Dr. Daniel Cardoso Llach

Daniel Cardoso Llach is an Assistant Professor at the School of Architecture at Carnegie Mellon University, where he chairs the Masters of Science in Computational Design and co-directs the CoDe Lab. He is currently a visiting scholar at the Martin Centre for Architectural and Urban Studies at the University of Cambridge, UK. His work explores problems ranging from the cultural history of design technologies, the politics of representation and participation in software, and new data visualization methods examining design as a socio-technical phenomenon. His recent research includes a book on the intellectual history of Computer-Aided Design and numerical control: « Builders of the Vision: Software and the Imagination of Design, 2015 (Routledge). Other publications include: «Software Comes to Matter: Towards a Material History of Computational Design», in: DesignIssues 31 (2015), and «Algorithmic Tectonics: How Cold War Era Research Shaped Our Imagination of Design», in: AD Architectural Design 83, (2014). www.dcardo.com



Software Infrastructures and Design – Histories, Media and Methods

My project is to elucidate the emergence of a new infrastructural condition for design practices linked to software and digital networks, and to develop a theoretical and methodological framework for the study of the new modes of design that it has elicited. It extends my previous work on the intellectual history of Computer-Aided Design in the United States and on new data tools for visualizing building design as a socio-digital phenomenon.

At MECS, my project will develop chiefly along two related threads. First, the analysis of primary archival and oral sources from the international network of researchers who, during the 1960s and 70s, collaborated on the definition of the first computer graphics and numerical control applications —particularly at MIT and at the University of Cambridge. Expanding on research presented in my previous book, I will work towards revealing the social, material and intellectual supports of this transatlantic process of technological innovation, highlighting its role in the ongoing realignment of design disciplines around simulations and in configuring a condition where software and digital networks become infrastructural for design practices —specially architectural production. 

The second thread of the project will consider recent advances in data and media studies to outline new methods for the analysis of design processes performed within this infrastructural condition. Considering the data produced by contemporary ecologies of design production (e.g. e-mail and timestamps to digital files, algorithms, simulations, sensor data and conflict logs) as research sites, including some in my previous work, I will work towards building a theoretical and methodological framework for examining the increasingly collective, geographically distributed and digitally mediated production of our built environment.