Architectural Representation I

Architectural Representation I: Origins + Originality

Architectural representation as a medium blends theorizing, historization, and a unique capacity to induce a physical entity, either fictional or real. Over time, a series of contextual pressures generated conventions of imaging the three-dimensional world within a two-dimensional boundary.

Representation is not a conclusive index of an architecture already designed and completed, in the past tense. Rather, representation is integral to the design process and the production of architecture – it is present and future tense: an active participant in seeing and making. It occurs in multiple instances and forms over the evolution of a project. Though not deterministic of the architecture, representation techniques selected to visualize ideas influence the evolution and outcome of the work.

This course examines the origins of conventional representational techniques as well as contemporary interpretations, rituals, and even thoughtful misuse. We will explore through close reading the realm of orthographic and oblique projection in its history as well as recent practice, followed by a set of thematic contemporary influences. Among these are topics such as the influence of image and material within texture maps and projection, a fascination with flatness, and the methodologies for which they might be generative for design. We will discuss speculative methods for annotative and contract documents as a means for representation as a direct communicative device, launching to conversations in authorship. Finally, an investigation into temporality within representation via scale figures, lifecycle, and ‘stuff’, will lead us to our final project.

Architectural Representation I: Origins, Originality will involve readings, lectures, and collective discussions on the backstory of conventional representation techniques as well as contemporary critical stances in relation to these techniques. Students will complete focused representation exercises on each course topic that experiment with new representations of their design work being produced in Core 1 studio, GSD STU 1101: PROJECT. These design exercises will be shared with and discussed by the class. The final project at the module’s end will involve isolating a representation from concurrent studio work and critically evaluating the architectural possibilities that extend from its close reading and revision. The final project will require articulation of the goals of the original representation technique and the specific architectural aims toward originality in the tweaking of this technique.


The Tuesday 10:30-11:45 meeting time is an optional review.