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Architecture April 11, 2006

Posted by deptfordtv in : regeneration , add a comment

Architecture is a term that has over history acquired different, though indirectly related, meanings all of which have currency today.

* Architecture, in its first and traditional usage, refers to the art and science of designing buildings. A wider definition would include within its scope the design of the total built environment, from the macrolevel of urban planning, urban design, and landscape architecture to the microlevel of furniture and product design. Architecture also refers to the product of such a design.
* From this original meaning, the term architecture has been extended to the design or act of designing other complex systems and is usually qualified using a prefix, for example: computer architecture, software architecture, information architecture, product architecture). In these cases, it tends to refer to the overall structure of the system.
* Common to all contexts is the idea that architecture embodies a coherent set of organizational principles and objectives guiding the design of each aspect of a complex structure. Generally, a product resulting from such guided design can also be referred to as architecture.
* Computer architecture is the theory behind the design of a computer. In the same way as a building architect sets the principles and goals of a building project as the basis for the draftsman’s plans, so too, a computer architect sets out the computer architecture as a basis for the actual design specifications.
* Software architecture is a coherent set of abstract patterns guiding the design of each aspect of a larger software system.
* Information architecture is the art and science of structuring knowledge (technically data) to be published in a web, and defining user interactions (also see use case).
* A vehicle architecture is an automobile platform that is a shared set of components common to a number of different vehicles.
* Product architecture comprises the structure of a product or product family including its constituent subassemblies and options for commonality, customization, upgrading, or repair. Vehicle architecture is an example.

Architecture of the built environment

Architecture (in Greek αρχή = first and τέχνη = craftsmanship) is the art and science of designing buildings. A wider definition would include within its scope the design of the total built environment, from the macrolevel of town planning, urban design, and landscape architecture to the microlevel of furniture.


1. Scope and intentions
2. Theory and practice
3. Architecture and buildings
4. Architectural history
5. Conclusion
6. External links

Scope and intentions

According to the very earliest surviving work on the subject, Vitruvius’ De Architectura, good building should have Beauty (Venustas), Firmness (Firmitas) and Utility (Utilitas); architecture can be said to be a balance and coordination among these three elements, with none overpowering the others. A modern day definition sees architecture as addressing aesthetic, structural and functional considerations. However, looked at another way, function itself is seen as encompassing all criteria, including aesthetic and psychological ones.

Architecture is a multi-disciplinary field, including within its fold mathematics, science, art, technology, social sciences, politics, history, philosophy, and so on. In Vitruvius’ words, “Architecture is a science, arising out of many other sciences, and adorned with much and varied learning: by the help of which a judgement is formed of those works which are the result of other arts”. He adds that an architect should be well versed in fields such as music, astronomy, etc. Philosophy is a particular favourite; in fact one frequently refers to the philosophy of each architect when one means the approach. Rationalism, empiricism, structuralism, poststructuralism, and phenomenology are some directions from philosophy influencing architecture.

Theory and practice

The relevance of theory in informing practice cannot be overemphasised, though many architects shun theory. Vitruvius continues: “Practice and theory are its parents. Practice is the frequent and continued contemplation of the mode of executing any given work, or of the mere operation of the hands, for the conversion of the material in the best and readiest way. Theory is the result of that reasoning which demonstrates and explains that the material wrought has been so converted as to answer the end proposed. Wherefore the mere practical architect is not able to assign sufficient reasons for the forms he adopts; and the theoretic architect also fails, grasping the shadow instead of the substance. He who is theoretic as well as practical, is therefore doubly armed; able not only to prove the propriety of his design, but equally so to carry it into execution”.

Architecture and buildings

The difference between architecture and building is a subject matter that has engaged the attention of many. According to Nikolaus Pevsner, European historian of the early 20th century, “A bicycle shed is a building, Lincoln Cathedral is a piece of architecture”. In current thinking, the division is not too clear. Bernard Rudofsky’s famous Architecture Without Architects consolidated a whole range of structures designed by ordinary people into the realm of architecture. The further back in history one goes, the greater is the consensus on what architecture is or is not, possibly because time is an efficient filter. If like Vitruvius we consider architecture as good building, then does it mean that bad architecture does not exist? To resolve this dilemma, especially with the increasing number of buildings in the world today, architecture can also be defined as what an architect does. This would then place the emphasis on the evolution of architecture and the architect.

