Is 'Parametricism' the Sustainable Style of the Future?

Patrik Schumacher of Zaha Hadid Architects argues that the unified style of architecture for the 21st century will be 'parametricism'.

Schumacher says that architectural style cannot be defined by appearance alone.

He writes, "A new style in architecture and design is akin to a new paradigm in science; it redefines the fundamental categories, purposes and methods of a coherent collective endeavour. "

Parametricism, he argues, has been a consistent, collective endeavor for over 10 years.

From Schumacher's definition of parametricism: "Instead of classical and modern reliance on rigid geometrical figures – rectangles, cubes, cylinders, pyramids and spheres – the new primitives of parametricism are animate geometrical entities – splines, nurbs and subdivs."

Full Story: Patrik Schumacher on parametricism - 'Let the style wars begin'



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The idea that the concept of "style" needs to be re-habilitated while conceding that it's the primary way the public understands architecture underlines the main problem within the profession. They could care less about the public.

This article is the most conservative architectural treatis I've recently read in that all the modernist conventions are being upheld. The false dichotomy of either historicism or modernism blows right over the fact that modernism as a style (broadly speaking) is as historicist as any other.

This guy's attempt to institutionalise whatever work his firm does as the go to style of today is as transparent as the false intellectualism of the early modernists. We are modern, eclectic people, and as such ought to to whatever we feel like. If only architects as professionals would get over their fear of being tradespeople, we might actually produce buildings people care about. It's no wonder European cities have been frozen in time, it's the public's way of acknowledging we can't do anything better. Look back at most architectural commentary of the last 300 years, and the evolution of whatever style was in vogue was always refered to as modern.


It is interesting that all the reader comments on this article are critical. Not a single one is supportive.

That gives me some hope for the future of architecture.

Scroll down and read the comments, which make very sensible points - much more sensible than the article.

Charles Siegel

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