This project revisits the root of the western architectural canon, reinterpreting the top-down formal hierarchy of the Parthenon as a bottom-up system of emergence. In this theoretical scenario, “Parthenon-DNA” only becomes the Parthenon when it is subjected to the specific physical, experiential, and cultural pressures of its Acropolis site. If the same “DNA” were relocated to a different site with a different set of pressures, a different form would emerge.
Against the static absolutes of Classicism and its offspring, this is an architecture that not only recognizes, but revels in a plurality of possible truths. By this framing, Architect is no longer the arbiter of balance, symmetry, and order. Instead he becomes Negotiator, reconciling competing requirements, pressures, and intentions with the key disciplinary registers of space and form.
This Negotiation might be embedded and extended within scripted processes of emergence. Scripting was used to code both the innate rules of the Parthenon-DNA and the behavior of the evolving form in response to external pressures. The code employs a type of “swarm logic,” in which global order gradually emerges (or doesn’t) as a byproduct of iterative, local interactions within an increasingly defined virtual environment.
As a kind of design-proof, the system is reconstituted in Venice within an appropriated Humanist scheme for the Bacino di San Marco. Here, framed within the Impossible City’s historic debate between organic growth and classicism, the Parthenon-DNA evolves into something more feral, conflicted by multiple and divergent motivations.
The resultant form embeds not only something about a certain place and culture, but a dialogue about the discipline of architecture; our precedents, narratives, and attitudes about where we’ve been, where we are, and where we might be going.