Architecture is also the art of designing the human built environment. Buildings, landscaping, and street designs may be used to impart both functional as well as aesthetic character to a project. Siding and roofing materials and colors may be used to enhance or blend buildings with the environment. Building features such as cornices, gables, entrances, and window treatments and borders may be used to soften or enhance portions of a building. Landscaping may be used to create privacy and block direct views from or to a site and enhance buildings with colorful plants and trees. Street side features such as decorative lighting, benches, meandering walkways, and bicycle lanes can enhance the experience of a project site for passersby, pedestrians, and cyclists.

Architectural history

Architecture first evolved out of the dynamics between needs (shelter, security, worship, etc.) and means (available building materials and attendant skills). Prehistoric and primitive architecture constitute this early stage. As humans progressed and knowledge began to be formalised through oral traditions and practices, architecture evolved into a craft. Here there is first a process of trial and error, and later improvisation or replication of a successful trial. The architect is not the sole important figure; he is merely part of a continuing tradition. What is termed as Vernacular architecture today falls under this mode and still continues to be produced in many parts of the world.

Early human settlements were essentially rural. As surplus of production began to occur, rural societies transformed into urban ones and cities began to evolve. In many ancient civilisations such as the Egyptians’ and Mesopotamians’ architecture and urbanism reflected the constant engagement with the divine and the supernatural. However, the architecture and urbanism of the Classical civilisations such as the Greek and the Roman evolved from more civic ideas and many new building types emerged. Architectural styles developed and texts on architecture began to be written. These became canons to be followed in important works, especially religious architecture. Some examples of canons are the works of Vitruvius, the Kaogongji of ancient China and Vaastu Shastra in ancient India. In Europe in the Classical and Medieval periods, buildings were not attributed to specific individual architects who remained anonymous. Guilds were formed by craftsmen to organise their trade. Over time the complexity of buildings and their types increased. General civil construction such as roads and bridges began to be built. Many new building types such as schools, hospitals, and recreational facilities emerged.

Islamic architecture all by itself merits a special discussion. The concept of Islamic architecture can be understood in several ways. But perhaps a concise way of defining it would be to say that Islamic architecture is simply the architecture characteristic of predominantly Islamic societies as well as similar architecture elsewhere.

Using this definition, Islamic architecture has a long and complex history beginning in the 7th century CE continuing today. Examples can be found throughout the countries that are, or were, Islamic – from Morocco and Spain to Iran, and Indonesia. Other examples can be found in areas where Muslims are a minority. Islamic architecture includes mosques, madrasas, caravansarais, palaces, and mausolea of this large region.

With the Renaissance and its emphasis on the individual and humanity rather than religion, and with all its attendant progress and achievements, a new chapter began. Buildings were ascribed to specific architects – Michaelangelo, Brunelleschi, Leonardo da Vinci – and the cult of the individual had begun. But there was no dividing line between artist, architect and engineer, or any of the related vocations. At this stage, it was still possible for an artist to design a bridge as the level of structural calculations involved were within the scope of the generalist.

With the consolidation of knowledge in scientific fields such as engineering and the rise of new materials and technology, the architect began to lose ground on the technical aspects of building. He therefore cornered for himself another playing field – that of aesthetics. There was the rise of the “gentleman architect” who usually dealt with wealthy clients and concentrated predominantly on visual qualities derived usually from historical prototypes. In the 19th century Ecole des Beaux Arts in France, the training was toward producing quick sketch schemes involving beautiful drawings without much emphasis on context.

Meanwhile, the Industrial Revolution laid open the door for mass consumption and aesthetics started becoming a criterion even for the middle class as ornamented products, once within the province of expensive craftmanship, became cheaper under machine production. Such products lacked the beauty and honesty associated with the expression of the process in the product.

The dissatisfaction with such a general situation at the turn of the twentieth century gave rise to many new lines of thought that in architecture served as precursors to Modern Architecture. Notable among these is the Deutscher Werkbund, formed in 1907 to produce better quality machine made objects. The rise of the profession of industrial design is usually placed here. Following this lead, the Bauhaus school, founded in Germany in 1919, consciously rejected history and looked at architecture as a synthesis of art, craft, and technology.

