architectural production in the last decade or so might also be shifted up a gear and transferred to urban design. Formally, certain advanced parametric design tools are a strong influence on the aesthetic throughout the issue. This is at its most evident in the masterplans of Zaha Hadid Architects, the Design Research Laboratory (DRL) at the Architectural Association and the digital towers section, which features work by architects and premier architecture schools from around the world. The formal language of the parametric is most strongly advocated by Patrik Schumacher who regards it stylistically as the rightful heir to Modernism. The adoption of digital design tools, however, here play just as an important part for urban analysis as form-finding. Professor Michael Batty, for instance, describes how cities' shapes might be 'grown' in digital laboratories in order to aid evolved urban design.

If the application of digital processes is a consistent theme of the issue, so is the way that it is perceived. Long gone is the Modernist perception that the city is something to be ordered and controlled. Instead, it is regarded as having its own collective intelligence and underlying pattern, as most overtly expressed by Neil Leach's own article on 'swarm intelligence'. The most extreme manifestation of this is François Roche's vision of a habitable organism or biostructure that is responsive to human occupation but develops its own adaptive behaviour. The sense of otherness, which the urban now engenders, combines to make the city ever more intriguing. The urban has never been more irresistible to architects. The city, in all its guises, as demonstrated by this issue, provides an object of endless fascination and seemingly limitless architectural research and analysis. 4

Text © 2009 John Wiley & Sons Ltd. Images: p 4 © Steve Gorton; p 5 © University of Southern California 2009

Xiaoqin Chen, Runqing Zhang, Ying Liu and Juhi Dhar, Termite Urbanism, MArch, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, 2009

This project attempts to establish an environmentally responsible approach to urban planning using techniques of scripting. Following the principles of traditional wind towers, it employs a 'termite logic' processing script to cut ventilation shafts through the buildings and also employs other forms of scripting in Rhino and processing to generate a coherent urban vision for Dubai.


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