17 October 2017

Week 7: Sparklines

1. Sparklines were generally used in data-intense, high-resolution field. How can we use sparklines in architectural representation?

2. Tufte mentioned five important elements of displaying data in the article.(number,context, scale, range, parallel comparisons)  How can we apply them to architectural diagramming and mapping?

3. Sparklines are data-intense, design-simple, word-sized graphic. What is the benefit of using sparklines?

4. Aspect ratio, unintentional optical clutter, dequantification and production methods need to be considered during sparklines design. How can we apply these methods to architecture? (Diagram, Mapping, Modeling, Concept)

5. Sparklines efficiently display and narrate binary data. What kind of binary data, relating to architecture, can be displayed using sparklines?

Week 7: Parallelism

  1. Tufte writes that Repton’s before and after comparison of the cottage “yields a parallelism of layered depth,” but later contradicts this by saying that “comparisons are more effective when the information is adjacent in space rather than stacked in time.” Do you think that there are instances when parallelism over time is more effective? (81).
  2. Do you think that faulty parallelisms such as Repton’s embellishments and paradise-like qualities of the after images can help or hurt architectural representation? (102).
  3. Parallelism is only effective when comparisons can be made. Do multiple images/comparisons make it more effective? Do too many make it lose effectiveness?
  4. Which type of parallelism is most effective in architectural representation?
  5. Should we try to avoid unparrallisms or can they be advantageous in certain situations?

11 October 2017

Understanding Comics, McCloud

1. McCloud states on pg36 that when you look at a detailed drawing, you see another, however, when you simplify the face to a smiley-face cartoon “you see yourself.” Do you agree with this?
2. Now for symbols, in general, are you more likely to identify with a simple emblem or a complex one? Imagine a Peace sign or the UN emblem
3. The ability to create contrast in detail between the characters and the scene is an interesting thought (at least to me). By increasing the level of detail of the landscape while keeping the character in a minimalist state you enable the viewer to place themselves in the scene. Does this hold true for architectural renderings, how can this be applied, is it successful? Are you more likely to place [imagine] yourself in a painting/illustration or a photograph?

4. On pg 44 McCloud talks about the power of objectification of objects, the example of a sword being drawn quite minimally until we want to call attention to it, at which point the detail is significantly raised. How can this contrast be applied in architecture?
5. How do you see yourself applying these techniques of iconic abstraction and non-iconic? Is it applicable for rendering, diagramming, board layouts, building design?

09 October 2017

Week 6

1. It stated that a storyboard is the making of a film. Is it similar to the role of architects construction documents?

2. Does a storyboard for architecture create series, even though they are line drawings & not fully graphical drawings with color or 3D?

3. When a storyboard is applied to architectural representation & has not film does it become a "silent cartoon"?

4. Would you consider the photographic storyboards be related to architecture?

5. Would you consider the Architectural digest as being a form of a storyboard? Could it be related to a form of index?

6. Do you think a storyboard & index are related?

04 October 2017

Week 5: Krauss, Notes on the Index 1

1. Krauss mentions that there is index within photography as referenced in Duchamps Tu’m. Are there any instances where photography isn’t used as an index in art?

2. Is it always necessary to create an index in art pieces?

3. Kraus infers that language is used as index. Is there a dichotomy or a collaboration in language and representation? Example: Pieces that are accompanied with descriptions

4. How important is an index in order to create a deeper meaning to a piece? Can an index alone provoke that kind of thought?

5. Looking at With My Tongue in My Cheek by Duchamp, the title nods to the index of the composition of the piece. Do titles always have a role in art and representation? Do titles necessarily add to the overall depiction or meaning of the art itself? 

20 September 2017

The Agency of Mapping: Speculation, Critique, and Invention 2

  1. One especially important aspect for Arnheim's concept is that the concept is generative.  Corner often discusses mapping in generative terms.  For example, he claims that mapping is an "enabling enterprise that both reveals and realizes hidden potential."  What similarities do Arnheim's concept and Corner's mapping share?  What differentiates them?
  2. More people in the world interact with Google Maps more regularly than any other map.  Corner argues that maps "possess great force in terms of how people see and act."  How do you think Google Maps has forced people to see and act?  Positively?  Negatively?  At all?
  3. Corner looks to Harvey and agrees that "projecting new urban and regional futures must derive less from a utopia of form and more from a utopia of process - how things work, interact and inter-relate in space and time."  I believe that the map feature on Snapchat begins to achieve this in a fascinating way.  Am I right or am I crazy?
  4. I think corner tries to place mapping somewhere between free-form subjectivity and and raw factual objectivity.  Is he successful?  Can there be a balance or does the presence of one begin to implicate or diminish the other?
  5. Corner paints a grim picture of what I might call "red tape culture."  He claims there are plenty of answers to the question of what to do to address the issues of today and very few answers to the question of how to do it.  Do you think that Corner's mapping stands to be the operational factor that address the how

19 September 2017

The Agency of Mapping: Speculation, Critique, and Invention

1) James Corner states; "mapping is particularly instrumental in the construing and constructing of lived space. In this active sense, the function of mapping is less to mirror reality than to engender the re-shaping of the worlds in which people live", how do we see beyond the reality and whats factual to see the abstract? [213].  

