about this class
I've never taught this class the same way twice, so if you've heard things about SI658 from someone who studied information architecture with me prior to Winter 2014, you won't be doing whatever it is that they did.

where and when

This class meets in NQ 2255 at 1:00pm on Mondays during Winter term 2014.

lecture slides

Powerpoint slides will all be here

required readings


grades and assignments

  • Participation: 10%

  • Building Story: 25%

  • Architect Story: 25%

  • Final Exam: 40%


  • Is it architecture yet?

  • The nature of information architecture

  • The architecture of information

  • Ducks, weenies and decorated sheds

  • Places made of information

  • Because McLuhan

  • Make things be good

building stories

Everybody will tell the story of a building they know first-hand. If you'd like to you can do this in groups.

architect stories

Everybody will tell the story of an architect. Not necessarily the one who designed the building whose story you'll tell. Here too, groups are a-ok. But not manditory (you're welcome).

final exam

You'll show up and write / draw / meditate for three hours.

course background

Everything is complex. Distinctions between physical and digital space are dissolving. Profound events in human culture unfold in places made of and from information. The architecture of information for a Bay Area startup’s new iOS app, or for a municipal government’s sharepoint portal, or up in the cloud of an “omnichannel” enterprise is rarely somebody’s specific job. In this class you’ll engage in a peculiar and spirited examination of arguments for why it ought to be. You’ll learn how to apply architectural thinking and practices in complex information spaces, and how to design structures that make the complex clear.

course objectives

  • Develop an understanding of information architecture within the broader context of architecture.

  • Expand students’ familiarity with architecture, architects, "architecture thinking" and architectural and critical theory.

  • Use the time we’re together in class effectively and minimize or eliminate the need for groups to convene outside of regular class meetings.

  • Inspire the next generation of information architects and information architecture advocates.


No prerequisites. No prior SI coursework assumed or required.

methods of instruction

Lecture, discussion, peer instruction, small team project work.