Pardon the appearance.

I’ve shifting from building word-press sites for each course (2013/14) to running closed systems from google drive (2015/2016). Active courses and taught syllabi are posted to the right.

Below are abstracts for potential courses, for landscape, that I am unlikely to have the opportunity to teach given my current Landscape department’s size (small).

 

Massaging Media

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This elective seminar critically reconsiders the recent disciplinary shift to ‘performative’ diagrams, parametric scripting, simulation, etc. as embedded in a much longer lineage of conventional instrumentalism. Since the course will span architecture, landscape, geography, and occasional engineering tools, each week will take up a general technique in order to construct a comparative ‘iconology’ of historic drawing types. Dissecting three comparative cases per technique/tool, the course aims to locate the historically specific effects/performance of each representation while simultaneously mapping the transhistorical potentials in play. Although non-design students are welcome, the particular emphasis on (serial) variations of general types is to encourage design students to embrace and instrumentalize these disciplinary conventions for formal imaging as cultural comment/projection. Twisting McLuhan’s observation that ‘the medium is the message/massage,’ the class seeks to examine how media has been massaged, i.e. manipulated to exaggerate those constructive possibilities and interrogate how they might rhetorically ‘play’ conventions in their own project visualization.

 

Computing Climate

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With the advent of mobile and ubiquitous computing, much of the early, architectural infatuation with virtual spaces (actualizing splines, blobs, etc.) has given way to an interest in how parametric formalism might translate into an invigorated emphasis on phenomenal interfaces and programmatic interaction.  In landscape urbanism, digital reception has largely been concerned with the novel logistical parameters and intensive threshold sites of dispersed, global markets. This advanced research studio hybridizes these perspectives, using the industrial ecologies of silicon chip manufacture as a spring board to explore the big-data flows of materials and energy aside sited, programmatic interactions.

Focused on the new electronics plants at Schenectady/Malta, New York, students will research how computer chips’ resource streams, production, logistics, and environmental systems (clean room HAVC/electricity) can be woven into industrial ecologies with generative potential for the urban, regional landscape. Working from the intensive details of volumetric processes to global consumer markets, students will explore how the closed manufacturing campus can be re-thought as a public/private resource realm; their alternate ecologies, economies and public programming catalyzing regenerative responses to the last two centuries of industry on the Hudson and Mohawk Rivers.

PROCESSING FOR LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE

This introduction to Processing focuses on 2D drawing, reading, and coding. It is designed to a) give student a handle on the basic code and the re-combinatory structure of nested/looped systems b) show them how to utilize and integrate outside imagery/vector and data files to move between Processing, the Adobe suite, and GIS and c) through group exercises and individual assignments, build up from simple objects to the linked, timed interaction of parameters within a field. The end goal is to encourage the scripting of small scale environmental scenarios.  These should enable students to import and test typological variations of schematic grading, plant choices, etc. and use the feedback to both document process (for presentation/argument) and/or refine their design decisions.

Some of the tools generated will be familiar to students: height field and raster spatial analysis (gis), material flows and animated fills (real flow), sequenced drawing and tweening (flash/after effects). Working with and integrating these tools, via nested code, has two advantages. First, on a conceptual level, reading and writing within the conditional structures of processing should given student both a general idea of how gis ‘thinks’ and make explicit the way processes, thresholds, effects and interactions are defined in a computational environment. In short, this should demystify algorithmic design, its limits and active assumptions, while exploring practical use (outside of architectural agendas). Second, while the workshop samples will be fairly simple models, they should be seen as building blocks for other projects, foundations for additional refinement of code/complexity.  The goal is not to write one-off programs, but rather think thru and compose models for addressing typical landscape systems. With data and image input, as well as code revision, students can then create variants for specific projects.