& Joey, Interactive public art work
Lars Spuybroek joins Georgia Tech College of Architecture as 3rd Endowed Chair
and principal of NOX, Lars Spuybroek, was recently named the third Thomas
W. Ventulett III Distinguished Chair in Architectural Design.
“Lars Spuybroek is a leading expert in the area of digital design and computation in architecture,” said Chris Jarrett, Acting Director of the Architecture Program. “The work of NOX Architects in The Netherlands is world renown for their experimental work. One can hardly enter an architecture bookstore anywhere in the world without seeing a display of their work. There is a complexity in Spuybroek’s projects that challenges the mind and eye, but at the same time they are quite accessible and beautiful. We all look forward to the contributions and leadership that Professor Spuybroek will be taking here at Georgia Tech. “
Spuybroek joins the faculty this fall (2006) and will build on the momentum established by the last two chair holders in digital manufacturing.
“I am thrilled that Professor Spuybroek is joining our faculty,” said Dean Thomas Galloway. “His innovative work and investigations in computing and architecture will enhance the College’s initiative toward the integration of the design and built environment professions through emerging technology.”
Since the early nineties, Spuybroek has been involved in researching the relationship between architecture and computing.
“Basically computers are there to manage complexity, so for architecture it means that computers allow us a much more complex architecture,” said Spuybroek. “That in itself means nothing because more complex doesn’t immediately imply better. But, for one thing, it will definitely mean more variable. So, computed architecture will be one of variation, that is an architecture of non-repetitive parts, a non-standard architecture. Soon it will be possible to have completely unique parts in a built structure for a price that before would only be possible through huge amounts of repetition - a variable prefab, or as it is called in production terms, mass customization. We are dissolving the opposition between elitist handwork and machined parts, between emotionality and high-tech, between Art Nouveau and Bauhaus.”
Spuybroek is the principal of NOX, an architecture & art office in Rotterdam. He was editor-publisher of one of the first magazines in a book format (NOX, Forum), made video art (Soft City) and interactive electronic artworks (Soft Site, edit Spline, deep Surface).
In the last five years he has focused more on architecture. He received international recognition after building the Water Pavilion in 1997, and in 2004 NOX finished the D-Tower, the Son-O-house and a cluster of cultural buildings in Lille, France (Maison Folies). In the same year Thames & Hudson published the 400-page monograph, NOX: Machining Architecture. He has won several prizes and has exhibited all over the world, among them presentations at the Venice Biennale, the Centre Pompidou, the Victoria & Albert and the Guggenheim Bilbao.
Previously he was a Professor at the University of Kassel in Germany where he chaired the Digital Design Techniques department and a Visiting Associate Professor at Columbia University in New York.
As a Professor, Spuybroek guides his students “to become strong believers, critical thinkers and pragmatic managers - the basic impossible threesome of our profession.”
He also stresses the importance of understanding the cultural shift in bringing architecture to computing. “Simply put- the computer means the same to architecture in our time that the invention of perspective meant for Renaissance architecture. And such a shift doesn’t take place in a day, it will take a whole generation, and probably even more generations, of designers. The most important thing is to bring computing to architecture and not conceive it as the other way around. In the nineties we were all doing weird shapes just because the computer allowed for it. What we should focus on is working on the old problems of architecture with new tools, instead of just creating new problems. I don’t want to have non-standard architecture cornered as a new (and already lost) futurism. We need to give computing in architecture a much stronger basis than just a new set of stylistic features.”
The Thomas W. Ventulett III Distinguished Chair in Architectural Design has been made possible by the generous gifts of Ventulett and through commitments made by his firm (Thompson, Ventulett, Stainback & Associates) as well as his family, friends, and business associates.
The previous chair holders have been Monica Ponce de Leon (2004-5) and Nader Tehrani (2005-6), principals in Office dA and faculty members at Harvard University.