My life from before the wave function collapse

February 18, 2013

Once upon a time I was an Architecture and Urbanism student at TUDelft. By the second year it was obvious I was never going to be a great architect so instead I started developing a parallel skill-set that at the time was rather new and exciting; programming. My third year was a disaster as all the time and effort that was supposed to be spend on reading books about globalization and monument and restoration law was instead spend on learning how to write RhinoScript. Nobody was teaching programming in 2003 at the Bouwkunde faculty, at least not in any meaningful fashion.

When it was time to pick a graduation topic I decided to try and combine programming with Urbanism, which was a bit of a tall order since both my programming and Urbanism skills were pretty much crap. Still, I found a teacher who was happy to supervise and spend the better part of two years locked in my room typing away on a thesis text + software. Eventually it all went sour when the faculty demanded I do a load of preliminary work as I had deviated from the standard track while I was almost ready with the thesis as a whole. Not having the stomach for this sort of bureaucratic arm-wrestling I decided to leave TUDelft and start working for Robert McNeel & Associates (initially in Andy leBihan’s Finland based office) instead. Thus began my career in software development and thus ended my career in Architecture.

Yesterday while trawling through an old backup folder I found the semi-finished thesis. It has managed to survive two laptop hard disc crashes and just in case it won’t survive the third, here it is.


5 Responses to “My life from before the wave function collapse”

  1. Yi Lü Says:

    All Roads Lead to Rome, obviously you made the right choice, and make the life of us better!

  2. Thanks for the thesis. I’m enjoying the reading (I’ve printed it ;)). Think some day about publish it (via self publishing systems like Daniel Shiffman did with his Nature of Code)…the text is an interesting sketch about a problem that architects has always had: represent the reality and ideas to evaluate and study them and how new tools give us “new” and amazing possibilities. Why is a guy studying physical material properties well considered in architecture circle and the one who chooses to work with code and numbers is a freak or is deviating from the interesting topic? Chemical composition of concrete is more or as abstract as code applied to planning.

    For sure I will recommend it to my students and I will suggest to Architecture School library to print one copy :)

    As Yi Lu says: thanks for choose this path…But I’ll always wonder how you could had contributed to architecture from inside ;)

    • David Rutten Says:

      I no longer subscribe to everything written in that thesis. If I were to republish I would also have to rewrite significant portions and probably rewrite the plug-in that used to be part of the thesis. But I’d rather spend my time working on a different book, which doesn’t seem to be moving forward much…. sigh.

  3. It’s perfectly reasonable, lot of years, experiences, etc., have passed from 2006 in your life. It is what it is, but I think that the text and idea inside these pages pushes students to think or look the relation architecture-tools in a interesting way. Grasshopper is a tool made by a guy that was thinking about to become an architect…an it is an amazing tool that use thousands of architects and students around the world (perhaps you know a closer number). I think that is not about to become “professional code writers” per se and write “THE TOOL” but to be able to look established tools critically (GH included :P) and create some helpers to find a better professional/personal development.

    In the book “Processing. A Programming Handbook for Visual Designers and Artist.” there is an amazing interview with Erik van Blokland (a guy that has been working designing typography for a long time using code). In the interview Erik says:

    “In any creative discipline, the tools influence the process and, indirectly, the results. We try to be aware of this influence, and if it is something we don’t like we try to change it.”

    I’m curious. What is that book about? (if it could be known :P)

    • David Rutten Says:

      It’s about computational geometry. No theory, no specific focus on architecture. Just facts and practicalities. Things you /should/ know about numbers and spaces and curves and surfaces and topology if you are programming with shapes.

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