11 May 2015

Final Document

The d2L Dropbox is open for you to turn in your final document for the semester. The due date is Friday, May 15 at 5:00. Follow the formatting guidelines in the syllabus. This final document will be the submission of your exercise 04 (15% of your grade) & the final document (20% of your grade.)

06 May 2015

Experimental Architecture Pt.2

Spiller_Arcadia Alchemy Antiquity and Machines

01:"This testing of architectural limits and the differing modalities of the architectural drawing were the other large reoccupations of twentieth century avant-garde discourse. The twentieth centuries will to abstraction had a profound effect on its architecture"[13]-- How big of a role does technology play in this? Both in drawing and building. Did people of the past abstract things like us but had no means of making them? Are there examples?

Woods_Radical Reconstructions

02: "The new structures contain freespaces, the forms of which do not invite occupation with the old paraphernalia of living, the old ways of living and thinking .They are, in fact, difficult to occupy, and require inventiveness in order to become inhabitable. They are not predesigned, predetermined, predictable, or predictive. They assert no control over thoughts and behavior of people conforming to typologies and coercive programs of use..."[16]-- As architects when we create a space that ' anything can happen' are we asking too much of the inhabitant to be inventive? Woods says they become useful when the are inhabited but is it still useless when the habitation doesn't know how to use a space?


03:When talking about the the home bomb shelter, the idea of a single family home bomb shelter becoming a 'digestible aspect of everyday life' to me this sounds crazy. A bomb shelter being as normal as a den or TV room? If we as architects can normalize a bomb shelter in a home that helps domesticate nuclear technology, what are other conventions we can challenge in this way? We obviously have the power to change the way places and spaces are viewed, how can we used the ability to manipulate function in a similar manner? Any examples? [07]

04 May 2015

Experimental Architecture

 Experimental Architecture


1. "Generic programs - stores, bars, apartments, office buildings, theatres -- provide a rich ground for examination..." cross referencing with the ideology that the regulatory constraints in architecture predict the "preset functional assumptions", what is the validity in excitement for future architecture? Simply put, creating new housing schemes for the same, repetitious program seems like an attempt to reinvent the wheel. What if we were to change the wheel, to mesh program together (i.e. skyscraper X forest) does this alter the computational input due to the fact that both programs require different presets?

2. Fay Wray's golf slippers - an attempt of architectural adaptability. Brings up criticism that those who want to live in dual realms. On one hand catering to the work place environment (Hollywood) as well as the practicality of comfort in miniature golfing. Is this translated into the realm of architecture in terms of built form. If so, is it the architects job to have an adaptable building or is it the users responsibility to alter their method of thinking whilst engaging in these actions?

_Lebbeus Woods

3. "The architect must become, more than ever, a creature of the present". These architects inevitably are those reconstructing in a post-apocalyptic era, so to speak. This brings up practice and service. The idea that they are no longer viewing the city from a perspective above but at the scale of a system. How architecture and theory can collide to create a gestural form which portrays these moves. Is this a reasonable method of thinking? Will these iterations be only left at the aspect of academia or theory?


4. Architecture in a realm absent of inclement weather, creates these seemingly utopian performances for architecture. One that for obvious reasons, allows us to use nature as a stage and us as the story line. With no influence from the outside world, how are we reacting to creating these new habitats? My thoughts veering into the discourse of highly curated spaces. Ranging from bio-dome ecosystems to artificial lighting and even mechanical systems. To what degreee do we as designers need to take a step back and let the ruling of nature and the existing over-run our inherent need to control everything?


28 April 2015

Presenting Your Work

Agrest: Representation as articulation between theory and practice

1. Agrest says "Architecture is produced in three different registers through three different texts: drawing, writing, and building." Comparatively does one of these three registers more effectively represent Architecture than the others?

2. "the vision point and the vanishing point- while the frame connects two cones of vision: that of the architect as creative subject and that of the observer." These three concepts are important in representation, do you think they are stressed enough in architectural studies?

