Ewan Branda, Woodbury School of Architecture Professor and Assistant Chair of the undergraduate program, recently received a Best Paper award for his paper titled, “The Forms of Bureaucracy at Centre Beaubourg” at the 2017 Architectural Research Centers Consortium, Inc. (ARCC) Conference. Branda explored the 1970 international competition for the Centre Beaubourg (later renamed the Centre Georges Pompidou) and how it proposed a new cultural institution for the information age: a museum and library conceived as a giant computer.
“The competition brief represented this enormous cultural information processing system through a program comprising meticulously tabulated requirements, diagrams of spatial relationships, and specifications for all technical aspects of the building’s performance. At Beaubourg, rational programming was applied for the first time to an elite cultural building. This paper examines the visual and notational languages of programming used at Beaubourg to control the performance of this information machine and to model the complex exchanges upon which the new institution’s metabolic processes were based. Borrowing the conceptual frameworks, rhetoric, and notational conventions from the new discipline of systems engineering, the programming team created novel graphs, topological diagrams, and flow diagrams that formed a new zone for architectural creativity, and in so doing challenges the possibility of a clean bifurcation in the early 1970s between the formal avant garde and an emerging positivist technocracy.”
Dr. Branda is an architectural historian and software designer. He has taught thesis studios, foundations studios, and seminars examining contemporary practices of digital humanities and scholarly communications using techniques borrowed from digital gaming and electronic literature. Learn more about his work through his website.
The Architectural Research Centers Consortium, Inc. (ARCC) is an international association of architectural research centers committed to the expansion of the research culture and a supporting infrastructure in architecture and related design disciplines. Since its founding as a non-profit corporation in 1976, ARCC has represented a concerted commitment to the improvement of the physical environment and the quality of life.