Vol. 5, Issue 1
TECHNOLOGY | ARCHITECTURE + DESIGN (TAD) invites submissions of original research from scholars, practitioners, researchers, and students for consideration in the upcoming OPEN issue.
Research methods are a developing area of interest in the built environment and OPEN to discussion. Methods are part of our intellectual, social and institutional contexts. Methodological choice often relates to the philosophical position of the researcher and the phenomenon under analysis. This is to say, closer consideration tells us that methods can be distinct from the aims and products of the research, such as prediction and knowledge. Methods are also different from the epistemic communities that inform the values and justifications of the research aims, such as reproducibility or objectivity and the use of a specific method or its evaluation. Methods cannot wholly be derived from the places, problems, phenomena, disciplines, technologies or conventions and professional habits associated with research; there is a specific, rather than general integrity of methods based on the practices of the researcher, the place, and the type of research being done.
The practices associated with the development of built environments do not historically demand methodological consideration, for example: applied design as an investigation is open-ended with few strategies for how to do systematically structured research before, during, or after completion of a built project. Evidence-based design borrows methods from the social sciences, historical research from the humanities, and correlational research from engineering. In order to test current methods and develop new methodological approaches from within architecture, we point to distinctions between protocols, processes, practices, and contexts to clarify the differences between various methods in architecture research. The challenge is to determine what methodological approaches to research inform the processes undertaken by researchers in a wide variety of applications to the built environment.
We are interested in methodological approaches, outcomes, challenges, theories and limitations in fields focused on the built environment. What are the methods best used in your research of the built environment, and why? What research methods or strategies are you using to implement practices over time? What are the meta-methodologies informing your research? What do you see as the most effective methods for specific types of research in the built environment? This OPEN issue asks researchers across architecture and related subfields to share their methods through original research including qualitative, quantitative, mixed, design studies, historical, correlational, causal-comparative, and experimental. This issue, like TAD itself, is OPEN to your creativity and your discoveries. Manuscripts for the double-blind peer review are due before 11:59 pm Eastern Time on June 15, 2020, at https://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/tadjournal. Manuscript submissions must follow the standards found in the TAD Author Guide.
Materials – and their alchemical transformations through construction – have long been the subject of intense study and thoughtful deliberation by practitioners and researchers. When carefully considered, materials can perform specific functions, contribute to human well-being, and attune our perceptions of the world around us. When poorly considered, materials can contribute feelings of discomfort and alienation. In aggregate, they can be significant contributors to climate change and other human-made calamities. It is self-evident that materials matter. Yet, materials are never isolated. They are experienced through phenomena such as light and sound and they exist in the context of other materials and technologies, within economic and political structures, and in forms that afford new possibilities. Matter intends to explore a range of socio-cultural, political, historical, and technological questions concerning the nature of materials in architecture and design.
Materials articulate architecture and profoundly influenced the form and content of the built environment. In the early nineteenth century, avant-garde architects struggled to emancipate architecture from the tyranny of two fundamental historical modes: the trabeated mode, bound to the physical characteristics of timber, and the arcuated mode, bound to the physical characteristics of masonry. Advances in the production of inexpensive structural-grade iron precipitated a revolution as new forms and proportions were increasingly possible. At the turn of the twentieth century, structural steel provided the catalyst for another architectural revolution, further heightened by developments in reinforced concrete. And now, in the early decades of the twenty-first century, mass timber, utilizing the only major renewable structural material, holds the promise for another architectural revolution in the struggle to combat climate change. A holistic understanding of Matter includes an examination of social, cultural, and historical uses of materials. What does an analysis of material industries reveal about our evolving culture of building? Are there new understandings of the relationship between material and human experience? How are material innovations responding to the challenges of our time?
