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Oximoron is a research thesis by Luca Pedrielli in the field of computational aesthetics through the application of topology optimization strategies for a skyscraper design in Shenzhen (China); the figure of speech that combines contradictory terms better describes the thesis subject: the erosion, a sort of creative destruction, the construction of space through matter subtraction.

The whole design process, from ideation to engineering, orbits around the Soft Kill Option (SKO), a mathematical method used to search the optimum structure topology in given conditions. The process allows to understand and build simulation models of (usually stress based) energy distribution in a dynamically balanced system; like the ones visible in nature, tafoni. Differently from its usual application method SKO was not used in a reductive approach, that is as a problem-solving search algorithm within a precisely predefined boundary condition in search of an “optimum” structure; rather, the SKO potential and embedded rationality has instead been exploited as a device to map the territory of aesthetic.

The non-linear nature of the topology optimization process does not allow predictions on morphology and behavior given the initial conditions, but its convergence enables the recording of results to build catalogs and trace possible behavioral patterns and tendencies. The final outcome does not call for or grasp to an aesthetic of classic beauty and balance, but tries to investigate the aesthetic output and affects of a process that, thanks to its systemic and intrinsically rational nature is able to generate outcomes of increasing intricacy and complexity where singularities coexist without contradiction or mutual exclusion.

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