog. Fascinating pictures to foster design ideas can be seen also on Jonas Coersmeir's studio blog.
So - sorry my friend - when I was concentrating on hyperbolic part of my blog title, it was too mathematical=academic. I tried this time to concentrate on crochet part but it turned out also to be academic. Still I hope that not everything academic is boring - at least for me it was fascinating to learn that crochet can be academic....
There are more fascinating projects by Gisela Baurmann and Jonas Coersmeier here.


  1. Please continue posting about your "academic" interests, they make for very good reading, not boring at all!

    I have a question: do you usually crochet during talks?


  2. usually I am the one who gives a talk and then it would be a little complicated to crochet :-)
    I do not mind other people to knit or crochet during my talks. As for myself in the audience - since I decided to blog about the talks I am attending, I am trying to take notes and to take pictures. I used to knit during the some lectures before in order not to fall asleep.