posted by Chris Chalmers
First off, her are some photos of plant patterns. They have a clear logic of cellular aggregation that can be recognized in a lot of contemporary digital design. Whether surface subdivision or incremental accretion, the logic seems to be that each element repeats at a slight angle, scale and displacement from the last. Living forms are often thought to be the result of a “bottom-up” process (each piece created according to local rules) but these examples still yield a regular pattern that could easily have been “top down” in the sense that each piece was arranged according to an over-arching plan or grid. (not to suggest “intelligent design”! This a blog about architecture, not theology).
Next, the following are photos of rocks found along the bay shore in San Francisco. They are an example of a pattern created by the nonlinear process of sedimentation and erosion. Their pattern is free of the gridlike organization shown in the living patterns above, yet suggests a decipherable logic that could prove applicable to an algorithmic process. Notice the heirarchy of cells: groups of similar size and shape organized by the layers of harder rock.