Greg Lynn's Embryological House: case study in the preservation of digital architecture

Introduction     Background     Animate Form     Digital Life     Technical Challenges     Other Challenges     Discoveries     Future Steps

Partly as a result of the new importance of curatorial judgment throughout the life cycle of new media, the research was extended to a first analysis of the file contents. This aimed at an understanding of the genesis of the design and the architect's underlying theoretical and practical intentions.

This analysis has generated a deeper—if still speculative—understanding of the design process, including the relationship between the digital versions of the project and the physical models. It has also become apparent from a study of several of the Microstation and Maya files that the garden in which the Embryological House is set is based on a distortion (applying principles of animate form) of an actual landscape. This is the site of one of the great historical models of house typology, the Villa Cornaro (1553) by 16th century architect Andrea Palladio. Sites of other significant villas by Palladio, and by the modern architect Le Corbusier, were also subjects of such manipulation. These discoveries, and others like them, begin to frame an understanding of the Embryological House on which curatorial decisions can be based.

Above, left to right: Site of Villa Cornaro, with landscape features identified as sources of distortion (Microstation file); forces generated by these features are applied to the ground plane (Maya file); contour drawing of landscape thus generated; physical model of one iteration of the Embryological House.