2) If tracing is apart of mapping, what separates the two from one another? [214]. 

3) Mapping is suppose to lead you in the correct direction, but there are many options, points of view, and directions in which one can take. Does this make mapping abstract, if not what does? [217]. 

4) What steps need to be taken to distinguish reality and representation? [222]. 

5) How do you know when there's to much context into a map it becomes confusing?  

15 September 2017

Exercise 01_Diagramming a Film


  1. Felber
  2. Winder
  3. Dedrick
  4. Noelck
  5. Monty
The Royal Tenenbaums

  1. Georgeson
  2. Every
  3. Lee
The Grand Budapest Hotel

  1. Dickson
  2. Lorenz
  3. Liebenow
  4. Laluzerne
  5. Lin
  6. Santos
  7. Wosewick

13 September 2017

What is not abstraction?

1. Susane K. Langer separates presentational abstraction from generalized abstraction, asserting “In scientific thinking, concepts are abstracted from concretely described facts by a sequence of widening generalization...”  Is Picasso's bull series not a sequence of widening generalizations, not merely “derived from some single instance under proper conditions of imaginative readiness.”? [161-162]

2.  “Samuel Johnson Defined the outcome of an abstraction as ‘a smaller quantity containing the virtue or power of a greater.’” At what point does that occur in Picasso’s bull, is that precisely why he drifted away from the ‘cow’ and brought back the shoulders?

3. If abstractions are often culturally based, is it an ideal window into another cultures perspectives? Is the art of previous societies a view into their abstractions or is it the stylistic means of representation [see geometric period].

4. If you choose to paint what you see without your glasses on, is the representation abstract or is it in fact “syncretistic perception.” [168]

"What Abstraction Is"

1) What does Arnheim mean when he writes, "...in order to produce a sensible abstraction, a concept should be generative"? (174)
2) How does "container concepts" work in abstraction?
3) How does "types" work in abstraction?
4) How does static and dynamic concepts help us recognize patterns and movement? Refer to figure 51 on page 180.
5) If, "in human thinking, every concept is tentative, subject to modification by growth" then how do we generalize/categorize?

12 September 2017

Discussion Leaders

Week 02: Wosewick, Lee
Week 03: Lorenz, Noelck
Week 05:
Week 06: Dickson, Wosewick
Week 07: LaLuzerne, Lin
Week 09: LaLuzerne, Noelck
Week 10: Felber, Lorenz
Week 11: Lin
Week 13: Winder, Liebenow
Week 14: Every, Dedrick
Week 15: Liebenow

12 December 2016



“Lost in contemporary usage of the term, however, is the tension held in the original phrase between two seemingly incompatible conditions occurring simultaneously: “The normal and the fouled up. If something is normal every day, and ordered then how can it also be disordered, jumbled, and otherwise out of kilter?”


1)      We are all familiar with the quote that “Form Follows Function” however Lewis imposes the idea of SNAFU into this logic and questions if we can change that to “Function fucks with form” Here “function is not reducible to form, and form is not the inevitable conclusion of programmatic dictates. Instead, a self-critical, imaginative, recombnative conception of function opens up a new territory for formal and spatial exploration.” What are the roadblocks we face as architects to experiment with this change in Logic?


2)      Generic programs-stores, bars, apartments, office buildings, theatres – provide a rich ground for examination for these “dumb programs” possess recognizable architectural conditions. Because of how embedded Architecture is into economic and social systems we are tied to convention, discipline, and standards. How can we stop taking program and convention for granted and get out of the repetition?
3)      Friedrich Nietzche stated “What is familiar is what we are used to; and what we are used to is most difficult to “know”-that is, to see as a problem; that is, to see as strange, as distant, as ‘outside us. Lewis continues by stating that “critical architecture challenges the familiar, is there a point where something is done consistently due to its programmatic success or is this due to complacency and laziness.


4)      “Surrationalism is the self-conscious examination of the rational.” Architecture is an inherently surrationalist activity due to the manifestation of the self-conscious into a rational object. How the image is made material is through a highly ritualized act of the documentation process do agree that our current process is reduced to routine or is it an affective translation?
5)      In the reading Lewis discussed the works of Keaton and his unorthodox yet logical solutions to ordinary problems in film. In his films Lewis plays with the balance between the expected and the illogical by taking the situation normal of going from one threshold to another and maintaining the act of closing the threshold behind you while fucking it up by changing the door into a fence. In order for this act to be believable the proper code or etiquette of shutting the door on the way out is maintained. How can this technique translate into Architecture and subvert the standard we have today?

