Atlas of Novel Techtonics / by Dustin Altschul

To begin with, and to finally get it out of my system, I found the construction of this book incredibly frustrating. It is well bounded, and printed on seemingly decent paper. So it is noticeable that there was some desire to create an object of quality. But the pictures, when not in block in white, are inserted  in a post-it note like fashion. That's right majority of the pictures behave like flags, rather then carefully selected  images  worth visual inspection. This treatment of the images just frustrates me because I  feel it significantly devalues the entire experience of reading the book. But none the less, with that difference aside,  this book is highly inspirational.

There are many opinions of what makes "good" architecture. My personal definition lays somewhere between sophisticated aesthetic treatments, and functionalism (no surprise with an engineering background). So it is no wonder why I enjoyed this book so much, because it's central argument is that science does not need to be in subornation to a grander artistic vision. But instead scientific principles, in themselves when explored, can be the impetus to generating meaningful/desirable design in architecture. 

For me this was a very refreshing role reversal in design generation. And after reading the book , with it's 67 short essays arguing for "novel tectonics", I was left with a questioning of why so few building designs seem to lack  technical exploration in their conceptual generation. I also highly enjoyed the different examples of why this sort of technical exploration can be part of the fundamental process. Not only did this provide a solid argument of how these sort ideas can be seemliness integrated to the architectural design process,  But also varying ways in which technological explorations can relate to material, structure,massing, and visual perception. 

No doubt this book is intended to be a rationalist wet dream. But I do not believe that is necessarily a bad thing, because I believe the architecture we make in modern day could use some more rational foresight, opposed to ill-conceived post-rationalist gibberish.This book provides ample evidence of proving this point.

I also believe the book corresponds well to the emergence of  digital technologies , in architectural design , that are returning architecture to a technological process (digital fabrication,on demand visual analysis, parametric programming, new cladding materials ).  And I believe is not only argument for exploring tectonics, but provides an indication of what the future of normative architectural design could be , as the application of digital tools enable rapid feedback of the tectonic decisions that are made in a design composition.