Network Architecture Lab Established

Why has this blog been so barren lately? Am I giving up on the Net? No! Far from it. I have, however, been a little busy lately. Now that the project is safely established, we can announce that…

AUDC Establishes Network Architecture Lab

@ Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation

Formed in 2001, AUDC [Architecture Urbanism Design Collaborative] specializes in research as a form of practice. The AUDC Network Architecture Lab is an experimental unit at Columbia University that embraces the studio and the seminar as venues for architectural analysis and speculation, exploring new forms of research through architecture, text, new media design, film production and environment design.

Specifically, the Network Architecture Lab investigates the impact of computation and communications on architecture and urbanism. What opportunities do programming, telematics, and new media offer architecture? How does the network city affect the building? Who is the subject and what is the object in a world of networked things and spaces? How do transformations in communications reflect and affect the broader socioeconomic milieu? The NetLab seeks to both document this emergent condition and to produce new sites of practice and innovative working methods for architecture in the twenty-first century. Using new media technologies, the lab aims to develop new interfaces to both physical and virtual space.

The NetLab is consciously understood as an interdisciplinary unit, establishing collaborative relationships with other centers both at Columbia and at other institutions.

The NetLab begins operations in September 2006.

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The Next Googleplex

Is exurbia the next frontier for massive digital infrastructure projects? The New York Times explores the construction of the Googleplex on a remote site in The Dalles, Oregon, on the banks of the Columbia River. Google paid $1.3 million for 30 acres! They’re going to be paying a lot more to hook up fiber to the grid out there. Is this a response to the concentrated nature of telecoms in cities? Of course, if you have sufficient means, any place can be made a command and control center for the global city. Silicon Valley was once farmland as well.

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Architecture Jobs Following Buildings to Asia

As I’ve been predicting for some time, architecture is beginning to learn from other fields and is starting to outsource design work to developing countries in Asia such as India. Read more in this article from India’s Financial Express.

If the building boom continues, of course all is well, but if the bubble bursts, what lies in store for the profession in the US, Europe, and Japan? A radical shake-out of lower-end jobs? Even without the bubble bursting, the field has traditionally been bottom-heavy. Outsourcing threatens that, jeopardizing the future of more marginal schools of architecture that can’t produce top-quality students. At the same time, it creates new possiblities for architects in developing countries.

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Insourcing(?) at Outsourcing Centers

Bruce Sterling’s blog carries a piece on how British backpackers and Britons of Indian origin are taking jobs in Indian call-centers, the former doing so to extend their vacations, the latter to see their country of origin. See Brit backpackers take Indian call-centre jobs and the original in The Independent

But the New York Times observes that it’s not just low-wage, low-skill jobs that are going abroad. Increasingly, High Tech jobs are heading overseas.