DR_SoM Digital Practice TU Graz 2019-Oct-24-27

DR_SoM Digital Practice TU Graz 2019-Oct-24-27

Design Research Series on Method – Session 7
5th ARENA Annual Conference
October 24th – 26th 2019 Graz University of Technology, Austria

Conference Website open for Registration
(early bird registration ends August 15th!)

Download Announcement as PDF
(Deadline for Abstracts was July 8th 2019)

Digital Practice

emerging possibilities in a shifting architectural profession

The seventh session of DR_SoM (Design Research Series on Method) will take place at Graz University of Technology. This event is also the 5th Annual Conference of the Architectural Research in Europe Network Association (ARENA). For the third time DR_SoM focuses on architectural research in practice, but for the first time with an emphasis on the digital. In particular, we want to hear about projects and practices that see digital technology as a new way to think and conceive of design. For more information on the theme, please read the Call for Abstracts, below.

If you would like to participate in the session, please send a concise description of the work you want to present of no more than 200 words (and any additional graphic material, if required) to hirschberg@tugraz.at until 8 July 2019 for consideration by the panel.

Note that full papers are not required as we recognize work in progress. However, participants are invited to write an illustrated paper afterwards, for publication in a booklet dedicated to this DR_SoM session.

Further information can be found at http://www.arena-architecture.eu

For any questions related to content of this seventh DR_SoM session in Graz please contact Urs Hirschberg at hirschberg@tugraz.at; for any questions related to practicalities and organisation please contact Katharina Jarz at katharina.jarz@tugraz.at. For any questions about the project of DR_SoM in general, contact Johan De Walsche at johan.dewalsche@uantwerpen.be


The digital is happening in architecture. No longer just in theory. In practice. Right here. Right now. Which is good, because, as we’re so often told, the digital is also our future. And this future will be big, as in Big Data. And artificial, as in Artificial Intelligence. And smart, as in Smart Buildings. And Smart Cities. And ubiquitous, as in Ubiquitous Computing. And robotic, as in Robotic Construction. And sustainable, needless to say. And of course it will all be driven by the most ubiquitous of acronyms: BIM, which stands for Building Information Modeling. When experts talk about these trends, they sometimes use a phrase that has itself become a famous acronym: TINA – There Is No Alternative.

Or is there?

Actually these experts have it backwards. The very essence of digitalization is that there are alternatives. Lots of them. Digital technology is nothing if not malleable. It can take on the most surprising forms because, in and of itself, it doesn’t have one. It’s just bits. So it’s always its own alternative. It provides a plethora of opportunities.

The drive towards the digital can be a curse for those who are overwhelmed by it, forced to change their ways of working, struggle to catch up with the latest software, pay large sums to train their teams in ways that end up making them less creative. But digital technology also empowers those that dare to build their own tools, to design their own workflows, their own ways of doing things. It rewards those that create their own ways of working, that use the digital to design the way they design.

In DR_SoM Digital Practice we’ll explore possibilities that are currently emerging in the realm of digital practice. We’ll debate new models of research in architecture and the novel types of practice they enable. We’ll discuss practical examples that illustrate the ongoing transition towards alternative design and building processes – as well as alternative business and cooperation models that the digital affords. In such examples research typically plays an important part. Not necessarily high-brow academic research, but down-to-earth applied and practical research into new ways of solving problems, of designing, constructing and marketing.

Start-ups have invented new ways of building and established themselves as designer-builder hybrids, defying traditional categories. Architects have become software developers for the profession (and others). New forms of collaboration are appearing, often across time zones and continents.

We are interested in hearing about new, applied architectural research as well as theoretical research that assesses the reality of digital practice. We invite architects, scholars and other professionals from the building industry to present their explorations into the world of emerging possibilities that is the architectural profession.

(short abstracts of max. 200 Words to hirschberg@tugraz.at by July 8th 2019)

DR_SoM is a project within the ARENA network for architectural research. www.arena-architecture.eu 

The DR_SoM panel consists of:

Urs Hirschberg (organizer and host);
Johan De Walsche, UAntwerpen (project leader);
Oya Atalay Franck, ZHAW Winterthur (project leader);
Roberto Cavallo, TUDelft (project leader);
Murray Fraser, UCL Bartlett;
Bernard Kormoss, ULG, Liège;
Flora Samuel, SoA Reading;
Torsten Schröder, TU Eindhoven;
Pieter Versteegh, ESA‐PSYCHE;
João Sequeira, UBI-Covilhã.