"A Social Dimension for Digital Architectural Practice" by Chris Speed

Chris Speed's PhD thesis seems very relevant for people interested in architecture and digital technologies, and more specifically the notion of "social navigation":

"Through a literature review of the introduction and development of digital technologies to architectural practice, the thesis identifies the inappropriate persistence of a number of overarching concepts informing architectural practice. In a review of the emergence and growth of ‘human geography’ it elaborates on the concept of the social production of space, which it relates to an analysis of emerging social navigation technologies. In so doing the thesis prepares the way for an integration of socially aware architecture with the opportunities offered by social computing."

As the author describes in his conclusion, the thesis:

"...adressed the research question by analysing how digital architecture had positioned itself without a social agenda through its adoption of a split model for time and space. It went on to discuss the way in which human geography, through an identification of social agency in the production of space, has demonstrated how a combined approach supports many new models for understanding experience. It introduced social navigation as a contemporary form of social computing that offers the methodological techniques for supporting the construction of digital architecture. The author's own art and design practice was reflected upon, as it was through this that a methodology was developed and applied to the large-scale design project, and evaluated through a substantial ethnographic study. "

What's interesting in his work is the different projects he designed to illustrate his theoretical claims. One my favorite is certainly the Random Lift button that I already mentioned here.

(Photo by Chris Speed)

Why do I blog this? I only had a glance to the whole thing because there's a lot of material in there but it looks like an impressive attempts to put together different theoretical bodies and design projects in a very coherent and relevant way to address the relationship between digital and physical space.