When Modern architecture first began to be practiced, it was an avant-garde movement with moral, philosophical, and aesthetic underpinnings. Truth was sought by rejecting history and turning to function as the generator of form. Architects became prominent figures and were termed masters. Later modern architecture moved into the realm of mass production due to its simplicity and economy.

However, a reductive quality began to be perceived in modern architecture by the general public from the 1960s. Some reasons cited for this are its perceived lack of meaning, sterility, ugliness, uniformity, and psychological effects.

The architectural profession responded to this partly by attempting a more populist architecture at the visual level, even if at the expense of sacrificing depth for shallowness, a direction called Postmodernism. Robert Venturi’s contention that a “decorated shed” (an ordinary building which is functionally designed inside and embellished on the outside) was better than a “duck” (a building in which the whole form and its function are considered together) gives an idea of this approach.

Another part of the profession, and also some non-architects, responded by going to what they considered the root of the problem. They felt that architecture was not a personal philosophical or aesthetic pursuit by individualists; rather it had to consider everyday needs of people and use technology to give a livable environment. The Design Methodology Movement involving people such as Chris Jones, Christopher Alexander started searching for a more inclusive process of design in order to lead to a better product. Extensive studies on areas such as behavioural, environmental, and social sciences were done and started informing the design process.

As many other concerns began to be recognised and complexity of buildings began to increase in terms of aspects such as services, architecture started becoming more multi-disciplinary than ever. Architecture now required a team of professionals in its making, an architect being one among the many, sometimes the leader, sometimes not. This is the state of the profession today. However, individuality is still cherished and sought for in the design of buildings seen as cultural symbols – the museum or fine arts centre has become a showcase for new experiments in style: today Deconstructivism, tomorrow maybe something else.


Buildings are one of the most visible productions of man, and vary greatly in design, function, and construction implementation across the globe from industrialized countries to “third world”, or developing countries. The role of the Architect also varies accordingly. The vision (or lack of) that Architects project on the society in which they practice has a profound effect on the built environment, and consequently on the people who interact with that environment. The skills of the architect are sought after in many situations ranging from complex building types such as the Skyscraper, Hospital, Stadium, Airport, etc. to less complicated project types such as commercial and residential buildings and development. Many types of projects or examples of Architecture can be seen as cultural and political symbols. Generally, this is what the public perceives as architecture. The role of the architect, though changing, has been central to the successful (and sometimes unsuccessful) design and implementation of the built environment in which we live. There is always a dialogue between society and the architect. And what results from this dialogue can be termed architecture – as a product and as a discipline.
Four architectural styles in , , including the egg-shaped . In 2004 this building won the for its architects

External links

* 0lll.com (http://www.0lll.com/lud/pages/architecture/archgallery/) – Photographs of Contemporary Architecture
* International Architecture Database archINFORM (http://www.archinform.net/)
* Architecture.com – Courtesy of the Royal Institute of British Architects (http://www.architecture.com/)
* Galinsky – People enjoying buildings worldwide (http://www.galinsky.com/)
* Global Architecture Encyclopedia – Glass Steel and Stone (http://www.glasssteelandstone.com/)
* The Great Buildings Collection

Database documentary 17th & 18th of march 2006 April 9, 2006

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At 6 o'clock in the morning, 17th of march, the draft of the database structure was finished – after a night session between london & zurich we can upload our files. So far we will upload the rough material and tag the clips with metadata.

people arriving for the workshop

1. Step was to digitize the tapes. And here we had a surprise with some of the tapes. If the date and time wasn't set on the camera we couldn't digitize with automatic start/stop detection, as date & time was the metadata written on the tape which allowed to distinguish between scenes. This is important as we save the clips as smallest possible units into the database, which is between when the camera operator pressed "start record" until the operator pressed "end record". Those tapes without date & time stamp had to be separated into clips manually.

The clips then get a specific filename: number-of-tape_part-of-tape_DTV-number-of-clip.mov (or .avi) example: 001_2_DTV- 3.mov

- number-of-tape: we numbered the tapes of each participant. This tapes will be archived at dek.spc.org – The idea behind this is that we can access the highest quality possible, if there is a wish for a higher resolution edit. In our example it's the first tape.

- part-of-tape Often there are time-code breaks. Or the camera operator continued filming on a different project. It is important to log this, as after a time code break the time code starts counting from 0 again. In order to digitize from the right position the tape has to be manually forwarded or rewinded into the part of the tape (in our example if we would be at the beginning of the tape we would have to manually forward into the second part of the tape after the first time-code break).

