SURE: Architecture

Architecture

 

ARCH-001: Canada's CAD, 1960-1980

Professor Theodora Vardouli

theodora.vardouli [at] mcgill.ca
514.398.6709

Research Area

computer aided design, history of architecture and computation, postwar Canadian research institutions

Description

This SURE project seeks to identify work on computer aided design pursued in the context of Canadian academic and industrial research from 1960-1980. It is inscribed within a broader project that looks at research networks and mobilities of technical practices of computational design in postwar North America, before the advent of commercial software applications. The student will use a database of research activity on systematic design methods and computer aided design produced in the context of a SURE 2018 project supervised by Vardouli. In addition, the student will draw from the National Research Council of Canada archives, the University of Toronto archives, the Bell-Northern Research archives, and several conferences on computer graphics and design automation. The student will identify key research projects and catalogue computer program prototypes produced in their context. The project will place emphasis on visual artifacts produced in the context of these projects. The student’s work will include redrawing of visual material (diagrams, screenshots, demos…) developed within these projects and possibly software reconstructions.

Tasks

1. Archival work to identify key projects on computer-aided design in postwar Canadian academic and industrial research.
2. Redrawing of figures and software reconstructions (simulation of obsolete or unrealized programs).

 

Deliverables

1. An illustrated and annotated catalogue of computer aided design programs developed in postwar Canada. 2. (At least) one computer script simulating (at least) one of the identified programs.

Number of positions

1

Academic Level

No preference

ARCH-002: Flow in Buildings: Dynamic Modelling in the University of Cambridge

Professor Theodora Vardouli & Salmaan Craig

theodora.vardouli [at] mcgill.ca
514.398.6709

Research Area

history of environmental design, history of architecture, computational modeling

Description

This SURE project is part of a broader genealogy of models and analogues of flow in buildings. Flow is construed broadly here to encompass from bodies and things to energy and air. We are interested in conceptual and technical apparatuses that architects have developed, adopted, or adapted to think about the dynamic phenomena that animate built form — their lineages, trajectories across different disciplinary and epistemic boundaries, and implications for contemporary architectural practice. Understanding the histories, limitations, and lost possibilities, of different ways of thinking about and imagining flow is timely and pressing, especially as many of these models are currently enlisted to think about (socially and environmentally) sustainable design. This SURE project focuses specifically at the University of Cambridge, UK: an important centre of building science, mathematics and computation, and environmental modeling in architecture. The project includes the following steps: 1. The student will start with compiling a broad bibliography on modelling dynamic phenomena and conceptualizing flow in late 19th and 20th century, drawing from literature in history of science and architectural history. 2. Then, using the Cambridge University Archives, the student will collect and catalogue models of flow in buildings developed in the Department of Engineering, the Department of Architecture (in particular the Land Use Built Form Studies Centre), and Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics in the University from 1875-1990. Particular focus will be placed models implemented in the University's Mathematical (or Computer) Laboratory. We are interested in how these mathematical models relate with physical analogues of dynamic phenomena and the place of empirical intuitions in abstract computational modeling. 3. The student will conduct a preliminary study of the afterlife and applications of these models, in postwar UK and internationally, leading up to the present. 4. Finally, the student will recreate some of these models through diagramming, physical making, or scripting. The final deliverable will be an annotated catalogue of models of flow discovered through the student’s research.

Tasks

1. Compile and synthesize history of science and history of architecture literature on dynamic modeling late 19th and 20th century
2. Identify and catalogue models of flow in buildings developed at the University of Cambridge, 1875-1990
3. Collect application cases for some of the identified models in contemporary simulation software or architectural education and practice.
4. Recreate some of the identified models via drawing, physical making, or scripting.

Deliverables

An annotated catalogue (illustrations and comparative analysis within a taxonomic framework) of dynamic models in Cambridge, 1875-1990.

Number of positions

1

Academic Level

No preference