28 October 2010

How Drawing Boosts Your Brain

 How Handwriting Boosts the Brain - WSJ

OK, This article is about how handwriting boosts the brain, but one could easily apply the same for hand drawing. There is a clear cognitive link between the hand and the brain that is activated by drawing/writing. Interfacing with a computer through a keyboard or mouse does not tap into that cognitive link. This is not to say that one should supplant the other, but it does suggest that our digital visual communication may be enhanced by better spatial understanding gained through hand drawing.

27 October 2010

Wk 9 Questions

Picon & Ponte


What is meant by scientific metaphors in architecture?


How do you define virtual reality?


According to the article virtual reality is potential awaiting full actualization, when does this potential begin as a virtual reality?  Sketch? CAD? Or just an idea?


Brunelleschi designed structure, as well as, the machines and processes that enable its realization.  Does this process occur in architecture today?  Should it?


Do you ever consider the processes and machines required to actualize your designs into a real building?


In the article, it states that structure becomes synonymous with program, is this the same as the idea of form and function?


The article mentions Peter Galison showing the notion of Aufbau, and states that it was clearly imbued with an architectural meaning.  What is Aufbau and how is it imbued with architectural meaning?


This article asks, “How are we to judge the beauty of the blobs and all the other creatures that appear on our computer screen?”  My question is how is it any different than judging our designs when they are hand drawn?  Modeled?


According to the article, one of the disconcerning features of virtual reality is its high degree of arbitrariness?  What is meant by this?


The article goes on to say “nothing can now guarantee the designer that his project is the result of the best possible choice”  what could guarantee that before?  Wouldn’t the use of virtual reality help the design to find the best possible choice?







How does the research of suicidal cats “falling” out windows relate to the rest of the article?  To architecture?


How do we stay conscious of the abstraction caused by using tools such as computers?


“Time, event, and program cannot be addressed through techniques of visualization”  do you agree with this statement?  Why/not?

“I ask myself, what is pissing me off about this?  What’s pissing me off is that it uses so little of my body.  You’re just sitting there, and its quite boring.  You’ve got this stupid little mouse that requires one hand, and your eyes.  That’s it!”  Do you the interactive techniques apple have put forth into the iphone and ipad and Nintendo put forth into the wii can eventually be applied to design programs?  Would it help us design better if it required us moving?  Do we even need to move, when we sketch we just move a pencil with our hand, how’s that different than a mouse?


Does the digitalization of information into general binary code really affect your design?  What could actually be lost through this process?


In reference to computers, this article mentions “the field of freedom shrinks with speed”  Is it not the other way around?  Should the field of freedom not expand with the speed of the computer?

21 October 2010

Visualizing Data

This is a very interesting follow up lecture on Chris' previous discussion about what we can do with numbers. McCandless really got his start as a journalist, but has since migrated over to the analysis of data. The relevance of this talk is pretty obvious so i'll keep this one short and sweet! Cheers.

19 October 2010

Above Leadbeater discusses the "radicality" of ideas and that traditionally the most radical ideas are the strongest. These outlandish ideas are usually created without a conception of how the idea will be applied. On the whole, the harder it is to determine how to apply the idea, the stronger that idea is! Later, Charles discusses how corporate structures can benefit from taking advantage of both institutional and community based models.

17 October 2010

Narrative Mapping-Ulysses


Stumbled upon this interesting post from bldgblog which touches on the use of a narrative being used as a blueprint for 3d space. In this particular case, Dublin, and how its described in Joyce's Ulysses.

13 October 2010

Week 7_Questions

Visual Explanations: Parallelism: Repetition and Change, Comparison and Surprise

  1. In the Edward Gibbon excerpt, what are the layers of parallelism used?
  2. How is Gibbon’s message portrayed? Is the tone of the piece clear?
  3. In the Notation of Movement on page 82, are Margaret Morris’ symbols effective or is the juxtaposition of photo and title page the only reason any comprehension occurs? Is this an effective method of symbolic representation?
  4. Are parallelism-in-space relationships more effective than parallelism-in-time? Does it depend on the subject of comparison?
  5. How do the messages differ between space and time parallelism?
  6. Referring to the Peter Apian diagrams on page 86; What advantages and disadvantages does graphic simplification hold for investigation of phenomena?
  7. When you add many layers of data analysis do you lose the experiential quality of the subject you’re analyzing?

Beautiful Evidence: Sparklines

  1. Should sparklines support the text or should the text support the sparkline?
  2. Can sparklines stand on their own without text?
  3. What are the positive and negative effects in technology of producing data graphics?
  4. What is the best way to analyze graphics representing data for their validity? Is there any way to reduce bias in data representation?
  5. Is the usefulness lost with the density of data in a diagram such as the DNA graphic on the bottom of page 52?

07 October 2010

better than your average walkthrough


takes a minute to get goin, but pretty rad.

06 October 2010




1. Are storyboards limited to design proposals? Can we learn more by doing them after a building has been built? How do storyboards and film differ?

2. What does David Hockney mean states, “There are so many relationships created by juxtaposing each photo, and the permutations of these relationships seem so numerous, that you continue gazing at it, and seeing it in many different ways.” Do you think this is true?

3. Are storyboards still relevant as a media in architecture given the ease of creating virtual walkthroughs? What are the pros/cons of using storyboard vs film?

4. Storyboards can “challenge perceptions about the representation of architecture beyond eye-level”, such as from the point of view of a cat. What do we actually learn from them?

5. In respect to our studio project, how can storyboards be used to enhance design? Presentation?



1. How do we begin to design with descriptive emotion? Should we?

2. Vidler states, “Of all the arts, however, it is architecture that has had the most privileged and difficult relationship to film” (p.2 of pdf), how is this so?

3. When Vidler speaks of ‘spaces of horror’ what is he referring to?

4. What does Panofsky mean when he states, “To prestylize reality prior to tackling it amounts to dodging the problem…The problem is to manipulate and shoot unstylized reality in such a way that the result has style”.

5. Where in some of the films for our first exercise do you see the background being used as a tool to enhance the mood/theme of a scene?

6. Attention, Memory, Imagination, Emotion are the “forms of the inner world”, how are they used in modern design? Your designs?



1. How would you define the icon?

2. Why does McCloud present himself in such a cartoon-y way as oppose to articulating his face and physical demeanor? Do see this same idea in architecture projects?

3. Can design be abstracted too far? At or past the point of cartoon? How do you decide which level of abstraction is appropriate for your process?

4. What does McCloud mean when he says that inanimate objects become extensions of ourselves? Examples?

5. Why are protagonists often more abstract in cartoon/comics such as tin-tin, while the background or the antagonist is often very descriptive/articulated?

6. How do we separate the message from the messenger in architecture?

7. Is there a way to bridge the realm of the concept with the realm of the senses?

02 October 2010

Understanding Comics - Scott McCloud

This TED video of Scott McCloud gives an overview of his book and is helpful in understanding this week's reading (which is now on d2L). This is of great significance if we think about how to represent an architectural experience. There are a number of devices to be utilized by architects. Not that our presentations would be mistaken for comics, but the presence of space, time and sequence in those presentations can give a deeper understanding of your work.