Project's Summary

Compound Figurations: Exploring the Ambiguity of Conflicting Forms

Life magazine, 1966 - John Updike once famously said, "I like middles. It is in middles that extremes clash, where ambiguity restlessly rules." These words perfectly encapsulate the essence of a groundbreaking architectural project called Compound Figurations, developed by the innovative SMLA, LLC architectural studio. This project challenges the traditional understanding of form and space by introducing a new concept known as intersective design.

Compound Figurations emerged through a series of experiments that aimed to shift away from the conventional additive/subtractive approach to form and space. Instead, the architects sought to explore an alternative condition where intersecting elements take center stage. To achieve this, they employed rule sets that leveraged the Boolean operation AND, specifically the concept of intersection. This departure from generative modeling practices allowed them to revisit solid modeling techniques, breaking away from the prevailing emphasis on "smoothness."

What distinguishes Compound Figurations is its ability to confound the viewer's perception of part-to-whole relationships. The forms created in this project defy easy categorization, as creases and clefts define formal articulations between intersecting smooth and/or flat surfaces. Rather than seeking resolution, the architects deliberately expose the ambiguity inherent in conflicting forms. This approach gives rise to an entirely new condition that emerges from the act of intersection, neither a union nor a negation of geometric forms, nor a fluid reconciliation of formal variation. It represents a unique and distinctly digital alternative of a third kind.

The Compound Figurations project exemplifies the SMLA, LLC architectural studio's commitment to pushing the boundaries of design and challenging conventional notions of architectural form. By embracing ambiguity and the clash of extremes, they have opened up new possibilities for architectural expression. The project invites viewers to engage with the complex interplay of intersecting forms, provoking thought and expanding our understanding of space and design.

In a world where architecture often seeks to provide concrete answers and definitive solutions, Compound Figurations stands out as an embodiment of the beauty found in ambiguity. It reminds us that the middle ground, where extremes collide, is a fertile ground for creativity and exploration. The SMLA, LLC architectural studio's innovative approach to form and space inspires us to embrace the unknown and celebrate the uncharted territory that lies within the realm of design. Compound Figurations is a testament to the power of intersective design and its ability to challenge and redefine our perception of architectural possibilities.

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