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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 below.

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 ideas.

All the best, Yana Boeva and Vernelle A Noel

  1. Critical Computational Relations of Design, Architecture and the Built Environment

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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