Documentary Architecture & Digital Materialities

Following the premise of the “documentary method”, this research theme reads the building as a prism through which different histories are diffracted. It considers film, video, social media and a range of state-of-the-art digital documentation techniques not merely as representational technologies but as constitutive elements in the making of architecture and of architectural history. The programme will encourage students to explore architectural history beyond the biographies of architects, inhabitants, and users. Historical evidence will include the material or chemical analysis of construction materials and architectural details, alongside more familiar documents such as plans, photographs, notes, and correspondence. Combining the role of the archaeologist, the architect and the detective, we will strive to find traces of larger-scale geopolitical processes in the molecular details of architectural materiality. We will look at how archival research is challenged by experimental preservation, new methods of digital detection and documentation, and machine learning, and think about how new techniques could provide new gestures of care towards objects, building materials, and the possibilities of their reuse.

Centre for Documentary Architecture