Parametric Zoning Envelope


Academic research on parametric zoning, concentrated on relationship-oriented de/regulation of the built environment. ┬áRelated course taught at Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning + Preservation, 2006 – 2007.

The existing practice of city-wide zoning (originated in New York City in 1916 and exported around the world (witness the tower-on-a-base typology even in Dubai)) attempts to define architectural potential as a set of static parts – modular components. Rather than satisfying a range of possible conditions, the collection of zones repeatedly fails to produce the effects prioritized, even as new zones are generated. The ubiquity of the “special” portends this failure as zones lose any universal ability and become merely a lowest common denominator from which specialization can occur.

This ongoing project seeks to design zoning mechanisms capable of generating all prioritized effects. Success is satisfied when the zone is capable of generating its own specificity. To accomplish this, the strategy of parametrics is deployed. The field of possibility is dynamic – the logic of the system develops recursively. Feedback loops and corruption become part of the system, not foreign to it.