Contemporary advancements in material exploration are, on several orders of magnitude, more rapid and divergent than ever before. As society increasingly reckons with the consequences of a petroleum-based economy, researchers are looking for opportunities to construct our built environment with materials that are beneficial to the natural world; from carbon-sequestration to habitat management and creation. At the same time, researchers are exploring ways to reduce energy demands with smarter materials and assemblies. From phase-changing materials to nanomaterials to robotic fabrication, technology is opening new frontiers. Biological materials, such as fungi and algae, are expanding the range of organic and renewable materials beyond timber and grasses; and biological processes, including microorganic activity, are contributing to this transformation. Even seemingly-anachronistic materials, such as raw earth, are being reconsidered. How are current material investigations responding to rapid climate change and the imperative for sustainability? What methodologies are researchers using to explore and test materials? How are designers, material scientists, and others engaging in material innovation, developing patents, and influencing business practices? How are emergent materials and cyber-physical processes altering the arc of architecture and design?
TAD: Matter seeks contributions of primary research and scholarship concerning material investigations in technology, architecture, and design. Manuscripts for the double-blind peer review are due before 11:59 pm Eastern Time on Wednesday, January 15, 2020. Please reference the TAD Author Guide for manuscript submission requirements.
Closed to Submissions
From new design procedures, to the physical testing of materials and production techniques, to alternative construction methods and workflows, the process of advancing an architectural concept from initial idea to full material realization makes use of a broad array of strategies. For its upcoming issue, TAD seeks scholarly submissions, creative design, and primary research that investigate the means by which the design concept becomes translated into the built environment.
Physical testing has long been valued as an aid to concept realization. While digital models and virtual tools provide an affordable and ubiquitous alternative, prototyping remains a powerful means of exploring design options, vetting technologies, rehearsing processes, addressing performance uncertainties, assessing user experience, and gaining stakeholder consensus. Testing prior to and while building have enabled designers to advance construction methods, inform building code development, and initiate new workflows. How are testing methods diversifying, and how are these various methods impacting the design and decision-making processes? TAD invites research projects and papers that investigate the impact of rigorous testing methods on the Translation of ideas into construction.
Investigations of translation benefit from a consideration of the underlying organizational structures that enable architectural production. Throughout the last three decades, the Architecture, Engineering, Construction, and Owner community (AECO) has developed frameworks, certifications, and rating systems in order to contend with the economic, social, environmental, and regulatory contexts in which they must operate. Concurrently, business models, procurement and delivery systems, and contractual agreements have also evolved, creating opportunities to reconceive formats for design services and outputs. Are new organizational forms emerging as a result, and if so, are they leading to transformations in architecture practice and production? How are these practice innovations being implemented and evaluated? Translation invites research that examines both historical and emerging ecologies of practice.
Necessarily, research on translating design concepts into realized projects must take into consideration the emerging technologies of design, construction, and maintenance. The adoption of virtual and augmented reality across AECO sectors, for example, has democratized the design process while increasing support for those who build. Prefabrication and modularization offer the promise of reduced uncertainty surrounding project costs and scheduling. Proliferating methods for collecting project and site data have provided greater fidelity to the interrelationship of labor, design, and construction. How are these and other technologies changing the processes by which design ideas are realized? How are workflows and collaboration among project agents being altered by greater efficiencies in production, streamlined communication, and automation of labor? TAD invites papers and projects that critically interrogate the development, deployment, and impact of the technologies of Translation.
By examining these and related questions, Translation will expand the discourse around developments in the field and assess their implications for future practice. Manuscripts for the double-blind peer review are due before 11:59 pm Eastern Time on Saturday, June 15, 2019, at TADjournal.org. See TAD Author Guide for manuscript submission requirements.
Closed to submissions
TECHNOLOGY | ARCHITECTURE + DESIGN (TAD) invites submissions of original research from scholars, practitioners, researchers, and students to be considered for the upcoming OPEN issue. From theoretical and empirical research to research methodologies, critical reviews, and case studies, this OPEN call welcomes all work that seeks to establish critical areas of research, development, and application in architectural design and technology.
Constant innovation in building technologies such as building materials, construction, computer-mediated design tools, automation, and virtual reality has yielded a strong impetus to value the expansion of research-based inquiry and method development in architecture. Adapting to an era of research-driven insights, practitioners and scholars alike are developing a more defined, functional, and analytical perspective on evidence, experiments, and accuracy in forecasts. This OPEN issue provides a forum for established and emerging talent to share insights from diverse perspectives about state-of-the-art research.
