Architectural Representation II

Architectural Representation II: Projective Disciplines

This course examines systems of projection as constructs that mediate between our spatial imagination and built form. Projective systems have defined relationships between masons, engineers, industrial designers, mathematicians, cartographers, painters, and architects. Their historical origins and evolution into digital culture will be studied through the theory and practice of projective and descriptive geometry. Invented as techniques to draw form, these discourses are the bases of the intractable reciprocity between representation as technique (not merely style), and three-dimensional space. The objective of this course is to uncover the centuries-old and still ongoing relationship between representation, form, and construction—more generally, the reciprocity between three-dimensional form and flatness.

Principles of parallel (orthographic), central (perspectival), and other less common forms of projective transformation explain many processes of formal production—vision, subjective experience, drawing, modeling, and building. Beginning with 2D drawing exercises and transitioning to 3D modeling, we will interrogate the effects of the digital interface and mechanics of modeling software on contemporary discourse. As students explore the power and limitations of the flat drawing plane, they will also develop literacy in primitive and complex surface geometries—their combinatory aggregation, subdivision, and discretization—as they relate back to the most reductive of architectural forms—the planar surface. Ultimately, these techniques will be placed into a productive dialogue with architectural and programmatic imperatives. The design tools of the digital and post-digital age have allowed designers to invent and produce form with increasing facility, eliminating the need to understand the consequential and demanding relationships between geometry and architecture.  The course will involve close formal reading of buildings as a way to introduce students to the practice of reading, drawing, and writing architecture.

Composed of both lectures and workshops, the course is participatory and is equal parts theoretical and technical. Exercises will involve two-dimensional digital drawing, digital and physical modeling, and basic Grasshopper. Both Tuesday sessions (lectures and discussions) and Thursday sessions (technical workshops) will meet synchronously. This course is required for all first-year MArch I students.