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ARCH 509 – Becoming Digital


Architecture is always becoming digital. To become digital is to exist in a digital world. It is an ontological state that tacitly recognizes pervasive technology, computational logic, and digital aesthetics as the background condition to everyday life. Network technologies reshape both our surroundings, and also us - as both designers and users. As designers, we work in teams, with experts from other fields, and with tools that imbricate legions of programmers, algorithms, and bandwidth. Design is a collaboration of people and technology. We labor within an ecology of media that defines not only how we work, but increasingly how we think, behave, and relate to one another. If buildings are plugged in, then so are we.

Reflecting on the status of the digital in contemporary architecture demands renewed critical attention towards the ways architects work and the products of our labor. Our methods of design are evermore connected on a computational level to our methods of dissemination, communication, and social networking, and indeed to those of our culture at large. This nascent condition presents new possibilities for architectural speculation, representation, and for our discipline’s potential impact in an increasingly digital world. Becoming Digital serves as an introduction to the pressing concerns sparked by the embeddedness of architecture and design in ubiquitous networks of digital technology. This course will include lectures, readings, discussions, field trips, and guest presentations, each probing broad and fundamental questions about design in the digital age. Together we will listen, discuss, investigate, and experience. Our goal will be digital literacy and ethics; the former characterized by a broad understanding of how technology works, its inherent biases, and its effect on people, and the latter a commitment to a more healthful, equitable, and just world encouraged by design. 


Thu 8:30-11:30am 1360 A&AB


Ellie Abrons