¶ a repository of essays, comments, and conversations in arch 684: contemporary theory I course offered by theodora vardouli at the peter guo-hua fu school of architecture, mcgill university·  

¶ between the instrumental and the metaphoric, the practical and the conceptual, the prosaic and the speculative, optimism and anathema, software is variously intertwined with contemporary architectural thought and practice · themed ⌈achitecture software⌉ this iteration arch 684 examines how software, in its many technical and conceptual dimensions, has influenced, and been influenced by, key themes in contemporary architectural theory · it combines seminal texts in design and computation research with scholarship in media, science-technology, software studies and writings in the theory and philosophy of architecture · structured around keywords that move between architectural and computational meanings, the course encourages students to consider the relationship of architecture and software through the lens of multiple lineages and scholarly traditions · the course aims to enable students to think critically about, and develop a set of arguments and positions on, the place of software in the making and functioning of domestic, urban and virtual environments, as well as its cultural, philosophical, and operational implications for architectural discourse·

‡ what is software ⌈⇒post⌉

Kay, Alan. “Computer Software.” Scientific American 251, no. 3 (September 1984): 52–59.
Murray, Janet. “Inventing the Medium.” In The New Media Reader, edited by Noah Wardrip-Fruin and Nick Montfort, 3-12. Cambridge, Mass.: The MIT Press, 2003.
Chun, Wendy Hui Kyong. “On Software, or the Persistence of Visual Knowledge” Grey Room 18 (2004): 26–51.
Mahoney, M. S. “What Makes the History of Software Hard.” IEEE Annals of the History of Computing 30, no. 3 (July 2008): 8–18. https://doi.org/10.1109/MAHC.2008.55.

‡ function ¦ program ⌈⇒post⌉

Simon, Herbert, “The Architecture of Complexity”. Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society. 106 (6) (1962): 467-482.
Alexander, Christopher. “The Program.” In Notes on the Synthesis of Form, 73-84. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1964.
Cross, Nigel. “Computer Synthesis.” In The Automated Architect, 33-40. London: Pion Ltd, 1977.
Erickson Paul, Judy Klein, Lorraine Daston, Rebecca Lemov, Thomas Sturm, and Michael Gordin, “Enlightenment Reason, Cold War Rationality, and the Rule of Rules” In How Reason Almost Lost Its Mind: The Strange Career of Cold War Rationality. Chicago IL: The University of Chicago Press, 2013.

model ¦ performance  ⌈⇒post⌉

Echenique, Marcial. “Models: A Discussion.” In Urban Space and Structures, edited by Leslie Martin and Lionel March, 164–74. Cambridge Urban and Architectural Studies. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1972.
Lobsinger, Mary Louise. “Two Cambridges: Models, Methods, Systems, and Expertise.” In A Second Modernism: MIT, Architecture, and the ‘Techno-Social’ Moment, edited by Arindam Dutta, 652-685, Cambridge Mass.: The MIT Press.
Light, Jennifer. “Taking Games Seriously.” Technology and Culture 49, no. 2 (2008): 347–75.
Kolarevic, Branko. “Back to the Future: Performative Architecture.” International Journal of Architectural Computing 2, no. 1 (January 2004): 43–50. 

‡ form ¦ formalism ⌈⇒post⌉

Mitchell, William J. “Languages of Architectural Form.” In The Logic of Architecture: Design, Computation, and Cognition, 132-181. Cambridge, Mass: The MIT Press, 1990. [*required reading 132-28 and 179-81]
Alexander, Christopher. “Systems Generating Systems.” Architectural Design 38 (Dec. 1968): 605–8.
Keller, Sean. “The Logic of Form: Peter Eisenman’s Early Work.” In Automatic Architecture: Motivating Form After Modernism. Chicago IL: The University of Chicago Press, 2018.
Nake, Frieder. “Information Aesthetics: An Heroic Experiment” Journal of Mathematics and the Arts. 6 (2-3) (June 2012): 65-75
Kaji-O’Grady, Sandra. “Formalism and Forms of Practice.” In The SAGE Handbook of Architectural Theory, 152–64. London: SAGE Publications Ltd, 2012. 

