TAD Vol. 8, Issue 2: Coding
Deadline: January 15, 2024
Editor’s Note: All Topics Welcome at All Times
TECHNOLOGY | ARCHITECTURE + DESIGN welcomes all original research in technology, architecture, and design. Submissions may choose to address the focus area identified in this call for papers but are not required to do so. All submissions are reviewed through a double-blind peer-review process with subject experts.
Replace the gerund with the verb and coding’s architectural connotations break through. Complying with regulatory frameworks – being “to code” – is a precondition for building; for leaving the drawing board and acquiring material flesh. Writers, enactors, and enforcers of building codes negotiate the bounds of what buildings and cities can and should be within conflictual landscapes of neoliberal capitalism, political lobbying, and social and environmental crises. Coding both engenders and delimits architectural possibility through constraints, rules, minima, and maxima, that designers and architects absorb, at times begrudgingly, through curricula, licensure, and professional practice. Coding also ignites activist and speculative projects that seek to reimagine these regulatory frameworks’ protocols and sociopolitical allegiances.
Constraints and constrictions of architectural possibility also penetrate architectural practices and pedagogies through codes of another kind. Computer codes underlie the software environments in which architects habitually imagine, draw, calculate, communicate, and market architecture. Codified descriptions of shapes, codices of building components, encodings of equations for computer modelling and simulations, and, more recently, codes that turn noise into intelligible images regiment design actions, delimit perceptual possibilities, affect decision-making, and broker relationships between architecture, the industry, and technoculture. Coding, in this context, becomes a question of architects’ agency on the informational infrastructures that undergird their creative labor and, to follow Eugene Thacker and Alexander Galloway, circumscribe architecture’s “forms of communicability.”
And while the dematerialization of architecture into shareable and remixable “source codes” ignites visions of open and participative practices, critical perspectives on coding as subservient to logics of colonialism, technocracy, and universalism raise troubling questions of power and sovereignty. Yet, the potential for emancipatory futures within the ever-diffuse omnipresence of codes renders the critical contemplation of coding as a practical political project.
TAD invites contributions that interrogate the complex milieu of coding in architecture and design through research, scholarship, and critical practice. We are interested in historical perspectives on architects’ role in the construction and hacking of building and computer codes, in activist practices overhauling legislative and informatic regulatory regimes in history and in the present, in critical contemplations on how the metaphor of code –as a linguistic or informational concept– has infused architectural discourse and practice, in applied research on coding in design and making, especially geared toward positive, transformative social and climate action.
TAD invites original and innovative research from scholars, practitioners, researchers, and students. Contributions to the issue focus area are encouraged, but TAD will consider all papers that meet the TAD mission statement. The journal accepts submissions on a rolling basis, but for consideration in this issue, manuscripts are due before 11:59 pm Eastern Time on January 15, 2024. All manuscripts are double-blind peer-reviewed. Manuscripts must follow the standards detailed in the TAD Author Guide, available at TADjournal.org.
 R Galloway, A. and Thacker, E. (2006), Language, Life, Code. Archit Design, 76: 26-29. https://doi.org/10.1002/ad.317