Understanding Entropy (with Sheep)
Here is a wonderfully succinct and apprehensible explanation of entropy — which I learned was nothing more than the probabilistic inevitability of macroscopic systems to approach a state of homogeneity, posited by the second law of thermodynamics.
In other words:
"The mystery is, at the level of atoms and molecules, each of these processes are reversible. But when we get to bigger collections of atoms, a kind of one-way street emerges — a macroscopic irreversibility arises from microscopically reversible parts. Things spontaneously happen in the direction of increasing entropy, never in the opposite direction.
"Now we know why. There’s no microscopic law telling any particle which direction to go, just like there’s no shepherd telling the sheep where to go in our imaginary farm. It’s just that there are more ways to spread energy around, and fewer ways to keep energy confined. Increasing entropy is highly likely, decreasing it is basically impossible. It’s just stuff obeying the laws of chance."
Many people are familiar with this debate between the two eminent architects at the GSD in 1982 because Alexander excoriates Eisenman for "fucking up the world" by intentionally introducing discord with his architecture and ideas. In fact, Alexander actually uses the language twice: "People who believe as you do," he says, "are really fucking up the whole profession of architecture by propagating these beliefs ... The fact is that we as architects are entrusted with the creation of that harmony in the world."
Eisenman defends himself by arguing that architecture ought to reflect the metaphysical position that things, are, in his view, "not all right." This counterpoint, he argues, serves as "moral imperative" to offset Alexander's vision of harmony. "Because I exist," he proclaims, "you can go along and understand your need for harmony, but do not say that I am being irresponsible or ... screwing up the world ... because I would not want to have to defend myself as a moral imperative for you."
"Don't you think there is enough anxiety at present," Alexander questions. " Do you really think we need to manufacture more anxiety in the form of buildings?"
The debate distills critical distinctions between the two architects' approach to building and lays bare the foundations of architecture in metaphysics and ethics. The full text is below. I compiled the PDF from source material here.
If that debate seems a little one sided you can read an 2004 interview with Eisenman on Archinect here, (That's what I've tried to do in Berlin. That's what I've tried to do with myself, with my work. I don't want a label. I don't want to be either good or bad, right or wrong, left or right, I am one of the most outsider of all the insiders. I mean, a lot of people say, you teach at Princeton, you teach at Yale, but I never had tenure at those institutions. I never wanted tenure at those institutions. But I'm not yet a maverick.) or read a 2016 retrospective on Eisenman on ArchDaily here.
Here you will find a collection of material, ranging from technical data to white papers to theory, which has influenced my thinking.