The finish schedule specifies a material product, condition, and treatment for each surface in a building, creating a tagged data set that ties aesthetic intent to the material economies, commodity markets, and labor pools of the built environment. Through its format however, the informational interface of the finish schedule distances the building material from its processes of production and circulation. By divorcing the architect’s visual intent from the resource-heavy transactions inherent in the making of architecture, the finish schedule often hides the physical extractions, logistical supply movements, and working conditions of a complex chain of financial, ecological, and geopolitical exchange. As BIM layers an increasingly deep cache of product information into the digital model, could the finish schedule instead trace these material relations? Rather than a neutral set of tags and specifications that fulfill the contract document, how can the schedule reveal these omissions, making visible architecture’s infrastructures of capital, land, and labor?
RE-TAGGING proposes a series of site-specific notations that literalize the finish schedule within a built environment. The project takes the form of tags and stickers that can be placed on any architectural surface or component. Each tag contains a simple annotation, such as CC-01, or ST-02, like in a typical finish schedule as well as a QR code. These notated tags, referencing architectural contract documentation standards, link each material to an online, live-updating resource schedule that correlates materials to the underlying logistical networks and commodity flows associated with the sourcing of architectural components. This digital schedule registers detailed information about each building material including point of extraction, live commodity values, constituent raw materials, embodied energy per unit, and labor footprint of production. As a strategy of post-occupancy literacy, this material commons enables the public to trace and track architectural production, demystifying the built environment. RE-TAGGING proposes a rough guerrilla tactic for material transparency, operating as sharp graphic points disrupting the visual field of the built environment.
Featured in the Building Information exhibition at TU Berlin. Curated by Kadambari Baxi, Elisa R. Linn, Klaus Platzgummer, and Lennart Wolff. March 2022.
Featured in the Fulfilled exhibition at The Ohio State University. Curated by Ashley Bigham, February 2020. Photos courtesy of Outpost Office.
Project Leads: Daniel Jacobs, Brittany Utting
Design Team: Jianing Cui, Leah Hong