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Ever since the second iteration of the MESH web site, in 1998, there has been screen space set aside for the general public to post comments, thoughts, whatever. It was called the graffiti space, and it was intended to allow some spontaneity and disturbance to an otherwise organized site showcasing the firm's work. A year later this space was joined with a webcam space that beamed images of the office to the outside world. 

At the same time we envisioned the site as a stack of cards, where each card was a project. The cards could be sorted into categorized piles, and visitors navigated through the cards via "holes" -- portals to the next card. This was high-concept, executed entirely in Flash (which was fairly bold at the time). The concept was a new kind of space - both 2-D (the cards) and 3-D (the cards arranged in space). 

By about 2003, however, Flashy sites for design firms had become de rigeur, as everyone tried to out-interface each other. But really it was already about the blogosphere. Steven Johnson and I were teaching a class called "Groupthink" at NYU's ITP about how ideas were spreading through a network of individual blogs.

We turned 180º the other direction and in 2006 launched a site with no graphics or animation. Using recent javascript innovations, we retained the idea of a pageless web site -- no tedious navigation back and forth between pages -- but made every packet of images and text about a project into a post. The entire site showing dozens of projects was a big feed. The main idea here was to allow for a more spontaneous site: instead of waiting until a project was done then presenting it formally on the site, we could post incremental updates for a fresher, up-to-the-minute site. Also, we could accommodate posts not connected directly to firm work -- about other architecture, personal experiences.

This has worked well for the most part. But we have felt inhibited from posting ephemera because they displace the clearly important function of displaying our work. In the end, screenspace and attention are limited. Also since that launch we have the establishment of proprietary platforms like Facebook and Twitter, which serve an important function of connecting people in sophisticated ways.

Thus we are re-organizing the MESH internet presence in an experimental way. We are reworking the site based on a standard CMS (Wordpress), making it lighter and easier to maintain, with a cleaner visual design using the standard JQuery library. MESH has a page on Facebook, which enables friends and clients to receive updates through that system, that is connected to the new site. 

MESHING is a space for me to post more personal thoughts and observations. By moving this function off the main site, my commentary on Minecraft won't compete with a clear presentation of MESH's work. I still enjoy the idea of this competition -- that a firm site can be a little noisy and spontaneous -- and we will see if there is a way to keep some of that sensibility as the experiment unfolds. 

I plan to focus my posts on the intersection of physical and digital space -- both of which can be architectural, in that both can be designed to accommodate programs of human activities (productive, social, educational, etc). And -- this is a big topic -- I will talk about how technological change transforms culture. Aesthetic innovation in art, music, architecture usually responds to specific technology. I enjoy the tracing of these connections.

-- Eric Liftin, principal, MESH Architectures

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