farzinfarzin investigates the means by which objects, sites and systems acquire cultural value and examines the representation of value in architectural form. In what unexpected ways might architecture engage questions of history, preservation, and political contingency? Can a method of intervention in these matters be learned from the hairy logic of computational processes?  The studio addresses these questions through the design of spaces, software, and media. 

farzinfarzin was founded in 2008 by Farzin Lotfi-Jam. Lotfi-Jam (b. Tehran) is faculty in the graduate school of architecture at Columbia University and holds advanced degrees from Columbia University and RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia. He is a Fellow of the Akademie Schloss Solitude in Stuttgart and was previously a Sanders Fellow at the University of Michigan. His research has been funded by the Veski organization and the Graham Foundation, and has been collected by the Centre Pompidou in Paris. He has been exhibited at the Storefront for Art and Architecture, the Het Nieuwe Instituut, the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, AIGA/NY Annex, the Oslo Architecture Triennale, the Venice Architecture Biennale, and elsewhere. 







Designed and developed with v-a.nyc 

Hairy Value: Hairy Balls


Taubman College Gallery, Ann Arbor, 2014.

Research assistant: Liyi Zhu


The current computational, or digital moment in architecture belongs to a long history of architecture’s relationship to systems theory, complexity and permutational processes in the postwar period. Today, algorithms in service of other fields are borrowed, spatialized, and their capacities tested as architectures. What’s at stake is the question of form’s relationship to meaning. Is form hermetic, contingent, or open and permeable?


Custom software has been developed to conduct a series of experiments using borrowed algorithms. These algorithms are generally used for their capacities to organize systems. Some produce emergent organization, some deal with physical or material rules, and some expand on abstract mathematical truths. What is of interest is the translation of the organizational capacity into a form-generating algorithm. It is not so much about reification as about embodiment. The initial question that these experiments addresses is: what’s hairy about the balls?


It’s not just that they’re complex, and that they start to break down form, that they perform a different kind of seriality then we normally think about with permutational, parametric, or serial logics, given each one is a type of translation from organization into form. What’s interesting is the difference among the translations, not the seriality, and what this does to form. It’s not just translating algorithms from systems logic into form, and it’s not just making form into system, it’s discovering what circulates between the two. In evaluating the outcomes, some additional questions arise: do they work as purely aesthetic objects; do they work as metaphors for complexities; do they solve problems in and of themselves; are they merely representations of a multi-directional approach to problem solving; or are they just aesthetic artifacts of process? In moving towards an answer, what is clear is that a Hairy Ball is not just a tool, but something possessing more attitude, which when poked, pokes back.


<<Algorithms create form in architecture, but are disconnected from meaning, that said, here’s a bunch of experiments, devoid of meaning.>>

Extract from exhibition catalog.

Extract from exhibition catalog.

After Giger, before Hernan.

Left: Questionable, Butt; right: Bomb of the Sea.

Left: Chicken of the Sea; right: Gaurdi Gaudi _a.

Left: Petri Pubes; right: Touchy, touchy.

The Ring.