Posts filed under ‘Publications’

Computing Environmental Design

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

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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

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.

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

The Architecture of Closed Worlds

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Commentary” in Lydia Kallipoliti, The Architecture of Closed Worlds, (Zürich: Lars Müller Pub., 2018), 175.

December 6, 2018 at 11:01 am Leave a comment

My review of Early Ecotheology and Joseph Sittler

52872109Panu Pihkala, Early Ecotheology and Joseph Sittler (Zürich: Lit Verlag, 2017).

Journal for the Study of Religion, Nature & Culture, 12:2 (2018), 247-248.

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October 3, 2018 at 9:05 am Leave a comment

My review of National Park Science: A Century of Research in South Africa

9781316642023 Jane Carruthers, National Park Science: A Century of Research in South Africa (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017).

Journal of the History of Biology 51 (2018), 617–619.

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June 19, 2018 at 9:34 am Leave a comment

Anthropocene Architecture: Design Earth’s Geostories

“Anthropocene Architecture: Design Earth’s Geostories” with Nina Edwards Anker, The Avery Review 29 (Feb. 2018).

Republished in: Rania Ghosn and El Hadi Jazairy, Geostories: Another Architecture for the Environment, (Barcelona: Actar, 2018), 206-213.

A review of the exhibition Geostories: Another Architecture for the Environment, created by Rania Ghosn and El Hadi Jazairy, which was on display at the Cooper Union School of Architecture in New York, October 17, 2017–December 2, 2017.

February 8, 2018 at 10:21 am Leave a comment

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