Architectural Narratives: Half-day (Information) Architecture Walk

2018 Workshop


The built environment in Dublin consists of centuries of design work by a number of different peoples. The Irish, the Vikings, the Anglo-Normans. Together we’ll examine the social and technological systems of the city over time, its plan, its spaces, its narratives as object lessons in complexity and information architecture.

So join Dan Klyn and Andrea Resmini in an architecture walk through thousands of years and hundreds of instances of architecture in urban Dublin. We’ll activate all of our senses (and some of our critical faculties) as we consider contrasting examples of what “good” means and has meant through the centuries as represented in the places that people inhabit, and in the structures that enclose and support the stuff that people do.

At intervals, we’ll be reading the structures along the route as texts: reverse-engineering what the builders’ and sponsors’ intent and goals may have been from our perceptions of the spaces and structures they made. We’ll describe Eblana and the old Duiblinn and its Thingmote, and how the city changed with the arrival of the Anglo-Normans. We’ll walk through the consequences of the sanitation efforts following the Black Death of the mid 1400s, and discuss the Georgian city before moving on to modern day Dublin.

We’ll also consider architectures of information that are co-present in these architectures of wood, steel and stone and ask: what are the traces of the flow of information through these environments? In addition to the devices we carry, how does the built environment support the storage and delivery of information and meaning? How have these changed, or persisted, through time?

As part of asking questions such as these, we’ll get hands-on with analytical tools from the work of contemporary architects, and learn together how much or little assistance they provide us toward the answers we seek. In particular, we’ll apply theoretical frameworks from Venturi & Scott Brown, Christopher Alexander, Kevin Lynch and Christian Norberg-Schulz, with the purpose of increasing our understanding of architectures of all kinds, both physical and digital. We’ll end with an exploration of what David Benyon calls “blended space” and Resmini’s work with Benyon to describe the design of cross-channel ecosystems.

About the speaker(s)

Andrea Resmini is associate professor of Experience Design and Information Architecture at the Department of Intelligent Systems and Digital Design at Halmstad University, Sweden, where he researches and teaches courses on IA and UX for AI, XR, and digital / physical ecosystems.

An architect turned information architect, Andrea is a two–time past president of the Information Architecture Institute, a founding member of Architecta, the Italian Society for Information Architecture, the Editor–in–chief of the Journal of Information Architecture, and the author of “Pervasive Information Architecture” (2011), “Reframing Information Architecture” (2014), and “Advances in Information Architecture” (2021).

Dan Klyn is an information architect from the United States, and co-founder of The Understanding Group (TUG). He’s interested in planning, strategy and architecture for places made of information, likes coffee an awful lot, and teaches information architecture at the University of Michigan School of Information. Klyn’s research is focused on applying the teachings of Richard Saul Wurman and Christopher Alexander in digital practice.