The Media[ted] Studio - Data Ubiquity and Contemporary Experience 

ARCH 573 | Spring 2014
Associate Professor John Stallmeyer 


This studio will ask you to speculate on the meaning and materiality of a future architecture and urbanism under the influence of Information and Communications Technology (ICT). We will explore the influence of ICT as the principle mediator of contemporary human existence and the potential for future architectures and urbanisms that leverage our ubiquitous data culture.  

Our explorations will take two forms.  

First, we will leverage ICT to assist us in conceiving and representing our solutions. We will have access, in the studio, to several pieces of technology that will mediate our conceptions including a small format 3d laser scanner, a 3d printer dedicated to the studio and digital sketching environments for each student.  We will work in a hybrid Analog/Digital process.

At the same time you will have the opportunity to participate in a research project that explores the ability of ICT to mediate the design process working with colleagues at The Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) Stockholm.

Second, we will envision new urban objects from the scale of the urban to the human interface that employ ICT to improve the human condition.

We will undertake three projects during the semester:

PROJECT 1 – Mediated Mapping and Analysis

This project will provide the background needed for the second project and introduce several tools for use throughout the semester. We will conduct an analysis of our Chicago site, preparing a site map as well as our study models for the semester.

We will experiment with presenting our work on the open source web based SCALAR PROJECT from The Alliance for Networking Visual Culture.


Our site is Wabash Avenue from Harrison on the South to Wacker Dr. on the North.

PROJECT 2 Mediated Urbanism

Our second project will be an exploration of the nodes, hubs, and linking elements of a new urban infrastructure that leverages the built environment to enhance experience as this infrastructure intersects with the data environment to form a new hybrid Information Interface along the Wabash corridor. The southern node of this corridor offers the opportunity to develop an Information Repository/Hub linked to the culture and education district envisioned in the South Loop.

The intention is to explore the potential to create a series of objects and interfaces that augment urban experience. You will determine what this means at the several scales at which this infrastructure may operate, while engaging a concrete set of programmed elements developed by you through an initial programming exercise.

We will participate in a mediated review of this project with colleagues at The Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) Stockholm on Mar. 13 and 14 in preparation for our Mar. 21 final review of the project. This mediated review will serve not only to provide discussion on your proposals but also introduce us to the technology for use in the last project. The review will be coordinated with our colleagues at KTH who will be developing the mediation space for the review as part of a technology class there.

PROJECT 3 Competition

During the final 5 weeks of the semester we will participate in a competition selected with our collaborators in Sweden. You will have the option of working with a student from KTH.

As part of the research component of this project, those choosing to work with students from KTH will have the opportunity to test ICT collaboration tools in a synchronous and asynchronous process.


A small selected group of studio participants may have the opportunity to travel to Stockholm and work with our collaborators during Spring Break. While some funding is in place for this, the full funding and details are not complete at this time. We are hopeful that a percentage of the travel costs will be covered for each student traveling to Stockholm.  There is still the possibility that this may not come about, but it is a good possibility.


A selection of readings will contextualize our work.

Robins and Webster, Times of Technoculture, Routledge, 1999.

Coyne, Technoromanticism, MIT, 1999. Mosco, The Digital Sublime, MIT, 2004.