Carter Manny Award

  • Drawing Management: Corporate Organization, International Practice, and the Making of Computer Aided Design
    Aaron Tobey

Screen photograph of the interface of DRAW3D displaying a three-dimensional wireframe model of Chicago's "loop" district compiled using several other graphic and non-graphic programs created at SOM for DEC mainframe computers and Tektronix Graphics Terminals by the beginning of the 1980s, 1980, Chicago. Courtesy SOM / Copyright SOM

Aaron Tobey, Yale University, School of Architecture, Doctoral Program in the History and Theory of Architecture, is the recipient of the 2023 Carter Manny Writing Award.

Drawing Management traces the remaking of everyday practices of architectural design and documentation in terms of information management and the treatment of design processes as objects of design that characterize much of contemporary architectural production. Exploring how these terms were shaped by and came to shape a number of speculative and international commissions taken on by Skidmore, Owings, & Merrill, Caudill, Rowlett Scott, and Hellmuth, Obata, Kassabaum, between 1965 and 1993, it reveals the constitutive role techniques and metaphors from the fields of organizational management, computer science, and international relations played in forming one another, the shape of the built environment, and the profession of architecture. In doing so, Drawing Management recasts narratives of a momentous “digital turn” led by self-consciously avant-garde architects to instead show a longer less deliberate trajectory of computer use that highlights the contingency of present practices as well as the assumptions they carry with them.

Aaron Tobey is a PhD candidate at the Yale School of Architecture and a visiting assistant professor at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) where he teaches in the school's history and representation sequences. His research combines media theory, management theory, and histories of technology to investigate how representation techniques and social imaginations of space are coconstructed with one another. This work has been published in venues including Thresholds, the Journal of Architectural Education, Architecture and Culture, and Architecture Theory Review as well as presented at the conferences of the Society of Architectural Historians, the Society of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand, and the Architecture, Media, Politics, and Society research initiative. Tobey holds a MArch degree from RISD and bachelor's of science in architecture from the University of Cincinnati. He has worked professionally at Studio AMD in Providence, Fougeron Architecture in San Francisco, and Studio LUZ Architects in Boston.