“Architecture as Computation” Research Project Awarded SSHRC Insight Development Grant

The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada has announced the results of the Insight Development Grants 2018 Competition. Happy to be among the award recipients with my research project “Architecture as Computation: Academic Research Networks and Mobilities of Technical Practices.” The SSHRC funding will allow me and my research team to build a searchable database of “design methods” (systematic theories of the design process) activity in late-1960s North American research universities, so as to visualize and examine the social, technical, and intellectual ecology that premised the computer’s introduction to architecture. Design methods cultivated a computational (step-wise, algorithmic) view of architectural design and in some cases included the first uses of computers in architecture. This research project promotes a cross-geographic and cross-disciplinary fashion with an eye for transactions and mobilities of concepts and techniques across various academic settings. The project directs attention to new modes of knowledge production and dissemination that spurred from academic architects’ work in postwar research universities, thus illuminating the development of a scientific imagination and a computational perspective for architecture. The project also pinpoints particular definitions of design as a common ground between architecture and engineering, in the context of efforts of disciplinary unification, and discusses epistemologies that catalyzed these efforts. An original aspect of this project is that it engages the Canadian context, highlighting its role in histories of design methods and computer-aided design. Stay tuned for updates.

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