6)      With Architecture being a Surrationalist activity due to the translation between the self-conscious examination and the rational or built form how can Hybrid Drawings help to bridge the gap more effectively then our traditional process.

11 December 2016

Experimental Architecture

  1. In the reading Radical Reconstruction, Woods references that destruction has ushered in the need for a “radically reconstructed architecture”. He makes the case that “Now there is no choice but to invent something new, a new that neither mimics what has been lost nor forgets the losing….” In what ways can historical context and information be considered, without it becoming a reproduction or pandering?
  2. Woods states, “The architect must become, more than ever before, a creature of the present, fusing all that is remembered and all that is dreamt within it, as though existence itself were hanging in the balance” In what ways can we as architects convey the present state of society and its needs while still designing in a way that has longevity and avoids becoming dated?
  3. One of Woods’ twenty tactics of a new practice is “Make second-order designs,” which argues that previous architects followed an established set of criteria and guidelines, and that the architect now must be reconstructing what the rules are, and to “design the architecture of architecture.” Is it beneficial to architects to have certain set guidelines in place as references, or is it ultimately a constricting aspect that is often shoehorned in and limits design?
  4. Woods’ tactic, “Challenge old ideas of shaping space” makes the case that the new ways of living in will remain in a “paradoxical state of destruction and construction.” This creates the opportunity for us to challenge conventional ideas and redefine space. What are some examples of spaces or concepts in architecture that are commonly accepted, and where can reevaluating what these are take us?
  5. In Woods’ tactic “Build architecture as though it had never been drawn” Woods argues that the meaning if experimental architecture is to “set in motion events that result in unpredictable forms of building and living”. How can design be clear in the sense of having consistency and purpose within the design, while also still allowing for the unpredictability that Woods is referencing?

05 December 2016

Week 14 - Presenting your Work

1. In her reading, Representation As Articulation Between Theory and Practice, Agrest describes the production of Architecture through three registers: drawing, writing, and building. While these three registers seem to be very different from one another, do any of these seem to hold more importance over the other two? In what combinations can these registers come together to produce a successful representation. Do you see any other means of representation that may build upon these three registers? (film, theater, etc.)

2. Agrest states, "...representation is one of the first areas in which ideological changes manifest themselves." She goes on to describe, "...the understanding of the world was based on establishing similarities between things, images, and words." What role do analogies play in our work as designers?

3. On page 168, Agrest claims a clear separation between design and construction, in the middle being the place of articulation between theory and practice where critical thought and new theories are developed. Do you feel the production of Architecture falls evenly within this separation as a process from one side to the other or is one side more heavily weighted over the other? (Design vs. Construction)

4. "Given the nature and the characteristics of the contemporary city, and urban culture, the mode of its representation needs to be rethought." What different means of representation might be necessary when considering the scale of a city versus representing a static building?

5. In what ways might the computer be holding us back primarily as, "...a tool in the production of architecture..." and how might we be able to utilize these new technologies to their full capacity to represent our architectural designs?

Week 14 - Presenting your work

1.  In the reading The Cognitive Style of PowerPoint Tufte argues primarily about how PP in terms of data collection and a way to share information that needs to be analyzed.  He explains that PP "reduces the analytical quality of serious presentations of evidence" and talks a lot about how PP "is not a contemplative analytical method".  His focus on this begins to imply that Tufte doesn't believe that PP is used for anything other than ways of sharing data and analysis.  Can you think of any other ways that PP is used that wouldn't require the exchange of information and analysis? And can PP successfully support it?

2.  Tufte seems to have a negative connotation on the use of PP.  He goes on and on about how PP causes more troubles to the presenters  and the audience.  For example he says that "PP slides are very low resolution compared to paper" and that "audiences endure a relentless sequentiality, one damn slide after another".  Do you think there are ways we can go beyond the standard PP format and use it in a new way that creates an 'experience' rather than just a fact providing presentation?

3.  Tufte talks a lot about the presentations put together by NASA for various events.  He talks about how other forms of presentations would work better than PP, but is there an unconventional way that NASA could have used PP to share the engineering reports and data?

4.  How do we as students push the boundaries of the standard programs that are supplied and use them in a new invented and unconventional way to share data?

5.  Tufte argues that the standard default PP presentations are composed of "incompetent designs for data graphics and tables, and a smirky commercialism that turns information into a sales pitch and presenters into marketeers".  But we as architects and architecture students are often pitching or selling our designs- in essence marketing our ideas.  So does that mean that PP is a successful tool to us in that regard?