The research paper was a part of the seminar Theory Readings.

The paper elaborates the evolving and unrealized role of satellites in architecture as discussed in the book “Data Cities: How Satellites are Transforming Architecture and Design” by Davina Jackson.

Following is the introduction to the paper.



“More than a century of progress in the rocket science and meteorology underpins the Earth observations science paradigm” states Jackson (“Data Cities” 10). From the first satellite with just a radio transmitter on board to the constellation of satellites orbiting our planet today space science has seen exponential growth and interest. This growth has changed the way we see our planet forever and has given us access to knowledge and data concerning the various cycles on Earth.

We live in a world where pulses of light are being processed like never before into unprecedented formats and contents of data by a network of satellites, semiconductors, scanners, and sensors through exchange of electromagnetic energy. These devices collect, share, and exchange data through a vast network spread across the planet. These have become an integral part of everyday operations, from televisions and telecommunications, the modern day essential – GPS (Global Positioning System) to the climate and weather mapping systems. Through this network scientists today are able to predict natural and man-made disasters, map the changes the planet has gone through and will go through, and are able to quantify and visualize the human impact on the environment.

These very same applications also find a use in the fields of architecture, urban planning and design. The use of geographic positioning and telecommunications is commonplace for team designing over the internet and remote surveying of the site. Progressively professionals are relying on these technologies to create environments which respond to specific needs. The impact of these earth orbiting cybernetics is far reaching in the actualization of our built environment yet the full extent of their advantages by architecture and design professionals is not fully realized. These technologies in the age of “astrospatial architecture” should be at the centre of all architectural and urban design processes. This would help us design our buildings and cities optimized to their location and surroundings, have better performance according to their function, and least environmental impact.


Theory Readings is a seminar of IAAC, Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia developed in the Masters of Advanced Ecological Buildings and Biocities 2019/20

Students: Shreya Sharma

Faculty: Marziah Zad