Submission Deadline: February 2, 2018
Measurement is fundamental to the discipline of architecture. Through measurement, one gains a more complete understanding of what is intended to be produced and how to produce it. Designers test ideas through digital and physical analyses, and communicate design intent through dimensioned drawings. Even after construction, predicted performance is measured against actual effects in post-occupancy evaluations. In this sense, measurement is a way to negotiate between the built construct and the ideals, performances, and evaluations that frame it. Thus, measurement is a form of translation and assessment that is both quantitative and qualitative.
Technology plays a vital role in the mediation between design ideas and their physical manifestation. Increasingly more precise digital design, analysis, and fabrication processes allow for more efficiency in architecture, a goal driven in part by the desire to curb waste and lessen the negative impacts of construction. Through this measured approach, structures and systems can be lighter and perform better, thereby enhancing environments and experiences. Similarly, measurements of admired built constructs can help to establish new design goals. In this way, the act of measuring can be aspirational.
Yet through stipulations ranging from statistical tolerance and standard deviation to verify in field, the discipline acknowledges the lack of absolutism in measurement, which is not always easy or even possible. With new material assemblies, for example, their performance may be difficult to assess without physical testing. On the other hand, an optimized daylighting design might not consider the variety of occupants’ habits, complicating performance analysis. Consequently, some have argued that measurement, especially in terms of optimization, can be a hindrance to design and the designer’s intuition about aesthetic experiences. So, like simulation, measuring is not always clear-cut. Some measurements require deep knowledge for interpretation and comparison. Similarly, depending on the context, there may be a small tolerance for inaccuracy, whereas other times there is a wide acceptable range. This suggests there is both a science and an art to measurement.
This issue of TAD seeks scholarly submissions and primary research concerning measurement in technology, architecture and design. Have new forms of measurement caused us to rethink architecture? How is quantitative research translated qualitatively? What are the frameworks, standards and scales that impact measurement in research? Have engagements with other disciplines caused us to measure or evaluate architecture differently? Through examining these and other questions, Measured intends to provide a forum for expanding the discourse on measurement and its implications for architecture and design.
Submit manuscripts at http://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/TADJournal
Issue in progress. Forthcoming Spring 2018.
Open represents inclusion, exploration, and open-mindedness. With this issue of TECHNOLOGY | ARCHITECTURE + DESIGN (TAD), we direct this receptivity towards research and creativity in the varied work of our contributors. The TAD mission engages numerous fields including emerging materials, information and building technologies, and history and theory of technology. These specializations encapsulate the physical world, dominant technologies of our era, and ways to understand both. Open is a platform for those conducting research in any of these areas, while simultaneously asking researchers to make connections between their investigations and practice, between empirical and design research methods, or between professional disciplines. We seek submissions that propose conceptual frameworks and solutions for current and vital issues facing society, architecture, and technology. This research often starts with the spark of an idea or an intellectual curiosity, and TAD is interested in project beginnings as well as those that are the most advanced. Opportunities must exist to support research that is outside journal themes, in various stages of development, or even beyond our collective imagination. TAD is Open to sharing it.
Open also provides a forum to discuss not what we do, but how we do it. It is a chance to be inquisitive about discipline and to question established modes of thinking and research. If design is its own culture, as N. Cross suggests in Designerly Ways of Knowing, what are the scholarly and research standards in architecture? How are creative processes included in these standards? Are the aims of this research creative, meaningful, and applicable? Contributions to TAD spotlight innovative research in technology and architecture, and demonstrate multiplicitous approaches to research. With Open, we offer a venue for an array of research questions, methodologies, and analysis techniques that are integral to the work of our authors.
Inherent in Open and the conception of TAD are the values of interdisciplinarity and translation between disciplines or professions. J.T. Klein, author of Interdisciplinarity: History, Theory and Practice, identifies that there is a body of knowledge and theoretical basis for integrative research. What are the keystones and vocabulary of this knowledge in architecture? What are the roles of designers on interdisciplinary research teams? How can design-thinking strengthen collaborative partnerships, and assert the merits of architectural research? It is the Editorial Board’s intention to regularly pause from dedicated themes so that the direction of the Journal may respond to the emergent themes in the work of our contributors. This Issue, like TAD itself, is Open to your creativity and your discoveries.
TAD (TECHNOLOGY | ARCHITECTURE + DESIGN) seeks original research from scholars, practitioners, architects, scientists, and engineers who engage with technology, architecture, and design. Empirical, theoretical, and practice-based research representing a broad array of methodologies is welcome. Manuscripts are to demonstrate a connection, translation, or integration between technology and design.
