This lecture presents a body of work and thinking that is based on a computational understanding of the discrete part or bit – pieces that are as scalable, accessible and versatile as digital data. Gilles Retsin’s work proposes that a digital form of assembly, based on parts, contains the greatest promise for a complex, open-ended, adaptable architecture. This approach capitalises on the digital economy and automation, with the potential of the digital to democratise production and increase access. This lecture suggests that the digital not only has deep consequences for how we design and produce architecture, but also that it is first and foremost a new system of production with economic, social and political consequences that need to be understood - such as the global housing crisis and the impact of accelerated automation on labour.
Gilles Retsin is a London based architect and designer whose work is is interested in the impact of computation on the core principles of architecture – the bones rather than the skin. His practice works internationally and has developed numerous provocative proposals for buildings on a range of scales. His work has been acquired by the Centre Pompidou in Paris, and he has exhibited internationally in museums such as the Museum of Art and Design in New York among others. He is Program Director of the B.Pro Architectural Design (AD) M.Arch course at the Bartlett School of Architecture in London. Gilles Retsin studied in Belgium, Chile and the UK, where he obtained a masters from the Architectural Association’s in London. Prior to founding his own practice, he worked in Switzerland as an architect with Christian Kerez.