Labor Movements: From the Specifications of the Panamá Canal to Robotic Patents
F. Garcia Lammers, J. Garcia Fritz, J. Kenny, N. Krueger, and R. Woytassek


Department of Architecture (DoArch) / South Dakota State University


Specs Studio is about the link between regulatory documents (specifications, laws, codes, patents, etc.) and the political territories that connect building technology with the movements of construction labor.

The student projects included in this paper interconnect two types of movement:

(1) physical movements of people, materials, and machines

(2) political movements and colonial structures of power


Joe, Nate, and Becca’s work show that the contemporary effects of these movements (physical and political) are latent in the under examined histories of written regulatory documents.









The 15-week semester was organized into three steps that combined precedent study, professional practice, and speculative research. 

(1) Identify an archive with regulatory documents that are connected to historical circumstances that are relevant to the production of architecture. 

(2) Visualize the collected documents and histories by designing graphic networks that weave disparate forms of evidence into compelling research arguments.

(3) Speculate continuously about the legacy of regulatory documents and their effects on the processes that shape buildings, sites, and cities.