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Message posted on 15/02/2021

4S 2021 Open Panel CfP: Critical Computational Relations of Design, Architecture and the Built Environment

                +++ apologies for cross-posting +++

Dear colleagues,

We would like to invite you to submit an abstract to our 4S 2021
 open panel, "Critical Computational
Relations of Design, Architecture and the Built Environment
“ (#51). You can also find our abstract

The annual meeting is scheduled for October 6-9 and will be a hybrid format
(online/Toronto, Canada). The deadline for abstract submissions is March 8th.
All details about submissions can be found here

Please share widely with your networks and contact us with any questions or

All the best,
Yana Boeva and Vernelle A Noel

51. Critical Computational Relations of Design, Architecture and the Built

When it comes to computational methods in design, architecture, and the built
environment, practices and relations aspire for “neutral” and
“optimized” techno-solutions to design problems. Portrayal of these
computational tools and methods as neutral platforms enabling participation in
design hides the social, political, and racial entanglements involved in their
creation and expansion (Nakamura 2014; Bridle 2018; Benjamin 2019). The
narrative of neutrality conceals the power computer-aided design (CAD)
software monopolies hold and absolves them from their negative social effects.
It also obscures their values and relations to injustice, racism, and
inequality. Another goal of the CAD industry is the continuous ambition for
optimization which has gone through phases of form, fabrication, and now data
(Marble 2018). Optimization through fabrication in computational architecture
and design includes the push for industrial off-site construction with
robotics, manufacturing assemblies, and technologies. Optimization through
data includes new forms of automation and machine intelligence to free
designers from the toll of repetitive and non-creative tasks. In conversation
with the 2021 conference theme, we invite scholarship that seeks to understand
and uncover the power relations between (commercial) CAD systems,
computational design practices, education, and their reproductions of
oppressions at multiple scales. What does optimization really mean, and who
benefits? What do we gain and lose in this never-ending goal of optimization
and the apparent disappearance of humans from the process? Our goal is to shed
light on and conceptualize the power relations between computational design,
the built environment, and society.

Keywords: computation, technology, design, architecture, power

Yana Boeva, PhD
Postdoctoral Researcher, University of Stuttgart
Institute for Social Sciences | Cluster of Excellence "Integrative
Computational Design and Construction for Architecture
”  |

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