Data has been and continues to be essential to architectural research and practice. The definitions of data differ across fields, types, and methods, depending on the context in which the research question is proposed. In architectural and associated research disciplines, data can be tangible and intangible, experimental and simulation-based, numerical and textual, auditory and visual, or a representation of information. All types of research data are increasingly understood by architectural researchers and practitioners to be important inputs for research and practice. As evidenced by the international movement towards OPEN research and OPEN data, data outputs are also valued to advance knowledge, expand opportunities, and improve outcomes in architectural research. This issue is OPEN to various forms and applications of data that intellectually combine technology, architecture, and design, and provide novel framings, quests, and proposed solutions.
TAD is OPEN to all research methods including qualitative, quantitative, mixed, design studies, historical, correlational, causal-comparative, and experimental. We are also interested in how the concept of data is used within your research realm. What data and analytics are used in your research, and why? How do the norms and conventions of your discipline affect your determination of data formats and methods of visualization? How is data generated in the course of your work? This issue, like TAD itself, is OPEN to your creativity and your discoveries. Manuscripts for the double-blind peer review are due before 11:59 pm Eastern Time on Tuesday, January 15, 2019, at TADjournal.org. Manuscript submissions must follow the standards found in the TAD Author Guide.
Published: March 26, 2019
Urbanizing is an active process. More than half of the world’s population now lives in cities, and by the year 2050 greater than two-thirds will be urban dwellers due to migration and increased birth rates. Meanwhile, our urban footprint comprises only 3% of the earth’s surface, establishing a density that imbues the effects of past decision-making, and underscores the importance of future ones. We find ourselves now accelerating into global urbanization with neither the certainty of past slowness nor the benefit of applicable precedents. As the rate of urbanization outpaces its research outcomes, a groundswell of problem-oriented research is needed.
While cities are shaped by differentiated forces in context-specific combinations, their respective urban dwellers experience many similar problems. Housing shortages, supply chains and lifeline infrastructure systems warrant assessment and demand solutions. Acute shocks and chronic stresses prompt resilience, and environmental impacts compel drawdown. The sharing economy elicits new policies, and autonomous technologies await testing in the urban realm. At the same time, municipal leaders are desperate for civic innovation and seek to initiate smart city capacities as technological readiness and fiscal cycles allow.
Questions about research in the urban space include but are not limited to:
What are the constraints that define urban problems and how have they developed over time? What are the legacy, state-of-the-art, and foreseeable technologies for use in future urban habitats and what are their anticipated effects? What are the interdependencies between architectural amenities and infrastructural systems that enable urban dwelling and how effectively can we address their challenges? How ought we design, construct and analyze cities in their specific contexts for improving future urban dwelling?
Both basic and applied research are necessary for advancing disciplinary expertise, and initiating interdisciplinary engagement on urban solutions for use in this twenty first century. A range of generative and analytical action will also be necessary including the methodological assessment of existing conditions, the generation of design-actionable research, and the authoring of inventive designs. Urbanizing seeks to attract, collect, and forge a combined body of knowledge for use in our inevitably urban future.
TECHNOLOGY | ARCHITECTURE + DESIGN (TAD) invites original research from educators, practitioners, researchers, scholars, architects, engineers, and scientists whose work on the active process of Urbanizing engages the fields of technology, architecture, or design. Manuscripts featuring empirical, theoretical, and practice-based research utilizing an array of methodologies are welcome. Manuscripts for double-blind peer-review are due before 11:59pm Eastern Time on Saturday, June 30, 2018 to TADjournal.org. Standards for peer-review manuscripts can be found in the TAD Journal Author Guide.
 Biello, David. “Gigalopolises: Urban Land Area May Triple by 2030,” Scientific American, September 18, 2012.
Published: November 29, 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.
Published: April 2, 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 1, 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 1, 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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