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Spatial digitalization

Numérisation des espaces

Les Cahiers de la recherche architecturale, urbaine et paysagère (Craup)

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Published on Tuesday, November 07, 2017


Appel à articles pour le numéro 3 des Cahiers de la recherche architecturale, urbaine et paysagère, sur le thème "Numérisation des espaces".



The “expected horizons” of architecture, the city, and landscape are in part drawn, or even constructed, by our means of communication and media coverage.[1] Consequently, we can note that design professionals as well as various actors involved in planning (i.e. architects, urban designers, landscape designers, decision makers, urban service operators, developers, etc.) are greatly affected by the coming of Information Technology and Communication (ITC). This can equally be said of residents and users, who see their practices evolving before their eyes with the advent of things such as the internet, the mobile phone, and digital services being used in public spaces, businesses, and homes. A significant result of this digital age is that it allows for the generation of perceivable shifts in its users, opening up new forms of participation and citizen intervention as well as collaborative approaches that are more horizontal - ultimately altering the ways in which we conceive architecture as well as tomorrow’s cities.

The purpose of the Craup dossier is to question the impact of spatial digitalization. This can be defined as a modeling, a projecting or a visualizing of the practices and the work of actors involved in planning by means of computing devices. We propose three areas for further reflection: the impact of digitalization on the ways in which architecture, cities and territories are described; the formal and parametrical experimentation of space; and the impact of digital tools on the organization of work.

Digital Visibility of Territories and Projects

Firstly, we are concerned with the significance of networks and virtual spaces (i.e. the internet, GPS, Facebook, etc.) on the ways that we experience, produce, and communicate architecture, cities and landscapes. Today, the virtual world contributes to the creation of spatial narratives that validate buildings, territories, urban politics and approaches to planning. The discourse relies heavily on digital publications as well as the strategies that determine their online visibility, accessibility and duration to gain insights into how they interact with the public. These editorial strategies[2] must include detailed content and modalities so as to fulfill their aim at creating new ways of managing landscapes, cities and architecture. One must therefore wonder which actors take advantage of these strategies and for which purposes? Considering the prevalence of these strategies in participatory mechanisms, how is their presence materialized? Which professions use them? How do these techniques strengthen or weaken a project? To what extent can they prove to change urban practices and the relationships between actors? As we witness a profound transformation in production modes as well as the circulation of ideas and theories, how does digital content, which is constantly evolving and escaping the evaluation and control of centralized institutions, influence the theoretical work of architects, urban planners and landscape designers? What place do the practices and tools of spatial narratives hold in the production of spatial doctrines? How do they integrate into the teaching of design in schools of architecture?

Experimentation, Representation

Formal experiments in architecture and smart cities have been extensive topics of study within academic literature. If, as some argue, digital representations simulate understanding and generate designs and concepts, for others they could provoke a fleeting away from the building blocks of architecture and the globalized city towards utopia or atopy[3]. Although this literature is confined to the study of innovative and experimental situations[4], it would be nevertheless interesting to understand the impacts of automatic procedures and artificial intelligence in more “ordinary” situations in comparison to those that have been highly publicized and perceived as groundbreaking. This could be done by examining the reasoning of architects and other spatial developers at small architectural firms, in technical services of territorial collectivities, in the interfaces and perhaps when teaching project design. Furthermore, considering that we are in the era of Big Data,other proposals could focus on the use of databases in the processes of developing a project - particularly in cases of parametric modeling of architectural and urban space. Does our capacity to quantify and configure aspects of the world and social life originate in approaches to contemporary architecture, urbanism and landscape? What is the nature of these approaches? What is their relevance? What are their limits?

Organization of Design Work

Contributors to this journal may discuss aspects of the Building Information Modeling (BIM) and tools for “smart cities”. While project managers often question whether these new tools correspond to the onset of standardized construction, few studies consider the range of freedom they relinquish and to which types of actors. Measuring the effects of these tools is thus important to consider within the economy of construction and the actors involved as they consequently become deeply entangled in issues of urban economy, the sociology of organizations as well as geography. If we can ask ourselves to what degree these tools influence the practice of modeling – from the apartment, to the neighborhood, to the city – we can also question the ways in which modeling impacts and formalizes the practices of space. To the extent that some tools are also concerned with the maintenance of buildings, what happens on the side of digital construction is not unrelated to the computerization of the use of livable space. Not only is this objective clearly indicated in programs geared towards the maintenance of buildings, but it is also driven by the demand for sustainable housing and efficient energy. In what way is this new demand communicated to collectives such as condominiums or shared housing and what role does digitalization play in processes of energy efficiency? How does digitalization relate to devices dealing with the security of people and goods? How does it fit into household practices? How does it respond to the needs of certain peripheral and rural locations? Which economic groups are bearers, specifiers and resisters? What is the position of project managers and local collectivities? In schools of architecture, whether French or foreign, how are these tools for innovative design taught? Are they adapted to their context?

