Mechatronic Space

The beginning of the 20th century promised a paradigm shift in human life and community as industry and innovation in engineering and science brought about a density of technological changes. These changes promised to undermine the social stratification in the new age of Modernity. For architects this future would be in the transformation of our homes and cities.
If there is a paradigm shift in how we think, and in how we design, there must also be a theory or a course of evaluation in which to gauge its consequence.
As architecture incorporates emerging media and technologies, new design processes and new conditions of inhabitation are produced. With the current rate of circuit speed and capacity, and electro‐mechanical components now available – where access was only to industry and institutions – electronics and mechanisms can be made and quickly tested as never before. The implications of this prototyping require a measured and structured historiography to temper the exuberance that comes with only fascination for the medium.
This seminar will examine the design methods of dynamic relationships in architecture. We will make counterpoints to architectural texts of modernity, post-war and other writings as seen in contemporary design and new media arts. There will be one part research paper based on readings, one part prototype that tests a hypothesis that yields results for the research paper.

  1. The coursework will be evaluated through seminar participation and completion of group assignments.
  2. The course will be organized as a series of workshops and lectures by the course instructors and invited speakers.
  3. We will develop group assignments that will lead to the production of full-scale prototypes that demonstrate an active behavior using input (ex. sensor technologies), processing, and output (actuated response or digital interface) to reflect a machine agency.
  4. We will write a two-page position paper (abstract) – based on preliminary data from the prototype – that is ready for publication and submission to conferences.