Simulations: Modeling, Measuring, and Disrupting Design
Published: November 1st, 2017
The simulation of physical reality is a necessary preoccupation of the architect, engineer, builder and systems specialist. For centuries, simulations have existed in the form of heuristic techniques used in establishing rules of thumb for architecture and design. These drawings, physical mock-ups, models, and other forms of mediated representations were surely satisfactory, but rarely optimal. In the twenty-first century, architecture benefits from the availability of near-immediate performance simulations executed during the design process and enabled by advanced computation software and rapid prototyping. In this context, prescriptive codes and standardization give way to hybrid models that integrate design goals, site and climate conditions, available resources, and building systems. Whether used for construction sequencing, parametric design comparisons, or structural, lighting, air flow and energy analysis, these simulations generate large amounts of complex performance data requiring a rigorous interpretation of results.
All good simulation models however, —whether made of sticks or bits—necessarily simplify in order to isolate and test relationships. Increasingly, digital simulation platforms operate as scripted add-ons, linking simulation engines to design software and embedding default values for building-based parameters. So doing, they rapidly generate performance data albeit with less user specified information. Feedback is immediate, results are plentiful, and queries are customizable, even when user expertise is limited. And while it appears the integration of data and performance in design has never been more accessible, the process is also more susceptible to false results from incorrect parameters and the blind acceptance of black box output. As we embrace the role of simulations in supporting generative design, we invite a critical evaluation of their assumptions, fidelity, limits, and potentials.
Designing increasingly smarter, integrated, and efficient systems requires a nuanced understanding of the benefits and constraints of simulations. How might we assess whether they truly result in better performing buildings? Rarely studied post construction and almost never evaluated from the perspective of end-users, how do we know if completed works of architecture actually perform to their simulated measures? What are the standards by which we might validate and establish consensus for parameters needed to construct increasingly elaborate models? How might methodologies in collateral fields inform our approaches to architectural simulations? And most critically, in what way are designers expanding the objectives of a practice historically driven by engineering economy? Beyond measuring “efficiencies”, how can simulations disrupt the process of design itself by transforming the very way in which we communicate, collaborate and legislate? And how might simulations help us define and generate improved architectural outcomes?
TAD (TECHNOLOGY | ARCHITECTURE + DESIGN) Issue 2, seeks empirical research, creative design, and critical theory manuscripts that investigate the role of simulations in the built environment. The issue aims to question the full spectrum of methodologies, models and measurement paradigms attendant to simulations of the built environment. It is equally committed to investigating the potential of this 21st century technology to disrupt the very practice of design.
Viral: Information Technology as Prophet, Panacea, or Pariah?
Published: May 1st, 2017
According to Kevin Kelly, founding member of Wired magazine, technology is ubiquitous, ever present and our destiny. Smart materials, performance sensors, crowdsourcing, cloud computing, robotics and drones are but a few of the emerging technologies vastly transforming the way in which buildings are designed and experienced. And yet the role these information technologies play in shaping architecture is rarely at the center of architectural thinking, criticism or design. Are architects uninterested or reluctant to address the proliferation of data-based, digitally-centered, and smart technologies that are impacting the allied fields of construction, engineering, material science, and product design? Most recently, celebrated architect Rem Koolhaas suggested the possibility of a nefarious relationship between architecture and smart technologies, stating; “There is a potentially sinister dimension to …being surrounded by a house full of sensors that can follow you on the moment of entry, to the moment you set your bedroom temperature, to the moment you set your likely return to your house.”  Is this seeming aversion to sensors and data points similar to that of nineteenth-century architects who neglected to consider the impact of emerging industrialized technologies of cast iron, glass, and steel; and who hesitated to acknowledge the many ways they were destined to redefine architecture? It was fifty years before architects embraced ferrous metals and sheets of plate glass in service to design, and this, only after historian Sigfried Giedion conceptualized their potential. Similarly, at the end of the twentieth century, we were slow to recognize the impact artificial environmental systems, such as air-conditioning, had on design.
In this light, VIRAL–the inaugural call for papers for TECHNOLOGY | ARCHITECTURE + DESIGN (TAD)–asks whether architecture is once again on the threshold of significant changes in the material, technical and procedural context of design. In the twenty-first century, information technologies are transforming how buildings are designed, constructed, delivered, occupied and assessed. From crowdsourcing to collective wisdom, information technology is redefining our relation to the environment and to each other. Yet, to what extent are architects, and those who educate them, actively involved in articulating a path for such technologies within their work—be it in their research, scholarship, or design work? Alternatively, to what extent are architectural educators cautious, resistant, or critical of this highly speculative engagement with barely recognizable or material forms of technology?
TAD seeks contributions from scholars, educators, designers, and architects who research, test and create using these emerging technologies and who seek to articulate and theorize the impact they will have on the built environment. The journal seeks articles that feature primary research in information technologies and their impact on materials, construction, structures, building systems, energy studies, environmental design, sustainability and resiliency, project delivery, and practice-based innovations. Papers should advance scholarship with a focus on the impact, translation and integration of technology in architecture and design.
 Kevin Kelly, What Technology Wants, Viking Press, 2010
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