3. "Realism and utopia in science fiction become one and the same... Fantastic Cinema is possible because of the irrefutable realism of the cinematographic image..." Agrest talks about how people appeal to realism, can the use of realism in our design to change the idea of future architectural design?

4. Agrest talks about design and fabrication and the link they share, what advances do you think will be made for architectural fabrication in the next decade and how do you think those advances will affect design?

Tufte: The Cognitive Style of PowerPoint: Pitching Out Corrupts Within

1. "The Magical Number Seven, Plus or Minus Two.' That essay reviews psychological experiments that discovered people had a hard time remembering more than about 7 unrelated pieces of really dull data all at once." Do you think that as Students we should limit ourselves to a small amount of points to emphasize in our presentation boards?

2. With all of the pitfalls that PP has, do you think the convenience factor of using PP will continue to overshadow these pitfalls?

3. Do you think this convenience of using Slides will someday make its way into how architectural presentations are done?

4. In recent years programs that mimic PP have emerged, such as Prezi, SlideShark, Haiku Deck, do you think these programs are beginning to lead us away from PP and the pitfalls that come along with it.

Presenting Your Work pt 2

01.   "Throughout architecture's long history, representation is one of the first areas in which ideological changes manifest themselves." Should all theses be explored through representation? Would a more critical practice be formed? (Agrest 165)

02   El Lissitzky said, "Perspective limits space; it has made it finite, closed." Perspective is how we experience our world. What do we gain by breaking out of our box? (166)

03   "Architecture often works metaphorically, trying to emulate other fields, in particular philosophy and science.  In this case, architectural representation...works as a shifter that allows codes of one system...to be switched to another."  Working this way, how can superficiality be prevented? How can working this way advance the discipline? (167)

04   "...the mode of representation...becomes a part of the process of production of architecture and the development of the techniques of drawing and design have an impact as important, if not more, as building techniques themselves." Do you agree? Why, or why not? (168)

05   Framing is a necessary part of the drawing.  Has this been explored enough? What are some effective framing techniques? (169)

06   With a negotiation between fantasy and reality, "representation exercises a fulfilling or a filtering function."  Where do the operations taught in school lie on this spectrum? Should it be different?

07   "Two paradoxical situations have resulted from the use of the computer in architecture: one is that of the resurgence of perspective, facilitated by computer programs; the other, and more important, is the reunification of the process of representation in the production of design and the process of construction."  What comparisons can you make between representation? How does one influence the other as Agrest states? (176)

08   Conway's Law: any organization which designs a system...will inevitably produce a design whose structure is a copy of the organization's communication structure."  If representation is a shifter for communication, in what ways can you relate this to design? What does this tell you? (161)

09   After reading Tufte, should children be learning PP? What is their alternative if not?

10   Was there a time when you blamed a teacher for a bad teaching experience, but now you might blame PP?

11   What is the architectural presentation of the future?

22 April 2015

Avoiding Digital Pitfalls

-Picon- 1.Picon suggests: "Architecture is neither a collection of things nor a set of rules...Architecture might very well be grounded in virtual reality." In what ways are we as designers able to depart from standards of "structure" to create virtual works of architecture? Are these works as architecturally relevant as ones that are structurally mitigated? 

2. How has the context for virtual works changed through the advent more capable digital technology? Or will the technology always be secondary to the concept of virtual reality?

 3. If "space as sensorial perception was too rich and complex to allow for any kind of design" before the modern movement, and if "the ultimate ambition of modern architecture was to find a compromise between these two extreme conceptions of space in order to stimulate thought as well as sensation," what might be some conceptual goals for our emerging generation of architects?

 4. Picon consistently refers to architecture as a discipline that reflects the same cultural constructions of perception that science and technology does. Discuss examples of the influence of scientific perceptions over architecture in present day. How might architecture depart from this model?