- DTV stands for Deptford.TV

- number-of-clip.mov (or .avi) stands for the number of the clip, .mov is a quicktime container and .avi is used by premiere

2. Now the clips needed to be transcoded into the h.264 or in our case the open x.264 codec. On linux you can use ffmpeg for transcoding, on a Windows system videora or super and on a mac OS X system isquint. Though there is an issue with the openess of this codec as there is a patent pending. For further information see http://www.nosoftwarepatents.com. 

3. The clips are uploaded and tagged with meta-data. The tagging of meta-data allows the collaborators to read about the clips of others and to see if any of the clips might be interesting for other projects.

Following tags are attached to the clips:

- filename (see point 1)

- artist

- title of the project
- place / post code (which would allow a mapping of the rough material)
- original source
- description
- transcript (if it is a longer interview or longer clip)
- rating (still needs to be coded)

The rough material is released under the creative commons open content license with which collaborators can share there footage. The first results can be looked at http://watch.deptford.tv

The user-management is based on the wordpress software in which we use the blogging function to blog our videos – in the moment the database is a vlog and vodcast – soon also an ogg stream…

Regeneration documentation 10th & 11th of march 2006 April 9, 2006

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This workshop was the production workshop. The themes which had been brainstormed over the tv hacking workshop where narrowed down. We had five groups of around 4 people shooting to the topics "boat community", "deptford sinphony", "music history deptford", "boundless.coop", "then & now", "crossfield estate" plus others who dropped in and out and shot independently on their individual topics & issues.

marino filming the thames

the view on the thames

Further information on "the boat community" project.  heng filming

Further information on "deptford synphony" project. 

Music history Deptford is an idea of bringing together the information of the music scene of deptford and offering musicians to collaborate with film-makers – to do music documentaries but also to explore deptford's music history.

Boundless – this project documents the wireless network boundless. BOUNDLESS is the broadband co-op established during 2004 to support community development of fast local internet access, inter-linking residential, business, educational, cultural and digital media communities. The first mesh nodes of the network have been installed in Deptford, South East London, where community interest has seeded action and driven progress. It draws on a wealth of local experience and enthusiasm to share resources, presenting the work, lives and times of its users.

Then & Now – about the old power station of Deptford – a collage with pictures of the area around stowage & where the power station used to be.

The project "Crossfield Estate" is looking at the architecture of the Crossfield Estate in Deptford and it's development.

TV hacking workshop 3rd / 4th of March April 9, 2006

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The Deptford.TV workshops started on the 3rd of march 2006 with TV hacking, presented by the bitnik media collective. Bitnik presented their projects and their focus on hacking media & mapping media. the TV hacking workshop picture by James Stevens

video of the tv hacking presentation
video of the q&a of the presentation

the telestreet film

Carmen started showing their mapping project where bitnik programmed a software for mapping political situations in countries and to display them on a world map. In this project they try to show how the environment influences the information show and how people communicate – the mapping project was shown at the world summit on information society in Geneva – it was done with the suport of “science et cité” – to debate the information poor & the information rich in our world.

In 2004 bitnik started to work with TV and the question of how to open up this one to many communication system to a many to many system. One starting point was with the question “how can a community make their own tv station?” and the other starting point was “how can the internet be used to achieve that?”.

Bitnik wanted to approach this experiment with the copy & paste attitude of the net generation. In TV hacking bitnik understands the internet as a tool to collect content. Bitnik started off by installing a pirate TV station by building a small broadcasting system with a range of 2km in Zurich, Switzerland

TV hacking referes to the tactical media project telestreet in Italy. Italy has a long history with tactical media because they have a very restricted television system which is control by one person: Berlusconi. They have a long history for pirate tv.

In the beginning they made pirate TV station which served the whole city – but soon they had to do a different approach, because they where easy to track. So they started to distribute over mini senders which where mashed up.

One of the first experiment was the distribution of football. Because sky had bought up all the rights for football in Italy fans could only watch it with a pay license – so telestreet started to distribute the games in two different ways: one in showing normal films on tv but as soon there was a goal they interrupted with people clapping and showed the score (of course if you liked the film more you missed something :-) and the other approach was that one guy bought a pay satellite dish and they re-broadcasted this signal to the neigbourhood.

