1st Edition

The Architectural Imagination at the Digital Turn

By Nathalie Bredella Copyright 2022
    212 Pages 58 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    212 Pages 58 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    The Architectural Imagination at the Digital Turn asks what it means to speak of a "digital turn" in architecture. It examines how architects at the time engaged with the digital and imagined future modes of practice, and looks at the technological, conceptual and economic phenomena behind this engagement. It argues that the adoption of digital technology in architecture was far from linear but depended on complex factors, from the operative logic of the technology itself to the context in which it was used and the people who interacted with it.

    Creating a mosaic-like account, the book presents debates, projects and publications that changed how architecture was visualized, fabricated and experienced using digital technology. Spanning the university, new media art institutes, ecologies, architectural bodies, fabrication and the city, it re-evaluates familiar narratives that emphasized formal explorations; instead, the book aims to complicate the "myth" of the digital by presenting a nuanced analysis of the material and social context behind each case study. During the 1990s, architects repurposed software and technological concepts from other disciplines and tested them in a design environment. Some architects were fascinated by its effects, others were more critical.

    Through its discussion on case studies, places and themes that fundamentally influenced discourse formation in the era, this book offers scholars, researchers and students fresh insights into how architecture can engage with the digital realm today.


    1. University: The "Paperless Studio" and Beyond

    2. New Media Art Institutes: Avenues for Multimedia Practice

    3. Ecologies: Feedback and Interaction

    4. Architectural Bodies and Visualization Techniques

    5. Fabrication: The Object in the Age of the Network

    6. City: Iconic Buildings and Architectural Craft in the Digital Era


    Selected Bibliography



    Nathalie Bredella is visiting professor of architectural theory at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology.

    "Bredella makes an excellent contribution to the history of the digital turn in architecture, a story still unfolding. From the dream of a paperless studio to the influence of cybernetics and its connection to ecological thinking, by studying the impact of digital technologies on visualisation, fabrication and networked systems, Bredella’s case study analyses diversify our understanding of the digital era in which we find ourselves."

    Professor Hélène Frichot, Melbourne School of Design, Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning, University of Melbourne, Australia