Ambient Amplifiers, Tøyen Park Oslo, Norway, 2000
Project Team: Prof. Dr. Birger Sevaldson with Phu Duong
The relation between form and function has often been understood as a one-way relation. (form follows function). A deeper and extended reading of these processes includes cultural, political and psychological "functions" or programs and the negotiation between these system-driven forces over time. The problem with these models is not that they are wrong, but that they are incomplete. The production of artefacts needs to be seen as a process where the generation of form is influenced by action (function & program) as well as form influences action through hosting, triggering, modification and amplification of program. (Function follows form). These mutual form generation processes take place at various (time-) scales. In everyday life we constantly adapt to existing conditions and in periods operate in an opportunistic mode, where our actions are shaped by the situation we face. On the other hand we constantly rearrange the form of our surroundings to fit our intentions and needs.
Ambient Amplifiers is a rehearsal on a real-life case, the Toyen Park in Oslo and its surroundings. The intention is to investigate the use of computer technology as engine for mediation of processes where form and program reconfigure and redefine each other in a mutual time based process. The design for such processes implies to prepare for a future myriad of potential events (actualities) that by far extend the imagination of the individual designers. Designing for certain programs is of limited value, because continuous reprogramming by the inhibitors will take place. In fact the intention is to reinforce such reprogramming and reforming, to design programmability in to the systems.
The computer is used as an engine to produce dynamic generative diagrams, which serve to address the mentioned aspects. The dynamic generative diagram always feeds on contextual matter, but it deforms the fields and forces in a topological animation, which produces series of intermediate steps, articulating both spatial and temporal thresholds.
Ambient Amplifiers invents and implements two slightly different types of diagrammatic machines.
Diagrammatic Machine 1 applies to the central field in the site. Diagrammatic Machine 2 refers to the flow-feeding corridor of Toyengate.
DM 1 injects a generic information set, which negotiates contextual information and design intentions.
DM 2 feeds flow into DM1 to sustain vital activity.
The Diagrammatic machines produce the design underlay for the following elements:
i. The Park Islands help to interweave three different aspects of the Toyen Park: Science, Art, & Leisure. They share different modes of finishedness from footprints, foundations and space frames to enclosures. The Islands are not designed according to a specific program. Instead, the intention is to design programmability. New programs can be invented and changed over time.
ii. The role of the Toyengate Street Scaffold is to negotiate activity flows to and from Toyen Park. The street scaffold enables participation with existing buildings by setting up new threshold conditions. Through insertion, affiliation, and expansion relationships for program, property ownership, climate control, and public and private operation are given new potentials.
The project received a design merit award in the first FEIDAD award 2000 (www.feidad.org)
For more information see the project web site: