Master of Architecture II Fall 2017


Associate Professor Adjunct Pablo Lorenzo-Eiroa

The Urbanism of Information: The Post-Digital as an Expansion of Design Authorship
What determines the design of a city? Why should we address the development of our cities as space-environments? What are the technologies available to represent environments? How can we understand the influence of computer codes, the internet, and media in architecture and city design and planning? How can we de-code an architecture of information? What is the emerging Urbanism of Information?

Computation has become now a new cognitive plateau across any subject of study, making computer science relevant across all disciplines. New technologies enable new lenses to see reality, which as a consequence, inform it. An architecture of information implies that it may be more relevant today to address architecture through the development of new informational systems. Instead of understanding architecture as the design of objects, buildings, spaces, environments, and urban spaces, an architecture of information implies informing reality in real time through computation, displacing structures to activate cultural agendas. 

We have been witnessing new forms of urbanism, or at least new means that inform urban conditions, from how we experience cities to how we relate to each other in cities, comparable with the main revolutionary shifts in history that transformed the way our cities were planned and designed. Urbanism is now undergoing a transformation in the series of layers that transformed the built environment through history. This ongoing transitory urban transformation is based on surveying reality and understanding the potentialities in emerging systems that can be informed. The following phase is making the form of information systems, the form of the algorithms that inform the city, their signal distribution and information organization, an issue in itself. The city is tending to become an idealized machinic optimized plateau that is constantly informed and shifting, providing a new kind of idealized reality in which the form of the system and its optimization becomes the new implied idealized version of our built environment. This ideal information-based plateau is becoming in itself a destination in the form of the new city-environment. This ideal form can also be displaced, critiqued, and re-represented, activating cultural agendas in an urbanism of information.

The studio designed a critical ideal city. An ideal city thought from a determinate interface or software or computer language that critiques its own constitution and medium. The class was based on the issues raised in the book Architecture in Formation (Lorenzo-Eiroa, Pablo and Sprecher, Aaron Ed., Routledge, London, 2013).

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  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.