System Stalker Lab 5.0

September 2014 to December 2014
Project Lead(s): 

Supporting Teaching Team:
Matthew Spremulli, Co-Instructor
Connor O'Grady, Teaching Assistant

System Stalker Lab (SSL) is an introductory exploration of design computing, aiming to instill awareness of the structures, processes, and opportunities necessary to develop a design practice inclusive of computational strategies and techniques. Such a practice requires that designers expand their notion of digital methodologies to include the fundamental paradigms of computer science. At the core of such a practice is close attention to the organization of information and the use of rule-based logical processes to automate (or compute) in a meaningful way.

Owing to the fact that SSL is delivered in a studio environment and not simply as an elective, the studio is able not only deliver a foundation in computation but also to test what opportunities emerge from including it in an architectural project. On the one hand, introduction to and operation within an unfamiliar domain such as design computing requires a commitment to skills-based instruction where students can learn the conceptual and technical frameworks of the discipline. On the other hand, the traditions of the design studio require that students engage in their projects in a critical, robust and rigorous manner. To accommodate both of these imperatives the course is divided into two phases: The first phase focused on encouraging the students to become computational and the second phase testing the potentials of this new approach to architectural design.

The first phase of the studio (approx. 4 weeks) focuses on building a workable foundation in algorithmic thinking, representation and programming. The structure of this phase consists of two parallel streams, a project stream and a workshop stream, that converge in a final exercise. The remaining time in the studio (approx. 9 weeks) to be used to test, reinforce and expand on these foundations in a more open-ended design project. The complexity of the project brief is deliberately kept simple so as to allow students to selectively foreground their explorations in design computation.

[image credit: System Stalker Lab 4.0, 2013, Natalie Bellefleur and Cam Parkin, A MACHINE FOR RE[VITAL]IZATION]>

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