Precursors of Parametricism

alt Considered as the trailblazer of computeraided (CAD), Ivan Sutherland develops a program in the scope of his doctorate at MIT in 1963 which is able to interactively create and change simple sketches on a computer-controlled radar screen by means of a light pen and keyboard. At the beginning of the 1980s, the first CAD programs that run on PCs and thus become affordable for architects, too, come onto market. This rapidly triggers a CAD boom that has continued up today - the digital turn is primed, but first gathers speed at the beginning of the 1990s.
Technological advances are also reflected. in theoretical dicourse, For instance, Gilles Deleuze's theory of "The Fold", is a central notion that Peter Eisenmann, among others, picks up on as the starting point for a digital design method. At the beginning of the 1990s, experiments with "spline modelers" are undertaken. Pioneers in this area include Greg Lynn, Foreign Office Architects and Zaha Hadid, whose office partner Patrick Schumacher coins the term "parametricism".

Generally one could say that in terms of digital architecture the 1990s are characterized by an emphasis on form, the 2000s by an emphasis on process and the 2010s by an emphasis on agency and authorship - taking digital architecture towards the participatory and collaborative.

*I am grateful for useful information from exhibition "Am Ende: Architektur. Zeitreisen 1959 – 2019" in Architekturzentrum Wien

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