Winter Reading

Twelve book recommendations for winter reading.

Below are links to some new, old, and upcoming publications that address some of the topics we’ve discussed throughout the semester. Only a few of these books are on the syllabus reading list. Keep reading…

1. The Ethics of Invention by Sheila Jasanoff, 2016.

2. Dreamscapes of Modernity: Sociotechnical Imaginaries and the Fabrication of Power by Sheila Jasanoff, 2015.

3. Signal. Image. Architecture by John May, upcoming 2019.

4. The Social Construction of Technological Systems by Bijker, Hughes and Pinch, 1987.

5. An Inquiry into Modes of Existence: An Anthropology of the Moderns by Bruno Latour, Reprint, 2018.

6. In the Swarm: Digital Prospects by  Byung-Chul Han, 2017.

7. Whiplash: How to Survive Our Faster Future by Ito and Howe, 2016.

8. Being Digital by Nicholas Negroponte, 1996.

8.5 The Architecture Machine: Toward a More Human Environment by Nicholas Negroponte, 1973. This book is out of print. If you find an affordable copy, buy it.

9. The Architect as Worker: Immaterial Labor, the Creative Class, and the Politics of Design by Peggy Deamer, 2015.

10. Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari, 2018.

11. Thinking Without a Banister: Essays in Understanding, 1953-1975 by Hannah Arendt, edited by Jerome Kohn.

12. Broad Band: The Untold Story of the Women Who Made the Internet by Claire Evans, 2018.

 

 

wk 16: Final Exam

The final exam consists of three essay questions. Answer each question with a minimum of 500 words. Each question is based on readings, lectures, and in-class discussions. The questions are designed to test your ability to link multiple weeks of course content. Be specific with your answers and demonstrate knowledge of the issues discussed during the 15 weeks of class. REVIEW your writing before uploading your final exam to Box.

  1. Download the Word file and rename accordingly: FA18_Arch522_Lastname_Final Exam
  2. Fill out the information at the top of the page.
  3. Answer each question in the space provided.
  4. Review your answers and Upload your Word file before Wednesday, December 12th at 5:00pm.

You must use specific examples discussed in class to support your answers.

Question 1: Explain the distinction between work and labor made by Hannah Ardent in The Human Condition (1958), and discuss how this distinction affects contemporary robotic labor practices.

Question 2: According to Francesca Hughes, how does Error influence processes of materialization in architecture? Explain these processes in the context of at least one of the phenomenological practices discussed in class.

Question 3: In a 1982 interview with Paul Rabinow, Michel Foucault suggested that there are three domains of work slipping away from architects. Discuss the relationship between these three domains and Neri Oxman’s work with the Mediated Matter research group.

 

wk 15: Post-industrial Materials

FA18_Arch 521_wk 15_Post-industrial Materials

mediated matter lab
Neri Oxman and Deskriptiv. Wanderers Computational Wearables. 2013

Today’s lecture is about post-industrial material practices and the work of Neri Oxman with the Mediated Matter research group in the Media Lab at MIT.

Design at the Intersection of Technology and Biology by Neri Oxman

“Volume 87 (2017) of Architectural Design (AD) proposes an approach to construction that is not about automation or replacing a specific human/robot task, but rather focuses on autonomy, the ability of materials, components or even processes to come together independently and have agency. This does not only mean autonomous robots assembling buildings; the future of construction might include insect fabrication (see Neri Oxman), smart components that can assemble themselves, or collaborative structures with swarms of people and new material phenomena. This suggests a completely new model, that of autonomous assembly and collective construction by humans, robots, and materials.”

wk 13: Ensamble Studio

ES_CYCLOPEAN_HOUSE_Prototype_07
Ensamble Studio. Cyclopean House, Beam Prototype. 2015

Following our conversation about Francesca Hughes’ Architecture of Error, we discussed the work of Ensamble Studio in the context of the phenomenological practice-based approach suggested in Log 42: Disorienting Phenomenology, edited by Bryan Norwood.

Ensamble Studio’s practice is divided in two parallel projects that address the relationship between Form and Matter through rigorous construction research.

