Computing Environmental Design

9780815396529

“Computing Environmental Design,” Computer Architectures: Constructing the Common Ground, 1945-1980, Theodora Vardouli and Olga Touloumi (eds.), (London: Routledge, 2019), 15-34.

Read Ebook online here (requires library access).

This is the long version of this article. Download PDF of the article here.

Abstract

In December 1964 the Boston Architectural Center organizedthe first conference on the role of computers in architecture – an issue that designers had been pondering since the 1950s. The questionat stake in such debates had been the relationship between artists and machines. Environmental design proved to be an unlikely question that emerged in the discussion, with architect and designer Serge Chermayeff noting that with computers environmental complexities could now come under the purview of architecture. Only a year earlier Chermayeff had published the seminal book Community and Privacy: Toward a New Architecture of Humanismwith Christopher Alexander, wherethe two authors had argued for a humanism that placed environmental concerns at the forefront. At the conference Chermayeff argued that computers constituted a critical tool for analyzing and comprehending environmental complexity, allowing for the integration of the built within the natural environment. “Our survival depends upon our ability to master new complexities” he argued, “with the best technology at our disposal.” This optimism with respect to how computers could help in solving environmental problems was shared among modernist designers, most notably by Richard Buckminster Fuller, but also among ecologists and biologists of the period. Computers could order both the human and natural environment using the same language, thus bringing landscape and architectural design in dialogue. Yet computers of the time were cumbersome to work with and getting access to them was not a matter of course. The architects’ musings about computers ultimately had to do with imagined futures for the design disciplinesand not so much thepractical exigencies of the time. By focusing on Serge Chermayeff’s critical response to the introduction of computers as tools for grasping and communicating complexity, this paper will interrogate the emergence ofcomplexity as an aesthetic and design problem, formative for the introduction of computing to architectural design.

November 27, 2019 at 10:25 am Leave a comment

My review of Environmental Design

download

Avigail Sachs, Environmental Design: Architecture, Politics and Science in Postwar America (Charlottesville: The University of Virginia Press, 2018).

Journal of Architectural Education, Nov. 8., 2019.

Download PDF

 

November 6, 2019 at 2:29 pm Leave a comment

Computing Environmental Design

516UHpCiNiL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_

“Computing Environmental Design,” in The Culture of Nature in the History of Design, Kjetil Fallan (ed.), (London: Routledge, 2019), 44-57.

This is the short version of this article. Download PDF here.

Abstract

In December 1964 the Boston Architectural Center organizedthe first conference on the role of computers in architecture – an issue that designers had been pondering since the 1950s. The questionat stake in such debates had been the relationship between artists and machines. Environmental design proved to be an unlikely question that emerged in the discussion, with architect and designer Serge Chermayeff noting that with computers environmental complexities could now come under the purview of architecture. Only a year earlier Chermayeff had published the seminal book Community and Privacy: Toward a New Architecture of Humanismwith Christopher Alexander, wherethe two authors had argued for a humanism that placed environmental concerns at the forefront. At the conference Chermayeff argued that computers constituted a critical tool for analyzing and comprehending environmental complexity, allowing for the integration of the built within the natural environment. “Our survival depends upon our ability to master new complexities” he argued, “with the best technology at our disposal.” This optimism with respect to how computers could help in solving environmental problems was shared among modernist designers, most notably by Richard Buckminster Fuller, but also among ecologists and biologists of the period. Computers could order both the human and natural environment using the same language, thus bringing landscape and architectural design in dialogue. Yet computers of the time were cumbersome to work with and getting access to them was not a matter of course. The architects’ musings about computers ultimately had to do with imagined futures for the design disciplinesand not so much thepractical exigencies of the time. By focusing on Serge Chermayeff’s critical response to the introduction of computers as tools for grasping and communicating complexity, this paper will interrogate the emergence ofcomplexity as an aesthetic and design problem, formative for the introduction of computing to architectural design.

 

June 10, 2019 at 1:31 pm Leave a comment

Environmental and Climate History: The Role of History in Society

Teaching PhD course at the University of Oslo for the Norwegian Graduate School in History. “Environmental and Climate History: The Role of History in Society”. December 16-18, 2019.

 

May 15, 2019 at 2:21 pm 1 comment

Collapse: Climate, Cities & Culture Berlin

 

The COLLAPSE: CLIMATE, CITIES and CULTURE exhibition focuses on the design/artist community’s response to environmental urgency, using architectural models, design prototypes, drawings, and art to frame and advance this vitally important conversation. We will contrast and compare examples of design from central Europe to show efforts to find solutions for our current state of planetary peril. The practices and projects selected for this exhibition come from different disciplines and operate at multiple scales, in a range of forms—constructed works, materials and systems research, community development, and speculation. These diverse projects are joined by their shared focus on improving the health and well-being of our fragile planet and all of its occupants. Design will help to determine how we face our current and future collapse.

Berlin NYU at St. Agnes, Alexandrinenstraße 118

June 6-July 11, 2019.

A GDNYU Exhibition by Peder Anker and Mitchell Joachim

April 25, 2019 at 9:33 pm Leave a comment

My review of Images of Egypt

9788253040813Mari Lending, Eirik Arff Gulseth Bøhn, Tim Anstey (eds.), Images of Egypt, (Oslo: Pax, 2018).

Arkitketur N, 101 (2019), 112.

Download PDF (in Norwegian)

March 13, 2019 at 11:02 am Leave a comment

My review of Malarial Subjects

41HUNhe6dGL._SX327_BO1,204,203,200_Rohan Deb Roy, Malarial Subjects: Empire, Medicine and Nonhumans in British India, 1820–1909. (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2017).
The American Historical Review, 124: 1 (Feb. 2019), 229–230.
Download PDF.

February 7, 2019 at 11:23 am Leave a comment

Older Posts


Connect

Latest tweets


%d bloggers like this: