On the Spline

On the Spline: A Brief History of the Computational Curve

Alastair Townsend



(Article Excerpt)

Some architects herald the adoption of freeform curvilinear design and the utilization of computer-aided manufacturing as cutting edge, or even avant-garde. While it may be so within the confines of architectural design and discourse, there is, in fact, nothing essentially new about these technologies. In comparison to our counterparts in other fields, architects are, in fact, behind the curve. This article seeks to addresses this deficit of knowledge by summarizing the ingenious development of the computational curve, which occurred in other industries. It’s a fascinating story. Any designer who draws curves with only a few clicks of the mouse, may benefit from knowing how this technology – which we now take for granted – was developed.


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