¶ a repository of essays, comments, and conversations in the seminar ⌈achitecture software⌉ offered by theodora vardouli at the peter guo-hua fu school of architecture, mcgill university · winter 2022 edition

¶ 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 seminar examines how software, in its many technical and conceptual dimensions, has influenced, and been influenced by, key themes in contemporary architectural theory · it combines landmark 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 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·

‡ software ⌈⇒post⌉

  • Kay, Alan. 1984. “Computer Software.” Scientific American 251 (3): 52–59.
  • Murray, Janet. 2003. Inventing the Medium. In Wardrip-Fruin N. and Nick Montfort (eds.) The New Media Reader. Cambridge, Mass.: The MIT Press, 3-12.
  • Thrift, Nigel, and Shaun French. 2005. The Automatic Production of Space. In Thrift N. Knowing capitalism. SAGE Publications Ltd, 153-181.
  • Cardoso Llach, D. and Andrés Burbano. 2020. “Other Computations: Digital Technologies for Architecture from the Global South.” Dearq, no. 27: 6-19.

‡ function ¦ program ⌈⇒post⌉

  • Kyong Chun, Wendy Hui. 2013. Programmability. In Fuller M. (ed.) Software Studies: A Lexicon. MIT Scholarship Online.
  • Mitchell, William J. 1990. Function. In The Logic of Architecture: Design, Computation, and Cognition. Cambridge, Mass: The MIT Press, 183-208.
  • Alexander, Christopher. 1964. The Program. In Notes on the Synthesis of Form. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 73-84.
  • Upitis, Alise. 2013. Alexander’s Choice: How Architecture Avoided Computer-Aided Design c. 1962. In Dutta, Arindam (ed.) A Second Modernism: MIT, Architecture, and the ‘Techno-Social’ Moment. Cambridge, Mass.: The MIT Press, 474-505.

model ¦ abstraction  ⌈⇒post⌉

  • Echenique, Marcial. 1972. “Models: A Discussion.” In Martin L. and Lionel March (eds.) Urban Space and Structures. Cambridge Urban and Architectural Studies. New York: Cambridge University Press, 164–74.
  • Hunter, Matthew. 2019. Modeling: A Secret History of Following. In Alexander, Z. C. and John May (eds.) Design Technics: Archaeologies of Architectural Practice. University of Minnesota Press, 45-70.
  • Vardouli, Theodora, and David Theodore. 2021. “Walking Instead of Working: Space Allocation, Automatic Architecture, and the Abstraction of Hospital Labor.” IEEE Annals of the History of Computing 43 (2).
  • Vidler, Anthony. 2000. “Diagrams of Diagrams: Architectural Abstraction and Modern Representation.” Representations 72 (72): 1–20.

‡ form ¦ formalism ⌈⇒post⌉

  • Nake, Frieder. 2012. “Information Aesthetics: An Heroic Experiment” Journal of Mathematics and the Arts. 6 (2-3): 65-75.
  • Steingart, Alma. 2020. The Axiomatic Aesthetic. In Vardouli, Theodora and Olga Touloumi (eds.) Computer Architectures : Constructing the Common Ground. Routledge Research in Design, Technology and Society. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge.
  • 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.
  • Brott, Simone. 2019. The Moral Contents of the Digital Image; Autonomy and Vanity. In Digital Monuments: The Dreams and Abuses of Iconic Architecture. Routledge, 152-158; 164-170.

‡ code ¦ script ⌈⇒post⌉

  • Jameson, Fredric. 1975. The Linguistic Model. In The Prison-House of Language: A Critical Account of Structuralism and Russian Formalism. Princeton University Press.
  • Geoghegan, Bernard Dionysius. 2011. “From Information Theory to French Theory: Jakobson, Lévi-Strauss, and the Cybernetic Apparatus.” Critical Inquiry 38 (1): 96–126. 
  • Galloway, Alexander, and Eugene Thacker. 2006. “Language, Life, Code.” Architectural Design 76 (5): 26–29. 
  • Vardouli Theodora. 2020. Computing Choice: Self-Design, Configurators, and the Enumerative Imagination. In Teresa Fankhänel (ed.) The Architecture Machine. Birkhäuser, 172-179.

