Aalto University Digital Design Laboratory, }ADD{

Rituals have had the capacity to combine the power of raw mutilation with highly sophisticated formal understandings of organization. The instruments of rituals have also featured a saturated and excessive ornament. Hernan Diaz Alonso argues that Architecture – with a capital A – has been developed as rituals over its history. There is another history and evolution of rituals in relation to the bodies and their mutilations, human and animal alike. These misfits produced some of the most contradictory conditions of beauty and horror. Diaz Alonso is intrigued by the capability of the grotesque and the horrific to produce beauty.


“The digital domain and the computer territory are not a series of tools, it is an intellectual and ideological apparatus. What software and technology you choose to work with has ethical implications. So it is not a question of what the tool can do for you, it is more about a partnership with a cultural machine. I am still stuck in a kind of transition from analog to digital, but the younger students are further embedded in the partnership.”
–HERNAN DIAZ ALONSO


Sur, 2005, MoMA/PS1 pavilion in New York. Image courtesy of Xefirotarch.

Selfridges X-installation. Image courtesy of Xefirotarch.

Alessi – Instruments of Manner. Images courtesy of Xefirotarch.

Hernan Diaz Alonso is the principal and founder of the design practice Xefirotarch, based in Los Angeles. Considered one of the most influential voices of his generation, Diaz Alonso is the Distinguished Professor of Architecture and the Graduate Thesis Coordinator at SCI-Arc. He was recently honored by Yale University with the Louis I. Kahn Visiting Assistant Professorship of Architectural Design for fall 2010. Diaz Alonso has lectured extensively at major institutions around the world and his architecture has received numerous awards and been displayed in both architecture and art exhibitions.