Rhythm – a movement, fluctuation, or variation marked by the regular recurrence or natural flow of related elements
Syncopation – a temporary, unexpected disturbance or interruption of the regular flow of rhythm
Atrophy – a partial or complete wasting away or progressive decline
The architecture of movement, defined by Patrik Schumacher, is a rhythmic, creative movement identifiable through a field’s negative definition of space as well as the deviation from the algorithmically compartmentalized space.
There is undeniable rhythm in the way we move, both as individuals and as a group. But Schumacher brings out the idea that the areas free of movement, or the negative space, plays a part in moderating movement. Both areas with movement and areas without movement are part of a field. They work together and play off each other to create this field that is adapting and changing as movement density and direction changes.
This field has an objective. To keep things simple for now, we can say in Los Angeles, the objective is for density to move as quickly and efficiently as possible. But density in Los Angeles is constantly increasing, decreasing, separating, reforming, and reconfiguring, on various scales. There will be disruptions in density or amassing of density depending on the situation.
As these deviations in the rhythm of movement arise, space becomes relative as all space, including deviant spaces, work together and become a part of the field.
As Patrik Schumacher puts in, “Space is empty. Fields are full, as if filled with a fluid medium. We might think of liquids in motion, structured by radiating waves, laminal flows, and spiraling eddies. Swarms have also served as paradigmatic analogues for the field-concept: swarms of buildings that drift across the landscape. There are no platonic, discrete figures or zones with sharp outlines. Within fields only regional field qualities matter: biases, drifts, gradients, and perhaps conspicuous singularities like radiating centres. Deformation does no longer spell the breakdown of order but the lawful inscription of information.”
In the One North Masterplan Diagram, rhythm is the offset and splayed white lines of movement that form a certain pattern. Syncopation is the deviations or deformations from those white lines into white masses, or an increase in density. Atrophy is the black space that completes the field, facilitating the rhythm of movement but also facilitating the deviations of mass by deteriorating its own space.
In the Wool Thread Model, rhythm is the initial grid of threads. Syncopation is the fusion of threads in certain areas that thicken the threads. Atrophy is the pockets of white space that deteriorates itself to facilitate the path of the threads and fusion threads.
In the context of this thesis, rhythm is the movement of density in the form of swarm biology. Syncopation is the scattered, dense sprawl of Los Angeles, the high volume of traffic, the dense path of mega-infrastructure, and the fringe-to-core movement of class and cultures. Atrophy is the programmable matter, the logic of space and structures that facilitate movement of density and adapts to the variables of syncopation.
How can we use rhythm, syncopation, and atrophy as operations for design?