This book is a testament to intellectual collaboration—with all its ups and downs, its thrills and inefficiencies. The inefficiencies were all of our own making, but for the thrills we are indebted, first and foremost, to the Aggregate Architectural History Collaborative. We cannot thank enough our remarkable group of most immediate collaborators in this project: Lucia Allais, Ed Eigen, Orit Halpern, John Harwood, Matthew Hunter, and Michael Osman. It has been a rare and singular pleasure to spend these past years exchanging ideas with all of them, and the impact the work has already had—even prior to this final publication—is a testament to the intellectual dynamism that fueled the project throughout.
Along its development from 2013 to 2016, this work was given an audience by other Aggregate members—Timothy Hyde, Daniel Abramson, Arindam Dutta, Pamela Karimi, Ijlal Muzafar, Jonathan Massey, and Meredith TenHoor, a group of remarkable scholars whom we are also lucky to call friends. We are ever grateful for our many conversations with them, and the work contained here belongs as much to their generous engagement with our ideas these past years.
The project that comprises not only this book but also the many conferences, symposia, and essays held in its orbit originated in a series of seminars we co-taught between 2012 and 2014 in the Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design at the University of Toronto. If it is now somewhat common to find architectural history and theory seminars examining contemporary design technologies, it was far less so when we began, and we are ever grateful to Dean Richard Sommer for lending institutional support to what was, at the time, a highly unusual pedagogical experiment. We are especially grateful to the many students who participated in those classes with genuine curiosity and a willingness to probe into questions that initially must have seemed far from their design pursuits.
This work was given its most extended public treatment during a conference and exhibition at the Princeton School of Architecture in November 2014, and we would like to express gratitude to Dean Stan Allen for supporting that initiative, and to Lucia Allais for her hard work in bringing it to fruition. The insights and productive criticisms generously offered by the extraordinary conference participants—D. Graham Burnett, Jimena Canales, Fabrizio Gallanti, Matthew Jones, Alex Killian, Forrest Meggers, John Tresch, Carolyn Yerkes, and Alejandro Zaera-Polo—were pivotal in pushing our collective work into more difficult but consequential terrain.
Our home institutions have lent crucial material support during the final phases of this publication project. Our sincere thanks to Dean Mohsen Mostafavi at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design as the book moved through the production process. We were lucky to have the assistance and input of many fantastic graduate students along the course of the project’s development. Among them, Ultan Bryne, Venessa Heddle, Krister Holmes, Samantha Vasseur, and especially Elliott Sturtevant lent their time and considerable energy in ways that are impossible to quantify.
The ideas in this book were developed thanks to a multiyear grant from the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada. The present volume would never have made its way to our publisher’s desk were it not for the many long working sessions made possible by the SSHRC’s financial support.
We are tremendously grateful to Pieter Martin for his patience, and to the entire editorial and publication team at the University of Minnesota Press, including Ana Bichanich, Anne Carter, Eric Lundgren, Mike Stoffel, Neil West, and Anne Wrenn. Our thanks to Sheila McMahon and Douglas Easton for their excellent assistance in finalizing the manuscript.
And finally, to our families, we are ever grateful, as always, for their patience and support.