Publication

  • Architectural Intelligence: How Designers and Architects Created the Digital Landscape
    Molly Wright Steenson
    Author
    MIT Press, 2017
  • GRANTEE
    Molly Wright Steenson
    GRANT YEAR
    2017

MIT Architecture Machine Group, Mapping by Yourself, 1977, Cambridge, MA. Courtesy of Nicholas Negroponte.

Architectural Intelligence weaves together two histories: an architectural history of interactivity and an interactive history of architecture. The historical case studies in this book come from the architects who first began using computers, cybernetics, and artificial intelligence in the 1960s and 70s, and revolves around the work of Christopher Alexander, Richard Saul Wurman, Cedric Price, and Nicholas Negroponte, with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Architecture Machine Group. The book then traces the influence of these architects on a variety of digital practices including programming languages, information architecture, and other contemporary digital design practices from the late 1980s through the present. Architectural Intelligence also engages "architecting," a term favored by digital designers and programmers, to explore the stakes of expanding the boundaries of both architectural and digital practices, and to examine how architecture became a territory for the imagination of new digital worlds.

Molly Wright Steenson is associate professor in the School of Design at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU). She is also the chair of the Doctoral Design Program (DDes) and has a courtesy appointment with CMU’s School of Architecture. Steenson researches the history of architecture, design, and artificial intelligence from the 1960s to the present, and is the author of the forthcoming book, Architecting Interactivity (MIT Press). She was previously an assistant professor of journalism at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and resident professor at the Interaction Design Institute Ivrea in Ivrea, Italy. She has worked professionally with the web for 23 years, and holds a PhD in architecture from Princeton University and a master's degree in environmental design from Yale University’s School of Architecture.