DesignTechnology: SMArchS Colloquium 2014

Every Friday morning throughout this fall semester, the first year SMArchS students convene for the Architecture Studies Colloquium. This class is a forum: each week students from all six streams can engage in dialogue with a different visiting scholar, designer, or practitioner on matters of concern from across the vast architectural discipline. This year, the theme of Colloquium is DesignTechnology, and our charge is to pursue relentlessly the meaning and significance of this binary concept. What is design? What is technology? Indeed, in an architecture school these words are ‘a dime, a dozen’, but their ubiquity runs them ragged: as they become catchalls for our diverse activities, their meanings dissolve into the ether. Week by week and case-by-case, we bring these terms into focus and probe them from as many angles as we can, with the goal of drawing nearer to a critical understanding of their significances and implications in architecture.

We document the proceedings of our forum in blog format. Here you will find audio-video recordings of the lectures: so far, Mark Jarzombek spoke on the fictions of our civilizational constructs; Bernard Cache traced the long history of parametric design; Erika Naginski revealed how utopian ideals shaped early modern city plans; and Mark Goulthorpe elucidated the role of poesis in design. You can also read student responses to lectures, such as my own most recent post on Bernard Cache’s talk, in which I state the need for critical reflection on the ideological meaning of parametric design.

Tomorrow’s lecture by Gregory Ulmer, of which all I know for certain is the title, “The Electronic Monument and the Avatar Emergency,” promises to be just as compelling as the rest. If you would like to come along for the ride or are merely curious, drop by 3-133 tomorrow morning from 9:30-11:30, or follow along online at http://4.221.scripts.mit.edu/fa14/.

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