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Sabin Visit Recap

April 12, 2011

Some interesting things she talked about, especially in relation to this class (feel free to add more if I missed anything):

Of course, she’s using data – very complex and significant data – to generate form.

Scale was something she focused on and said was very important: it’s not a direct translation of often beautiful micro-scale images into macro-scale form, but rather a transformation of the behavior and processes evident there into other material constructs.  Architecture finds itself in the most mature form of this efficient use of scale.

She also discussed the relevance of the human body and how we see (and in turn visualize) the intangible and how we interact with data: “personalized architecture.”

The concept of combining architecture/design with more medical/scientific fields was something we brought up in our questions.  Communication is the first step in forming this symbiotic relationship, and then realizing the benefits for either party.  In short, new tools and ways of thinking were brought back to either field through these collaborations.

For Medicine: design as inspiration for personalized medicine, simulation of dynamic biological systems via design, and using design to discover new cell-matrix relationships.

For Design: thinking about the context and ecology of building design, developing human-scale material systems, and developing novel methodologies in computational design.

The Body Blanket and Fourier Carpet were also very interesting and relevant to the class because it was a very personalized and creative way to visualize the data, moving beyond just colors, or sound, into tangible weaving.

She also discussed the “slowness” of visualization of biological systems which allowed her and the team to see something new.  This might be a helpful concept in our attempts at unearthing new concepts through visualization.

Also just thinking about new ways to see things and the development of people’s ability to visualize, as in the reluctance of many scientists to accept her way manner of looking at things.  Visualization is a way of probing new questions and potential hypotheses: being able to interact and actually wander through (sometimes literally) the data set.  It offers a jumping off point for new questions.

Visualization of complex data has also, as she said, been a bridge for a lot of fields to come together in different ways.

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