The Digitalization of Space will be a dossier of concrete studies that shed light on and prioritize thesethree areas of reflection. The identified themes, however, are there to specify the topics within this call for articles and do not foreshadow the organization. This will be defined according to the contributions that are chosen for this journal.

Procedure for the transmission of draft articles

Proposals for articles will be sent by e-mail before 15 march 2018

to the the Cahiers de la recherche architecturale, urbaine et paysagère’editorial office

For more information, contact Aude Clavel on 06 10 55 11 36 

The articles must not exceed 30 000 characters, including spaces.

Languages accepted: French, English.

Articles must be accompanied by:

  • biobibliographical record between 5 to 10 lines (name and first name of the author (s), professional status and / or titles, possible institutional link, research themes, latest publications, e-mail address).
  • abstracts in French and English.
  • key words in French and English.

Editorial line

Placed in the fields of architectural, urban and landscape research, the Cahiers initially developed from the 1970s in research labs of the French schools of architecture. On becoming an online international journal, the Cahiers initiates today a new formula targeted towards the research communities concerned by intentional transformations of space, whatever the scales. The journal aims at meeting current interests and issues in these fields, seeking to renew them and to open new directions of research. Three main research issues are more directly questioned. One specifically concerns theoretical aspects, in order to develop exchanges and discussions between theories of design, planning, architecture and landscape. Another issue refers to the materiality of the city, the technical know-how involved in spatial transformation, but also the material dimension of of transfer and mobilization phenomena, often analyzed in other journals from a-spatial angles. Lastly, the third issue questions the project and its design, which holds a special place in the sciences and the practice of space (performative roles of projects, theories of practice). These three poles call for interdisciplinary works, dedicated to trace in-depth explanations of the transformations of the built environment at the Anthropocene Era. The expected scientific production refers to common criteria of peer reviewing processes. It could pay a particular attention to the issues of pictures and visual production in a field where images can serve as discourse.

Thematics folders

Les Cahiers de la recherche architecturale, urbaine et paysagère online issue two or three time a year a thematic folder dedicated to a specific and problematized theme, and which consists of around ten articles in French and English.

A call for papers is broadcasted for each thematic heading. Proposals may be in French or English. The evaluation is peer-rewiewed.


The online magazine has 3 headings to accommodate miscellaneous articles, and outside thematic folders.

  • Research news: Various reports: theses, entitlement to supervise research , reviews of works, exhibitions.
  • Research materials: interviews, practitioners’ discourses, translations, reference texts...
  • Debates: young researchers/doctorates, debates and controversies.

Proposals may be in French or English. The texts are evaluated and peer-rewiewed.

Editorial Board

Chief Editor Frederic Pousin

  • Manuel Bello Marcano
  • Franck Besançon
  • Gauthier Bolle
  • Enrico Chapel
  • Benjamin Chavardes
  • Laurent Devisme
  • Yankel Fijalkow
  • Sandra Fiori
  • Francois Fleury
  • Philippe Grandvoinnet
  • Xavier Guillot
  • Caroline Maniaque
  • Beatrice Mariolle
  • Valerie Negre
  • Daniel Siret
  • Helene Vacher

Editorial Assistant

  • Aude Clavel 


[1]Paul Ricœur, « Architecture et narrativité », Urbanisme, n° 303, novembre-décembre 1998, pp. 44-51.

[2] Michaël E. Sinatra, Marcello Vitali-Rosati (eds.), Pratiques de l’édition numérique, Montréal, Les Presse de l’université de Montréal, 2014.

[3] For this debate in France cf., entre autres, Antoine Picon, Culture numérique et architecture. Une introduction, Bâle, Birkhäuser, 2010 ; Jean-François Coulais, Images virtuelles et horizons du regard. Visibilités calculées dans l’histoire des représentations, Geneve, MetisPresses, 2014.

[4] For example, the exhibition presented in 2013 at Montreal’s Canadian Center for Architecture titled “Archéologie du numérique” and its catalogue which was edited by Greg Lynn analyses the transition from analogical practices to digital practices through four projects that were selected as pivotal moments in the digitalization of architecture: the Lewis residence (1989-1995) by Frank Gehry, the Biozentrum of Frankfurt (1987) by Peter Eisenman, the conception of roofing in Odawara’s municipal sporting complex and that of Galaxy of Toyama’s gymnasium (1990-1992) by Shoei Yoh, as well as deployable sphere (1991) and the Iris dome (1994) by Chuck Hoberman. 



  • Thursday, March 15, 2018


  • Aude Clavel
    courriel : craup [dot] secretariat [at] gmail [dot] com

Information source

  • Aude Clavel
    courriel : craup [dot] secretariat [at] gmail [dot] com


CC0-1.0 This announcement is licensed under the terms of Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal.

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« Spatial digitalization », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Tuesday, November 07, 2017,

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