One project is on-site (see Structures of Landscape and Ca’n Terra)

The other project is off-site (see Cyclopean House and Reader’s House). This work is driven by their founding role in the MIT POPlab and the Ensamble Fabrica in Madrid.

wk 13: Error Aversion

FA18_Arch 521_wk 13_The Role of Error

FA18_Arch 521_page 7
Loading test photograph from Fokker factory showing Junker’s influence of the thick airfoil with a plywood stressed skin. 1919. In Francesca Hughes’, The Architecture of Error. 2014

“Architectural culture’s very particular construction precision and fear of error constitute a powerful undertow in all its relations to the process of materialization.”- Francesca Hughes, The Architecture of Error.

wk 13: Cyclopean Constructions

Brandon Clifford-The Cannibals Cookbook-2018
Brandon Clifford. The Cannibal’s Cookbook: Mining Myths of Cyclopean Constructions. 2017

Excerpt from Printed Matter, Inc.

“The Cannibal’s Cookbook violently consumes the body of past cyclopean constructions. The cookbook assembles, re-packages, and offers this latent knowledge for your contemporary consumption. It is a manual for the hungry, for those who are not satiated by the careless building practices of the present. With one foot in the past and another in the present, the cookbook bridges the realities of our ancestors and ourselves. We propose a series of architectural ‘recipes’ after dining on this body of past expertise. The recipes are deciphered from ancient cyclopean masonry systems, but with a contemporary twist. They cannibalize leftover debris—building rubble that typically stuffs our landfills—to fabricate new systems.” – Matter Design

wk 13: Matter and Materiality

L0013028 Robert Hooke, Micrographia, needle-point.
Robert Hooke. Micrographia, Needle-point. 1665

There is no required reading for Wednesday, November 14th. We will discuss Matter and Materiality in the context of Francesca Hughes’ scholarly work. In preparation for Wednesday’s lecture and discussion you need to WATCH the lecture, The Architecture of Error: Matter, Measure and Misadventures of Precision by Francesca Hughes. This work is at the center of many of the electronic errors and issues you have encountered working on the Revit Cube files.

Francesca Hughes’ work frames the transition from theoretical media issues based in representation to processes of materialization; from how things are represented to how things are made. This transition is the context for the rest of the semester. During the next three weeks we will discuss issues of materialization in relation to the following practices:  1. Ensamble Studio, 2. Neri Oxman, 3. Gramazio Kohler4. Matter Design

wk 12: Phenomenal Numbers

FA18_Arch 521_wk12_Phenomenal Numbers

Website
Eladio Dieste. Metodos de Calculo – Calculation Methods. 1996

 

How does computational space become improvisational in nature – open, flexible, and responsive to intuition? How is this space tied to the effects of materialization without predicting every outcome? These two questions are at the crux of some of the most polemical aspects of Eladio Dieste’s practice. Next week we will discuss the relationship between Matter and Materiality.

One of the dangers of computers is the laziness and the tremendous mechanical labor that is required to make anything work is distancing us from the substance of reality. We tend to simplify and impoverish our concepts and thoughts so that they will fit into the mold that will “run on its own”. For example, it is easy to program the calculation for the classic skeleton of an important building with columns. However, it is not so simple if we move to the solution, which could be more suitable, to substitute it for diaphragms. (Eladio Dieste, 1996)

What is lost if you use sophisticated ovens to melt cheese, and occasionally burn popcorn? What is lost if you drive your Ferrari at 25mph to Hyvee?

wk 11: Midterm Exam

The take-home midterm exam consists of three short-essay questions. Answer each question with a minimum of 500 words. Each question is based on readings, lectures, and in-class discussions. The questions are designed to test your ability to link multiple weeks of course content. Be specific with your answers and demonstrate knowledge of the issues discussed during the first 10 weeks of class. You will be provided with a link to an examination folder on Box. REVIEW your writing before uploading your midterm exam to Box.

  1. Download the Word file and rename accordingly: FA18_Arch522_Lastname_MidtermExam
  2. Fill out the information at the top of the page.
  3. Answer each question in the space provided.
  4. Review your answers and Upload your Word file before Wednesday, November 6th at 10:00am.

You must use specific examples discussed in class to support your answers.

Question 1: Describe the differences between the “three ways of making” outlined by Mario Carpo in the Alphabet and the Algorithm (Week 2 Reading), and discuss how these differences affect the role of authority in architecture.

Question 2: What is the historical context of Scientific Management and how is it related to contemporary Building Information Modelling processes (Week 3 Lecture)?

Question 3: Define simulation and explain how its architectural role has changed across these three different technical ages: Scientific, Industrial, and Digital (Week 8 Lecture)?