Arch390/790 Visible Certainty
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Chris Cornelius, Associate Professor
12 April 2010
Discussion Questions for 04.13 (Week 12)
Allen, "Plotting Traces: On Process"
1. Does Allen's underlying argument that architecture and its context is temporal suggest that buildings should be more flexible in their conception?
2. Does the notion of narrative progression rely on the existence of fixed expressions (relics of time and place) as something for new principles to be built upon?
3.How does Allen's argument for a more illusionary architecture support his goal of discovering new theories and strategies for design? Is he simply encouraging experimentation?
Bonus: Allen writes that the lack of consistency in site program and client is offset by a tendency to repeat known solutions and too often contemporary practice is stuck oscillating between mechanical repetition and shallow novelty. How does one discover new principles and theories without falling into the latter category?
Allen, “Practice vs. Project”
1. What is "techne" and how does it play into Allen's reading? Does the topic produce 'better' architecture in your mind?
2. The quote from paragraph 2 on page 3 of the pdf: "Architecture apparently needs a grand narrative in order not to be entirely consumed by these small narratives of opportunity and constraint." What is Allen afraid will happen should this 'grand narrative' not be present?
3. With regards to successful practice, why does Allen believe that such practice cannot be devoid of theory? Why are the two commonly seen as competing abstractions?
4. Surrounding the topic of Architecture, can the medium of writing aid in the design process? Does writing have the potential to reinforce any of the subjects mentioned by Allen in this reading, or potentially benefit the Architect in other ways?
Bonus: How do we as architecture students and theory readers “constantly on the lookout for new techniques” differentiate between project and process; taking a precedent and studying not what it is formally, or means theoretically, but what it does and how it operates in the world?