Thomas Parker (UCL) - 2021-22 Students

An Architecture of Noise: Constructing Rigorous Uncertainty and Pursuing Unconventional Accuracy

It has become increasingly common in digital architectural practices to identify the term noise as synonymous with error or unwanted information, generated by problematic processes or faulty mechanisms. But noise, technically, conceptually, and philosophically, has become a major component of how a broad range of architectural mediums and methodologies operate in the digital realm, whether it’s through translational practices between analogue and digital fabrication in 3D scanning, to underpinning generative forms of drawing in early artificial intelligence. The role of noise has not only infiltrated everyday practices but has simultaneously cemented itself in opposition to our more determined sensibilities, calling into question the assumed ‘objective’ position of mathematically underpinned conventions of the orthographic.

This research sets out to embrace an architecture that is in tune with noise, not only as a design methodology for drawing and making practices, but also as a philosophical and conceptual position. Drawing upon contemporary noise-based research in the work of Cecilia Malaspina and Indigo Wilkins, alongside representational theories of Michael Young and Jon May, the work will chart a course for noise, establishing how this is a fundamental question that predates our underlying cybernetic principles in architecture. Whilst embracing a vigorous pursuit of the uncertainty of noise in the measurement of information, at the heart of the research is fundamentally question about power and freedom in the digital and ultimately the potential that emerges in a shift away from ambiguous truth towards unconventional forms of accuracy.

Primary supervisor: Prof Nat Chard, UCL
Secondary supervisor: Dr Christopher Leung, UCL

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