CAAD Tutorial: Sourcing and Characterising the Web

Indexing in Architecture

051-0732-16L | Elective course | CAAD Practice


Have you ever felt like web browsers and social networks know what you are interested in before you even start typing? Have you ever wondered how web search engines manage to give you a link that most probably will satisfy your query? To achieve so, these web technologies index the world and our behaviour in it. They continuously crawl the World Wide Web indexing and characterising documents, as well as the queries we make and the documents we request. These sophisticated pieces of engineering promise us information and communication channels at a very arguable cost. But what if we could do the same locally? What if we could model the world and ourselves in our same own terms, so to orient and navigate in it? Would we need to understand everything in it? Would we find information or just entropy? And most importantly, can such a novel way to model the world enrich the way we think, discuss and model architecture?

In this CAAD Tutorial, we will consider a content-sharing platform as a reduced model of the world so to address these questions: Tumblr. Tumblr is about blogs and posts, it lets you effortlessly share anything. Posts constitute blogs and blogs constitute the whole. Tumblr is not about being informed or entertained, it is about following indexes to other spaces. We will step by step build an application to grasp in a few minutes thousands of posts per day. We will program bots that will 24/7 source and index; we will periodically characterise blogs and posts regardless of their content; and we will measure them and ourselves–what we like and what we do not like. We will finally write a web document so to render the results and get hold on to information, hold on to the rare. Along the way we will learn to code in Python, HTML, JavaScript and CSS, and further exercise the putting together of a number of open source algorithms.


number max. 20 / min. 10 motivated students
dates Mondays, 15:00 – 17:00
introduction Monday, 22.02.2016
place Chair for CAAD, HPZ, Floor F unless announced differently
tutors Jorge Orozco