‡ code ¦ script ⌈⇒post⌉

Jameson, Fredric. “The Linguistic Model.” In The Prison-House of Language: A Critical Account of Structuralism and Russian Formalism. Princeton University Press, 1975.
McCullough, Malcolm. “Scripting (2006).” In The Digital Turn in Architecture 1992–2012, edited by Mario Carpo, 182–87. Wiley-Blackwell, 2015. https://doi.org/10.1002/9781118795811.ch12.
R Galloway, Alexander, and Eugene Thacker. “Language, Life, Code.” Architectural Design 76, no. 5 (2006): 26–29. https://doi.org/10.1002/ad.317.
Carpo, Mario. “The Participatory Turn that Never Was” In The Second Digital Turn: Design Beyond Intelligence, 131-145, Cambridge, Mass.: The MIT Press.
Vardouli, Theodora, and Leah Buechley. “Open Source Architecture: An Exploration of Source Code and Access in Architectural Design.” Leonardo 47:1 (February 2014): 1–10.

‡ object ¦ class ⌈⇒post⌉

Fuller, Matthew and Andrew Goffey. “The Obscure Objects of Object Orientation.” In How To Be a Geek: Essays on the Culture of Software. Cambridge, UK: Polity.
Eastman, Charles. “The Use of Computers Instead of Drawings in Building Design.” AIA Journal, 63, no. 3: 46-50, 1975.
Deamer, Peggy. “Marx, BIM, and Contemporary Labor.” In Building Information Modeling, edited by Karen M. Kensek LEED BD+C AIA Assoc. and Douglas Noble FAIA, 313–19. John Wiley & Sons, Inc, 2015.
Foucault Michel. “Order.” In The Order of Things: an Archaeology of the Human Sciences, 55-63. Routledge. 2002 [1966].

‡ graphics ¦ surfaces ⌈⇒post⌉

Gaboury, Jacob. “Hidden Surface Problems: On the Digital Image as Material Object.” Journal of Visual Culture 14, no. 1 (April 2015): 40–60. https://doi.org/10.1177/1470412914562270.
Kittler, Friedrich A., and Sara Ogger. “Computer Graphics: A Semi-Technical Introduction.” Grey Room (January 1, 2001): 30–45. https://doi.org/10.1162/152638101750172984.
May, John. “Everything is Already an Image” Log 40 (Spring/Summer 2017)
Stiny, George. “What Designers Do That Computers Should.” In The Electronic Design Studio: Architectural Knowledge and Media in the Computer Era (CAAD Futures ’89 Conference Proceedings), edited by William J Mitchell, Malcolm McCullough, and Patrick Purcell, 17–30. Cambridge, Mass.: The MIT Press, 1990.

‡ virtuality ¦ simulation ⌈⇒post⌉

Greengard, Samuel. “Why Augmented and Virtual Realities Matter” In Virtual Reality (MIT Press Essential Knowledge Series), Cambridge, Mass.:The MIT Press, 2019.
Manovich, Lev. “1.3: The Aesthetics of Virtual Worlds: Report From Los Angeles.” CTheory (May 22, 1996): 5-22.
Penny, Simon. “Virtual Reality as the Completion of the Enlightenment Project.” In Culture on the Brink : Ideologies of Technology, edited by Gretchen Bender and Timothy Druckrey, 231–248. Seattle: Bay Press, 1994.
Baudrillard, Jean. “Simulacra and Simulations.” In Jean Baudrillard, Selected Writings, 166-184. edited by Mark Poster. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1988. [*required reading 166-172]

behaviors ¦ ⌈inter⌉actions ⌈⇒post⌉

Brodey, Warren M. “The Design of Intelligent Environments: Soft Architecture.” Landscape 17, no.1 (1967): 8–12.
Steenson, Molly Wright. “A Theory of Architecture Machines.” In Architectural Intelligence : How Designers and Architects Created the Digital Landscape. Cambridge, Mass.: The MIT Press, 2017.
Pickering, Andrew. “Cybernetics And The Mangle: Ashby, Beer And Pask.” Social Studies of Science, 2002, 413–437. [* required 413-420 and 429-432]
Galloway, Alexander, and Eugene Thacker. “Protocol, Control, and Networks.” Grey Room (October 1, 2004): 6–29. https://doi.org/10.1162/1526381042464572.

hardware ¦ matter ⌈⇒post⌉

Cardoso Llach, Daniel. “Software Comes to Matter: Toward a Material History of Computational Design.” Design Issues 31, no. 3 (Summer 2015): 41–54. https://doi.org/10.1162/DESI_a_00337.
Lloyd Thomas , Katie. Specifications: Writing materials in architecture and philosophy. Architectural Research Quarterly. 8 (2004): 277 – 283.
Knight, Terry, and Theodora Vardouli. “Computational Making,” Design Studies Special Issue: Computational Making 41, part A (2015): 1-7.
Ingold, Tim. “Bringing Things to Life: Creative Entanglements in a World of Materials.” NCRM Working Paper. Realities / Morgan Centre, University of Manchester. 2010.

‡ past reading lists

fall 2018








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