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  • Continuity, Complexity and Emergence

    What is the real for digital designers?

    Text: Antoine Picon

    Jean Nouvel: Arab Világ Intézete, Párizs, 1987

    Jean Nouvel: Arab World Institute, Paris, 1987

    Reality versus the real – despite their difference, these two words are often confused with one another. Their apparent interchangeability calls for an immediate clarification. In this article, A. Picon will distinguish between reality and the real in the field of architecture in a way reminiscent of Immanuel Kant’s distinction, exposed in his Critique of Pure Reason, between phenomena and noumena, that is between objects and events as we perceive them and objects and events as they truly are. Here, reality will be about the world as perceived, whereas the real will designate the world envisaged independently from us, or as the original source of what appears to us. Contrary to Kant who postulated the unknowable character of noumena, designers tend to believe that it is possible to express some of their properties, at least in architectural terms. Whereas philosophy has to stop at some point, because of the limitations inherent to language; architecture claims that it can carry on thanks to its intimate relation with matter.