Machine Learning

Beyond Digital has an epochal story to tell.

Opera del Duomo Jared Nangle

To suss out the future of architecture beyond the wave of automation currently sweeping the field, Mario Carpo turns in his latest book to a genealogy of avant-garde bricklayers. He begins his epic tale with the Renaissance celebrity architect Filippo Brunelleschi, perhaps the closest embodiment of Adolf Loos’s famous quip that “the architect is a bricklayer who’s studied Latin.” Then there’s Frank Bunker Gilbreth, the wily American brickmason who studied the scientific method. Rounding out the cast are Fabio Gramazio and Matthias Kohler, two Swiss architectural researchers who began setting robotic arms to the task of piling up intricate brick walls at the height of computational enthusiasm in the early 2000s.

Among the greatest charms of Carpo’s book is his pairing of poignant historical details with careful analysis sourced from media theory and science and technology studies. Parsing the differing attitudes of Brunelleschi and his conte…

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