¶ a repository of essays, comments, and conversations in the context of the fall 2018 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.
Burnham, Jack. “Notes on Art and Information Processing.” In Software Information Technology Its New Meaning for Art, 10-15. New York, NY: Jewish Museum, 1970.
Fuller, Matthew, ed. “Introduction.” In Software Studies: A Lexicon, 1-15. Cambridge, Mass.: The MIT Press, 2008. [* required reading 2–9]
Easterling, Keller. “A-Ware.” Journal of Architectural Education (1984-) 56, no. 2 (2002): 3–4.
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⌉

Robinson, Derek. “Functions and Logic.” In Software Studies: A Lexicon, edited by Matthew Fuller, 105–7. Cambridge, Mass.: The MIT Press, 2008.
Mitchell, William J. “Function.” In The Logic of Architecture: Design, Computation, and Cognition,183-209. Cambridge, Mass: The MIT Press, 1990.
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.
Vidler, Anthony. “Toward a Theory of the Architectural Program.” October (October 1, 2003): 59–74. https://doi.org/10.1162/016228703322791025.

‡ form ¦ formalism ⌈⇒post⌉

Parisi, Luciana. “Preface: Weird Formalism.” In Contagious Architecture : Computation, Aesthetics, and Space. Technologies of Lived Abstraction. Cambridge, Mass.: The MIT Press, 2013.
Simon, Herbert A. “The Science of Design. Creating the Artificial.” In The Sciences of the Artificial. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1996.
March, Lionel. “A Boolean Description of a Class of Built Forms”, In The Architecture of Form, edited by Lionel March, 41-72. Cambridge Urban and Architectural Studies. London: Cambridge University Press, 1976. [* browse technical details]
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]
Kaji-O’Grady, Sandra. “Formalism and Forms of Practice.” In The SAGE Handbook of Architectural Theory, 152–64. London: SAGE Publications Ltd, 2012. https://doi.org/10.4135/9781446201756.

‡ language ¦ syntax ⌈⇒post⌉

Jameson, Fredric. “The Linguistic Model.” In The Prison-House of Language: A Critical Account of Structuralism and Russian Formalism. Princeton University Press, 1975.
Porter, William Lyman. “Introduction.” In The Development of DISCOURSE: A Language for Computer Assisted City Design, 1-19. Thesis, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1969.
Alexander, Christopher. “Systems Generating Systems.” Architectural Design 38 (December 1968): 605–8.
Patin, Thomas. “From Deep Structure to an Architecture in Suspense: Peter Eisenman, Structuralism, and Deconstruction.” Journal of Architectural Education 47, no. 2 (1993): 88–100. https://doi:10.2307/1425170.
Dutta, Arindam. “Linguistics, Not Grammatology: Architecture’s A Prioris and Architecture’s Priorities.” In A Second Modernism: MIT, Architecture, and the “techno-Social” Moment, edited by Arindam Dutta, 01–72. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2013. [* required reading TBA]

‡ code ¦ script ⌈⇒post⌉

Kittler, Friedrich. “Code.” In Software Studies: A Lexicon, edited by Matthew Fuller, 40–47. Cambridge, Mass.: The MIT Press, 2008.
Geoghegan, Bernard Dionysius. “From Information Theory to French Theory: Jakobson, Lévi-Strauss, and the Cybernetic Apparatus”. Critical Inquiry 38, no. 1 (September 2011): 96-126. https://doi.org/10.1086/661645. [* required reading 96–104 and 121-126]
McCullough, Malcolm. “Scripting (2006).” In The Digital Turn in Architecture 1992–2012, 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. “Digital Style.” Log, no. 23 (2011): 41–52.

‡ 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 (1975): 46-50.
Hui, Yuk. “Digital Objects and Ontologies.” In On the Existence of Digital Objects. University of Minnesota Press, 2016.
Foucault Michel. “Order.” In The Order of Things: an Archaeology of the Human Sciences, 55-63. Routledge. 2002 [1966].
Brown, Bill. “Thing Theory.” Critical Inquiry 28, no. 1 (October 1, 2001): 1–22. https://doi.org/10.1086/449030. [*optional but recommended]

‡ 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.
Halpern, Orit. “Visualizing. Design, Communicative Objectivity, and the Interface.” In Beautiful Data: A History of Vision and Reason since 1945. Durham: Duke University Press Books, 2015.
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.
Stiny, George. “What Designers Do That Computers Should.” In The Electronic Design Studio: Architectural Knowledge and Media in the Computer Era, edited by Malcolm McCullough, William J. Mitchell, and Patrick Purcell, 17-30. Cambridge, Mass.: The MIT Press, 1990.

‡ virtuality ¦ simulation ⌈⇒post⌉

Negroponte, Nicholas. “The Daily Me.” In Being Digital. New York, NY: Alfred A. Knopf.
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]
Turkle, Sherry. “What Does Simulation Want?” In Simulation and Its Discontents, 3-9. Cambridge, Mass.: The MIT Press, 2009.

model ¦ environment ⌈⇒post⌉

March, Lionel, Peter Dickens, and Marcial Echenique. “Models of Environment: Polemic for a Structural Revolution.” Architectural Design 71, no. 5 (1971): 275.
Light, Jennifer. “Taking Games Seriously.” Technology and Culture 49, no. 2 (2008): 347–75.
Galloway, Alexander, and Eugene Thacker. “Protocol, Control, and Networks.” Grey Room (October 1, 2004): 6–29. https://doi.org/10.1162/1526381042464572.
Kolarevic, Branko. “Back to the Future: Performative Architecture.” International Journal of Architectural Computing 2, no. 1 (January 2004): 43–50. https://doi.org/10.1260/1478077041220205.
Moe, Kiel. “Our Model of Models in the Anthropocene.” The Journal of Architecture 21, no. 8 (November 16, 2016): 1299–1311. https://doi.org/10.1080/13602365.2016.1256906.

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]
Suchman, Lucy A. “Interactive Artifacts”. In Human-Machine Reconfigurations: Plans and Situated Actions, 33-51. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2007.
Theodore, David. “The First Failure of Man-Computer Symbiosis: The Hospital Computer Project, 1960-1968.” In Computer Architectures: Constructing the Common Ground, 1945-1980, edited by Theodora Vardouli and Olga Touloumi, Routledge (forthcoming).

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.
Picon, Antoine. “Robots and Architecture: Experiments, Fiction, Epistemology.” Architectural Design 84, no. 3 (May 1, 2014): 54–59. https://doi.org/10.1002/ad.1754.
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.



Blog authors are solely responsible for the content of the blogs listed in the directory. Neither the content of these blogs, nor the links to other web sites, are screened, approved, reviewed or endorsed by McGill University. The text and other material on these blogs are the opinion of the specific author and are not statements of advice, opinion, or information of McGill.