ARC 617 DIS/DMS 606

ARC 617 DIS/DMS 606– Code and Space

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Course Details

Course No.: 24817

Department: Architecture

Semester: 2018 Fall

Location: Crosby – 201

Meeting Day(s): Monday

Meeting Time: 8:10AM - 10:50AM

Faculty: Geitsweidt

There is a pivotal scene in The Matrix where Neo, pushed to exhaustion by his struggle with Smith, has an epiphany. As he raises his head he notices the floor, the walls, the ceiling, in fact all of reality, including Smith and the other agents, has transformed into a cascading stream of neon green digits. Everything is code, and it is here that Neo, the Chosen One, comes to understand his true power: if all of reality is a computer program, then time and space may be manipulated by a few keystrokes. Though The Matrix may be a work of fiction, the over-arching proposal that code somehow manifests, monitors, evaluates, configures, filters, regulates, or otherwise mediates our physical, social, and cultural relationships is, at this point, without question. Code is the silent partner of civilization, quietly humming along in the background in a parallel dimension which overlays our own, an invisible architecture which typically becomes apparent when something goes horribly wrong.


As computational devices become smaller, more ubiquitous, and interconnected by pervasive networks, computation becomes a constituent material by which we construct space and create place. In order to effectively and efficiently code space, we must understand the affordances computation, and by extension, computers provide to the prospective designer, architect, media artist, and/or engineer. How do computers sense the world, how do they comprehend time and space, what defines their decision making processes, and by what means do they directly interact with the physical world?


Code and Space is a fast-paced design workshop aimed at providing students with an introduction to both the tools and concepts required for creating objects, spaces, and media that sense and respond to their physical surroundings. Topics include the foundational elements of computing (languages, the abstract representations of thought, space, and time), embodied interaction (situated actions, responsive systems), practical aspects of hardware design (electricity, electronics, microprocessors, components, sensors and actuators), functional programming (variables, data types, control structures, functions, objects) and basic networking principles (topologies, protocols). This is an introductory course. No prior expertise in computing required, though curiosity about how things work is a must.


This workshop will be closely coordinated with ARC 619: Architecture and the Information Environment and ARC 603: (re)seeking architecture: contingent spaces and the limits of predictability.


There is no spoon.