 5. "Architectural form used to appear as the ultimate result of a process of research." however "Computer-generated architectural form can no longer pretend to achieve this status." How has the new virtual reality changed the role of the architect? -Allen-

 6. If working on the computer is cumulative and nothing is lost, do we acquire an impermanent and frivolous attitude to our design process? Consider the practice of drawing versus 3D modeling, and their influence over the resulting design.

 7.Do you agree with Allen's concept that "Computer fabrication can also provoke a rethinking of modernism's conventional formulations of repetition and standardization?" Or less directly, are there other ways we can revisit architectural movements through a new context using computers?

 8. How has the digital age influenced how we think?

 9. Allen discusses the idea of the "information landscape." Are we capable, through technology, of properly representing urban complexity in a rich way? What are the advantages of doing so?

Spring 2015 - Exercise 04: Research Topic

Your final exercise of the semester is a personal research topic. This topic may be related to your current/past studios, Master's project topic or other topic that you would like to graphically research for this course. Your topic may be directly related, tangentially related or reciprocal to architecture(al) thought. You may critique conventions, processes or projects. You may also decide to explore phenomena that are not directly related to architecture, in that, it is not a building, drawing or other.

By Class-time on April 29, you must submit a 500-word abstract of your research topic via d2L Dropbox. Within your abstract you must clearly state the topic as a thesis of inquiry, your methodology for research and your expected out comes. Keep in mind, this topic must be formatted to fit the final document per the syllabus.

To view examples of previous research topics view the blog archive for April 2013.HERE

Please post any questions as comments to this post so that the entire class may benefit.

14 April 2015

Allen: Practice vs. Project

1- Allen does not consider architecture to be a discursive practice, it does not offer criticism or commentary. Do you agree? How can this be if oftentimes many aspects of a design serve as artifacts of the time in which they were developed?

2- In an academic setting how can we bring material practice into our inherently theoretical examination of architecture? How can we more meaningfully explore the variables presented by the realities of built work?

3- Allen states “Meaning is not something added to architecture… It happens in the interval, as the result of an encounter between architecture and its public, in the field.” With this in mind, is it possible to design prescriptive structures that affectively dictate their own use and reception?

4- In many of Allen’s examples of successful architecture designed by material process there is an abandonment of “truth to materials”. Given that there has been a resurgence of literal and “truthful” techniques in contemporary design alongside a new focus on material process, is design that considers both of these topics somewhat paradoxical? Or can it be successful?

5- Allen says that “the significant work of architecture is one that allows continual revision and re-reading, teasing out new meanings as the context changes.” How can design avoid superficiality and ambiguity while maintaining genuine openness to interpretation and change?

6- Allen talks about his writing becoming part of his practice of architecture, saying it occurs alongside drawing and building. Do you use writing in your own process of developing a project and representation? Could this help you understand and better explain your project and could it shape graphical representation?

Tofte: The Fundamental Principles of Analytical Design

1- On the topic of causality, Minard’s map of Napoleon’s forces illustrates the locations of events during the army’s march on Moscow. It conveys this information without explicitly explaining the cause of each event, but instead provides secondary data that helps the reader make potential inferences. Is this “show not tell” methodology always more affective when looking for a reader’s analysis?

2- Tufte says, “The analysis of cause and effect, initially bivariate, quickly becomes multivariate through such necessary elaborations as the conditions under which the causal relation holds, interaction effects, multiple causes, multiple effects, causal sequences, sources of bias, spurious correlation, sources of measurement error, competing variables, and whether the alleged cause is merely a proxy of a marker variable.” How do we, as design students, discern which of the variables present are most important and should be included in our analysis in order to keep them concise?

3- Tufte discusses the multidimensionality of evidence and points out the limitations of our current modes of representation in fully conveying that depth. Does technology afford us new opportunities to examine and present multivariate scenarios in the full depth?

4- How do we find means of representation that functions conventionally and efficiently, but remains accessible to readers? 

09 April 2015

Rauschenberg exhibit at UWM!

