Co-Designers: Cultures of Computer Simulation in Architecture

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Routledge, Jun 14, 2012 - Architecture - 154 pages

Designers employ a variety of tools and techniques for speculating about buildings before they are built. In their simplest form, these are personal thought experiments. However, embracing advanced computer simulations means engaging a network of specialized people and powerful machines. In this book, Yanni Alexander Loukissas demonstrates that new tools have profound implications for the social distribution of design work; computer simulations are technologies for collective imagination.

Organized around the accounts of professional designers engaged in a high-stakes competition to redefine their work for the technological moment, this book explores the emerging cultures of computer simulation in architecture. Not only architects, but acousticians, fire safety engineers, and sustainability experts see themselves as co-designers in architecture, engaging new technologies for simulation in an evolving search for the roles and relationships that can bring them both professional acceptance and greater control over design. By illustrating how practices of simulation inform the social relationships and professional distinctions that define contemporary architecture, the book examines the cultural transformations taking place in design practice today.


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List of Illustration Credits
Chapter 1
Boundaries of Architecture
The Engineer the Architect and the Computer
Social Lives of Simulations
Navigating this Book
Chapter 2
Expectations and Limitations
One Simulation Many Possible Realities
Simulations in Competition
Total Simulation
Regulating Simulations
Chapter 5
Personal Form
Disciplinary Form

Architecture in Flux
The Difficulty of Defining Simulation
The Shared Space of Alternatives
Beyond Instrumentality
Biography of a Simulation
Designers as Toolmakers
Designers as Operators
Chapter 3
The Acoustician
The Structural Engineer
The Fire Safety Engineer
A System of Identities
Chapter 4
Whither the Generalist?
Specialized Systems of Knowledge
Intent and Performance
Preserving the Intent
Repeat Performances
Performance by Intent
Pluralists at Play
Chapter 6
The Limits of Narrative
From Narrative to Theater
Chapter 7
NonProfessional Narratives

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About the author (2012)

Yanni Alexander Loukissas is a Postdoctoral Associate in the Program in Science, Technology, and Society (STS) at MIT. He has also been a Visiting Lecturer in the Department of Architecture at Cornell University. He holds an SM and a PhD in Design and Computation from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), as well as a BArch from Cornell University.

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