The Center for Architecture and Situated Technologies [CAST] is located within the Department of Architecture at the University at Buffalo. Its work and concerns are best described in terms of its interests and outcomes.
1. The Center’s Interests
CAST is devoted to work on the evolving and growing implications of new technologies within the built environment: social, political, ecological, and material. Our various research efforts address the impact of mobile and embedded computing, wireless networks, responsive systems and cybernetics on architecture and the city today. We consider issues like context, embodied interaction and performance as important, rapidly evolving characteristics to contemporary architecture and the city.
We study issues of techné and of technology that are ever-present in architectural discourse, but which have taken on new meanings and questions with the advent of new forms of human-computer interaction. These forms often originate in computer science and in engineering, and include the development of ubiquitous computing, physical computing, as well as parametric modeling and digital fabrication techniques.
One result of these new technologies is an opportunity and a demand for architectural study and practice to reshape their disciplinary boundaries and methods. With this shift, the role of research in the design studio – historical and theoretical as well as material and technological research – grows vitally important and must be rethought. Our Center’s research, pedagogy, design work and discourse are unique as a single group within a major research university, devoted to methodically addressing these emerging issues.
2. The Center’s Outcomes
CAST’s work takes a variety of forms, reflecting our interest in testing new working methods that cross research with design and pedagogy.
Our outcomes fall into three major categories:
Pedagogy: The Situated Technologies Research Group
Research and Design
Discourse: Publications, Exhibitions, CASTing Calls
The pedagogical branch of the Center is the Situated Technologies Research Group, a graduate research curriculum within the University at Buffalo’s accredited Master of Architecture program. This curriculum offers students the opportunity to delve deeply into studio practice, intellectual domain and technical methods related to emerging issues around situated technologies in architecture and the built environment.
Since 2009, coursework has taken on an annual theme to build a broad discourse around vitally important issues today. Our inaugural curricular theme was “Atmospheres.”
Our website reflects this mixture and exchange between pedagogy, research and design works: specific themes or participants in CAST’s work cross between coursework, publications, exhibitions and discursive undertakings. One can browse the current workings of CAST through the matrix of thumbnails, or search according to specifically tagged content.
Hyperculture is a design platform that operates on the dual role of the Earth as interface.
Gravity Screens are part of a research project exploring computationally inspired and augmented materials for responsive architecture
Sentient City explores the experience of living in a city that employs networked digital technologies to remember, correlate, and anticipate.
A graduate design studio that develops responsive architecture for the NYC subway and addresses environmental health problems.
An exhibition critically exploring the evolving relationship between ubiquitous computing, architecture and urban space.
The Situated Technologies Pamphlets series explores the implications of ubiquitous computing for architecture and urbanism.
Day For Night was a temporary architectural environment that operated on the street life of downtown San Jose, California […]
A responsive architecture that adapts to crowds by sensing the changing carbon dioxide in the air.
An infrared urban screen for promoting dialogue and interaction between remote publics.
Zero Atmosphere Architecture discusses architecture, human computer interaction and Earth ecology discourse in the context of design for outer space.
The Tactical Sound Garden [TSG] is an open source software platform for cultivating public “sound gardens” in contemporary cities.
Investigating how natural and artificial atmospheric systems can serve as models for the design, analysis and interpretation of the architecture of urban environments.
An exhibition of student and faculty research work in responsive materials.
de Monchaux at Jordan Geiger’s Zero Atmosphere Architecture seminar, discusses HCI and architecture in his book Space Suit and project Local Code.
A graduate research studio that explores the atmosphere of the freeway and proposes various responsive architecture that engage its ecology.
Propagative Urbanism is a way of thinking about shaping the architecture of urban space in terms of a bottom-up, participatory approach to the evolution of cities.
A variable event structure designed to raise awareness of issues surrounding the wireless topography of urban environments.
A technic course that introduces students to parametric design and rapid prototyping technologies.
This course introduces basic concepts and techniques for creating objects, spaces and media that sense and respond to their physical surroundings.
The Sentient City Survival Kit is a design research project that explores the social, cultural and political implications of ubiquitous computing for urban environments.