Upcoming Robert Rauschenberg exhibit at UWM Art History Gallery in Mitchell Hall.
April 22 - May 9

07 April 2015

WEEK 11: Collage - Syntactic thinking

Collage making

1. If collage is placement of fragments and then they are spliced together, what are the possible correlations between collage and architecture?

2. Nicholson states (pg18) "it is necessary for an artist to use raw materials that is directly associated with the age in which he lives." What is the future of collage when are raw material is becoming more digital base?

3. What do you think Nicholson means when he said "Collage can be assembled in a manner that reflects the sense of coexistence of urban living?" (pg21).

Recovering Landscapes

4. Corner discusses the differences between landscape(landskip) and environment(landschaft) on page 154. When in your own environment you supposedly will not appreciate it as a landscape, and while visiting a landscape you will not understand it as an environment. Could this lead to a paradox of irresponsibility towards are own environment as long as there are other landscapes to visit?

5. Do you agree with corner about representational technique and the monotony of plan, perspective, and rendering? (pg162) What are the possible limits of using other forms of representational technique?

6. There is discussion about five families of image and eidos, how do you think the families of image relate to idea formation?(pg161)

Collage and Architecture

7. Shields points out the history and benefits of collage,  If collage can be used for analysis and design what are some possibilities that can be explored through collage?

31 March 2015

Week 10 Allen: Notations and Diagrams

Jacob Beck's Questions:

1. Allen says that architectural is clearly neither allographic nor autographic. However if we considered a building solely as a freestanding designed object as it exists in the built world is architecture an autographic or allographic art? Or possibly some mix of the two?

2. Architectural graphics become notational when they include numerical and textual information along with their visual components. Is it possible to make a graphic which is notational but not overtly technical? Could we produce drawings that convey data and experience as accurately as a plan or map without using explicit annotation?

3. Allen states that "since nothing can enter architecture without having been first converted into graphic form, the actual mechanism of graphic conversion is fundamental. Is this always true? What about cases of vernacular architecture, and could impromptu construction happen without a graphic design process?

4. On page 53. Allen describes diagram architecture. In this type of design the process of conversion is minimized, there is no effort to transform material, and designs become frank and direct in their process. Does this representational method then convey experiential quality equally as well as notational methods, and as a design methodology does diagrammatic design then lead to more accessible and identifiable architecture?

5. Allen states that technique is never neutral and makes the argument that diagrammatic design leads to buildings constructed as artifacts rather than effective and interconnected spaces. He proposes a new focus on notation in architectural representation, believing it will lead to processes better suited for design in contemporary cities. Do you think his assessment is correct? Is contemporary architecture that has been designed diagrammatically (for example BIG's work) too focused on form and too introverted?

6. Allen believes that “the dream of a perfect fit between object and its representation needs to be abandoned” and says that we must accept “the impossibility of a transparent communication between architect and public”. As designers and students of architecture are you comfortable accepting this disconnect between representation and product? Are the techniques and technologies used to produce graphical representation progressing to a point where there is no longer any real gap?

Week 10 Muybridge and Movement

Movement is often attributed to being perceived uniquely by both observer and the designer. How does architecture imply movement differently/similarly to these two groups? (ie spaces, structure, dynamics, etc)

Movement can require two or more objects to interact with each other; spatially and physically. How does architecture interact with people? How does it interact with other architecture? With the surroundings?

Sometimes what is necessary to create movement is a framework and an object. (ie a dancer on stage. The stage is the frame and the dancer is the object) What situations place architecture as the framework? What situations place architecture as the object? Can it simultaneously be both?

The use of hand-cranked cameras allowed us to play short and long spans of time back at more human-appropriate speeds to view movement in new ways. (ie. a time lapse of a flower making it grow quickly, or the dropping and shattering of a glass spanning minutes) How could altering the speed which we perceive architecture allow us to see its movement differently?

Succession v. Order "Everything that came before is constantly modified by what comes later." How important is the succession of experiencing architecture? Does the order which we experience architecture always matter?