Another project is van gogh television, trying to make television interactive they used, telephone, fax and modem – and played the game tik,tak,toe – they used also the news ticker which now days is used by almost an television station. In this new ticker they showed the television number and people could call up and participate. they distributed over satelite.

The third project influenced the work of bitinik was paper tigger television. A new york based collective which produces videos distributed to community television station arround the states. During the 91 gulf war they distributed a different view on the war. the first idea was let’s collect material from people and make a broadcast for several hours. But bitnik quickly realised that there where not enough people providing content. Bitnik decided therefor to search for content – do allow the community to search for content over the internet

Bitnik created the copyfight system a simple enginge see – copyfight allows you to upload clips to the server but also to search for clips over filesharing systems and to program them into the system which distributes over an antenna. In Switzerland it is not as big as a problem as the aerial distribution is mostly not used anymore – most of the tv distribution goes over cable – in comparison to the uk where freeview is coming.

Bitnik started experimenting with the system and started using it for parties as well during wich we used a bunch of tv’s in a whole house and distributed to all the rooms.

Stopp gap tv is a project which uses the concept of gap fillers on television. With the copyfight system bitnik didn’t had the producers to make a program – but bitnik also didn’t wanted to do a television program – bitnik where more interested in the research on tv and internet – they found out that in Switzerland the experimental TV is only during late night – as per example in the UK there are the game shows – so they realised that the night gap is the interaction time – bitnik was surprised on the big amount of people using this late night programs – bitnik build a roboter with a camera on the top of it transmitting data to the television station – which is driven by solar energy – on top we had the solar lights giving the power – the robot was recieving sms text send by mobil phone and the user could direct the robot and see the movement on the copyfight television.

The copyfight system uses also sources from the internet which can be downloaded to the server – you can make your own playlist – the idea is a self editorial system – a system which is open, the user connects to the web site and programs the system. Per example you can use the prellinger archive – per example “night of the living death” the zombie movie is in public domain – you can take it legal and distribute it. Copyfight is not a do it yourself system it is a compose it yourself system – three steps: 1. you find the clips per example over file sharing system – 2. you add metadata and add it to the database – 3. and last you distribute it over the copyfight system.

Bitinik thinks that the source of program produced by public television should be open, as the public paid for it – the BBC is running a project called creative archive – also have a look at free culture

On the second day the 4th of march 2006 the workshop participants split up into groups and brainstormed what topics they could document, film, produce for the next workshop, the regeneration documentation.

please also see our brainstorming session

Luke Hearn’s comment (workshop participant), quoted from archive.org wayback machine::

RE: generation collaboration

Running as part of the Node London’s ‘Deptford TV’ event cluster “Documentary Database” on Saturday was the third and final in a series of workshops, exploring audio-visual documentation of the regeneration process in Deptford.

Located at SPC media lab (previously Deckspace HQ), at Borough Hall, Greenwich, this has been host to the do-it-yourself media for over a decade, long before the Internet existed, as we know it today.

Run by Adnan Hadzi, an artist/curator and PhD student, the workshop is dedicated to the idea of bringing a community of individuals together who are interested in taking part in the democratisation of the media making process whereby we can all subvert the user/producer paradigm.

Consisting of mainly local film-makers, activists and students interested in documenting the so-called “regeneration” process, the idea behind the “Documentary Database” workshop specifically was to transfer this extensive (uncut) video documentation to a database on a server (provided by the Boundless.coop network) so that it is freely available (at watch.deptford.tv) under a Creative Commons “share-alike” license (permitting others to distribute derivative works only under a license identical to the license that governs your work).

As always not only is the project focused on user-based collaboration, but it is also enabled by collaborating with other artists and art groups. For instance the web-based software is custom built by collaborators bitnik. And of course the master of all things wireless, James Stevens is involved.

It will be interesting to see what kind of output this online material has. By the sound of things Adnan is very open to the possibilities, and not very specific about how this might work. Maybe because he’s not really sure yet himself, or perhaps because it is the process of sharing and collaboration that are more important to this project than the outcome.

The Deckspace space is a phenomenon which anyone having even the remotest interest in digital arts scene should be aware of. Check the Node.L calendar to see when the next Deptford TV event cluster event takes place.