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ARCH 509 – QUANTITY: Accounting for materials


We are in a time governed by quantity where both excess and scarcity are prevailing conditions. How much or how little of any given thing defines its character as well as its politic. In this seminar we will investigate this renewed urgency in tracing and visualizing amounts by unitizing the material world around us. From how many tiles are used in a building, to their material extraction costs, to the environmental footprint of their transport….we will focus on material supply chains while also attempting to account for the immaterial aspects that make our surroundings. We will have a transcalar approach to this research, spanning from the territorial to the architectural to the chemical in order to render explicit the many variables, the incidentals, the amount of matter, the less defined aspects of what constitutes our material environment. 


Communicating these quantities ultimately combines an accounting issue with a representational one, here we will focus on both. By exploring tools already in play, like Excel and Spec sheets, while also looking into established extra-architectural practices like Edward Tuftee’s ‘Visual displays of quantitative information’ and Channa Horwitz’s ‘Sonakinatography’. The seminar will be based on short research and representational exercises including one where students have to look into their past proposed projects in order to apply newly-gained levels of knowledge to them. 


All in all this seminar will explore tools and methods of informational communication in order to speculate on future methods of accountability in the material project.



Class Instruction Mode:  Online

Tue  8:30-11:30am   


Laida Aguirre

Plan Your Future
Housing, Community, and Economic Development
Land Use and Environmental Planning
Physical Planning and Design
Transportation Planning
Global and Comparative Planning