(Regarding paintings) "The observer scans the various areas of the picture in succession because neither the eye not the mind is capable of taking in everything simultaneously, but the order in which the exploration occurs does not matter" In this case, the observer must explore the entire picture before being able to fully comprehend its value. Must the observer fully explore architecture to understand it as well?

Often the object of movement has predetermined attributes. Large objects move slowly, Small move quickly. Fast objects are strong/fierce, Slow objects are weak/shy. Does architecture have similar attributes?

11 March 2015

week 7: the form of data

How can we apply sparklines to the processes of design?

“Wordlike sparklines should often be embedded in text and tables, which provide a helpful context for interpreting otherwise free-floating sparklines”, for designers would one want a free-floating sparkline?

“Sparklines effectively display and narrate binary data”, what are some binary data of architecture that we could apply sparklines to?

Professor Alex Kandel, Univeristy of Notre Dame, constructed a 3-D scatter-plot where all 3-D points lie on the surface of a hyperbolic paraboloid. What are your thoughts of the visual representation of the data?

How can sparklines and parallelism be combined together?

How did Christopher Wilmarth achieve parallelism in “The True Story of Gift of the Bridge”?

Catrich’s The Origin of the Serif and Repton’s architectural before/after were similarly compared, what are other examples of how this can be applied to architecture?

03 March 2015

Week 6 - Narrative Armature

1. How has the format of Understanding Comics contribute or hinder your understanding of the content? How does it differ from Storyboards with its textual presentation?

2. What is the relationship between icon and idea? What are the limits of ideation imposed by iconography?

3. In the McCloud reading he says, "The vehicle becomes an extension of our body. It absorbs our sense of identity. We become the car." Where is this phenomenon possible in architecture? Are we able to expand our identity into the entirety of a building? When?

4. McCloud claims that the efficacy of comics comes from the ability of the reader to project themselves into the characters presented. Do human forms in architectural drawings possess the same projective qualities? In what ways can that effect be heightened?

5. McCloud closes by calling comics "sequential art." Davids begins the conclusion by calling storyboards sequential narratives. What is the distinction between these concepts?

6. Is the relationship between the subject and time within a storyboard always linear? At what point is it to our advantage to depart from linear narrative?

7. Davids says, "the structure of the storyboard does not preclude alternatives [to a linear reading]: vertical or diagonal readings, skipping or revisiting frames." The narrative between frames remains fluid and undefined. What are the limits of that narrative? Or, what are the conceptual boundaries of the storyboard?

8. How is this narrative fluidity best applied to architectural (conceptual or realized) space?

9. Is our "increasingly symbol-oriented culture" (McCloud) inevitable through the function of mass communication? How would comics and storyboarding be changed in a less symbol saturated environment? Would they be as effective, or even possible?

10. Davids says, "The frame establishes the boundaries between inside and outside: what is inside anticipates the outside. The frame itself can be the subject." What is the relationship between subject, frame, and narrative? Or, how does the frame become pivotal in the reading of the narrative?


23 February 2015

Week 5 Index Questions


1. In what design capacity do shifters exist? What are some examples?
     -In reference to PP 216, Paragraph 3, Last Sent.

2. In what manner would someone without language gain a sense of history? Krauss claims if we can't develop language we do not gain self-identity or awareness of history?

3.  If this is true can it be claimed that there is no culture without language? How can something be passed on without language to explain why something's necessary?

4. In what instance can an index function as both an index and an object?

5. In what ways does a painting convey index that a photograph doesn't?

6. Brownian Motion is defined as the erratic random motion of particles. How is Deborah Hay's monologue, devoid of physical motion, Brownian motion?

7. Could a false index be created in such a way that it doesn't allude to the true object of a causation?

8. What is the genesis of an index? Can an index be traced back to the initial generation of the idea?

9. Can you internalize a narrative in a drawing?
      - In reference to PP 218, Paragraph 2, Last Sent.

10.In response to Kelly and Pozzi's paintings, where one is derived directly from the condition of the wall and the other is produced from an internal logic, how are the differences apparent despite similar appearance? (In reference to the images on pp. 214)