FP_Ngai Section 12-13

Final Project | Ted Ngai, Lecturer

A Material and Behavioral Experimentation in Architecture and Urbanism

FP Students 2012-13 – Ted Ngai Section

Aviel Rappoport
Justin Rupp
Dana Shin
Caitlin Toczko
(1) Peck Prize Finalist
(2) Peck Prize Winner

“It would be an unsound fancy and self-contradictory to expect that things which have never yet been done can be done except by means which have never yet been tried.” Francis Bacon

Sir Francis Bacon, often credited as the father of the modern scientific method, laid the foundation of modern science through his science fiction novel – The New Atlantis, where the depiction of the Salomon’s House, which became the blueprint of the Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge in 1660 with the motto – Nullius in verba, Latin for “Take nobody’s word for it”.

Bacon’s methodology for scientific inquiry – inductive reasoning, in which knowledge is gained through data gathering, empirical observation, and repeated experimentation, was a proposition pointed directly to the Aristotelean method of deductive reasoning. He described the impediments to progress and the fallacy of pure logical / theoretical propositions that often leads to misguided results as idols of the human mind.

Bacon himself was not known to be an experimentalist, and he never made any major scientific discoveries. On one of the few occasions when he attempted to conduct his own experiment, and this time, the effect of refrigeration on meat, he contracted a fatal case of pneumonia and died leaving 4 of his 6 volumes on the new scientific method – Instauratio magna, unfinished.

Bacon is, however, not only a visionary in the methodologies of science, but also a believer in applications, which requires a tremendous amount of curiosity and IMAGINATION. In his depiction of this mythical research institution, Salomon’s House, in the New Atlantis, scientists invented flying machines, submersibles, swimming garments, and perpetual motion machines, and described how these technologies were integrated into their society.

At the dawn of the 21st century, we are amidst yet another scientific enlightenment at the scale of nano particles, and an unprecedented global environmental and ecological crisis. Many would argue that in order to address this global crisis we must scale back and rethink consumption, which is essentially a processes of material assemblies and disassemblies. And nano- sciences are changing exactly that, and they are opening up the possibilities to rethink how materials are made or synthesized, their properties and behavior, and eventually their life cycle.

Our studio will venture into this new paradigm of nano- science this semester. We will learn the fundamentals through extensive experimentation by synthesizing performance based materials, learning their properties and behavior, and developing ways develop architectural tectonic elements with them.


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