‡ object ¦ class ⌈⇒post⌉

  • Joque, Justin. 2016. “The Invention of the Object: Object Orientation and the Philosophical Development of Programming Languages.” Philosophy & Technology 29 (4): 335–56.
  • Eastman, Charles. 1975. “The Use of Computers Instead of Drawings in Building Design.” AIA Journal, 63 (3): 46-50.
  • Deamer, Peggy. 2015. Marx, BIM, and Contemporary Labor. In Kensek K. M. and Noble D. (eds.) Building Information Modeling. John Wiley & Sons, 313–19.
  • Ochigame, Rodrigo. 2020. “Informatics of the Oppressed.” Logic 11: 53–74.

‡ graphics ¦ surfaces ⌈⇒post⌉

  • Gaboury, Jacob. 2021. Introduction. In Image Objects : An Archaeology of Computer Graphics. Cambridge, Mass.: The MIT Press. 
  • Kittler, Friedrich A., and Sara Ogger. 2001. “Computer Graphics: A Semi-Technical Introduction.” Grey Room: 30–45.
  • Casetti, Francesco and Bernard Dionysius Geoghegan. 2021. “Screen.” In Kennerly M., Frederick S. and Abel J.E. (eds.) Information: Keywords. New York Chichester, West Sussex: Columbia University Press, 162-173. 
  • Benjamin, Ruha. 2019. Coded Exposure. In Race After Technology : Abolitionist Tools for the New Jim Code. Cambridge, UK: Polity.

‡ virtuality ¦ simulation ⌈⇒post⌉

  • Light, Jennifer. 2008. “Taking Games Seriously.” Technology and Culture 49 (2): 347–75.
  • Manovich, Lev. 2006. “The Poetics of Augmented Space.” Visual Communication 5 (2): 219–40.
  • Turkle, Sherry. 2009. What Does Simulation Want? In Simulation and Its Discontents. Cambridge, Mass.: The MIT Press, 3-9.
  • Canizares, Galo. 2020. “Technologies of the Virtual Other.” Journal of Architectural Education 74 (2): 237–49.

behaviors ¦ ⌈inter⌉actions ⌈⇒post⌉

  • Brodey,  Warren M. 1967.  “The  Design  of  Intelligent  Environments: Soft  Architecture.”  Landscape 17 (1):  8–12.
  • Suchman, Lucy A. 2007. Interactive Artifacts. In Human-Machine Reconfigurations: Plans and Situated Actions. New York: Cambridge University Press, 33-51.
  • Steenson, Molly Wright. 2017. “A Theory of Architecture Machines.” In Architectural Intelligence : How Designers and Architects Created the Digital Landscape. Cambridge, Mass.: The MIT Press.
  • Halpern, Orit. 2014. Visualizing: Design, Communicative Objectivity, and the Interface. In Beautiful Data : A History of Vision and Reason Since 1945. Experimental Futures. Durham: Duke University Press, 110-121 only.

map ¦ territory ⌈⇒post⌉

  • Engel Maureen. 2018. Deep Mapping: Space, Place, and Narrative as Urban Interface. In Sayers, Jentery (ed.) The Routledge Companion to Media Studies and Digital Humanities. New York: Routledge.
  • Carlsson, Moa. 2021. “Computing Views, Remodeling Environments.” Social Studies of Science.
  • Rankin, William. 2016. “The The Politics of Global Coverage: The Navy, NASA, and GPS, 1960– 2010” In After the Map: Cartography, Navigation, and the Transformation of Territory in the Twentieth Century. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 253-292. 

data ¦ intelligence ⌈⇒post⌉

  • Crawford, Kate. 2021. Data. In Atlas of AI : Power, Politics, and the Planetary Costs of Artificial Intelligence. New Haven: Yale University Press.
  • Kitchin Rob and Martin Dodge. 2011. “Automated Management” In Code/Space: Software and Everyday Life. Cambridge, Mass.: The MIT Press. 
  • Mattern, Shannon. 2021. Introduction: Cities, Trees & Algorithms. In A City is Not a Computer: Other Urban Intelligences. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1-17.
  • Noble, Safiya Umoja. 2018. “The Future of Information Culture.” In Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism. New York, USA: New York University Press, 153-170. 

‡ past reading lists

fall 2018

fall 2019

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