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DSN 121 — The Architecture of Information: Radical Buildings and Visionary Projects in Silicon Valley

Quarter: Fall
Day(s): Mondays
Course Format: On-campus
Duration: 9 weeks
Date(s): Sep 30—Dec 2
Time: 7:00—9:05 pm
Drop Deadline: Oct 13
Units: 2
Tuition: $495
Instructor(s): Barry Katz
Status: Closed
Please Note: No class on November 25
7:00—9:05 pm
Sep 30—Dec 2
9 weeks
Drop By
Oct 13
2 Units
Barry Katz
Please Note: No class on November 25
The iconic periods of world architecture were marked by buildings that expressed structurally the activities inside and the culture outside: the pyramidal power structure of dynastic Egypt; the post-and-lintel transparency of democratic Athens; the spiritually uplifting verticality of Gothic cathedrals; and even the crisscrossed, gravity-loaded assembly lines of the Ford Motor Company, which communicated so evocatively the industrial culture of flow. But how do buildings express the culture of legions of software engineers, ensconced in cubicles, writing code? Until recently the answer in Silicon Valley has been uninspiring, to say the least: Generic structures lining our freeway off-ramps have given the region the featureless character of a gigantic computer chip. But there are signs that this is starting to change, that we are beginning to see the emergence of an authentic “architecture of information.” Beginning with a sweeping overview of the major inflection points in world architecture, we will examine a selection of Silicon Valley projects that are beginning to define what may prove to be a new era of architecture. Guest speakers will discuss Apple Park by Foster + Partners; the new Facebook campus by Frank Gehry; daring projects for Google by Heatherwick Studio and BIG; bold experiments for NVIDIA (Gensler), Samsung (NBBJ), Microsoft (WRNS Studio), and other approaches to the changing nature of work in the age of information.

Barry Katz, Consulting Professor of Mechanical Engineering (Design Group), Stanford; Professor, Industrial and Interaction Design, California College of the Arts

Barry Katz is the author of seven books, including most recently, Make It New: The History of Silicon Valley Design. He is at work on a new book, The Architecture of Information, on which this course is based. Katz is also a fellow at IDEO. He received a PhD from UC Santa Cruz.

Textbooks for this course:

There are no required textbooks; however, some fee-based online readings may be assigned.