30 April 2013


Alex Coyne

Mexican Fiesta/WHSF

Evan Crossman Final Project

Alex Buettner_Project 4

John Annis - Presentation

Ainsley McMaster - Presentation

Zach Haertl - Presentation

Tad Jameyfield Visible Certainty Final Assignment: Chharanagar


29 April 2013


Part of my post is set up for the full spread of the book (18 x 7), so it is hard to read. I included a second embeded html for the broken view so it is easier to read the specifics. Sorry for the confusion. I did not know how else to fix this. Email me if you want the easy to read PDF. Thanks. - Dana (drwells@uwm.edu)

22 April 2013

Arch390_VC: Week 14- Presenting Your Work...

Tufte: 156-185
John Annis

1)  Explain PP is The Software Corporation Itself vs. Presentations are like Good Teaching (pg 161)

2) What problems arise in PP when determining hierarchy

3) Sometimes or most times, PP presentations are too straight forward and mind-numbing. why do you feel this is? what is missing most times that does not include the audience?

4) Compare how the readings shortcomings of PP can be related to the shortcomings of SARUP student presentations of studio work on the alcove walls.

Agrest: pg 163-177
Matthew Breunig

1)   Architecture is produced in three different registers, through three different texts: drawing, writing, and building (pg 161) Will this list grow? With how important computers are becoming in architecture will they ever be able to add to the list? And what could it add? (augmented reality, films etc.)

2)  Out of the three current “texts” architecture is being conveyed through, has writing lost its importance? Should it be used more? And is there away you can incorporate writing within a drawing to be more then notations?

3)  “It seems that the computer only operates as a tool in the production of an architecture that in terms of its mechanism of representation is not very different from previous historical periods” (pg 176) How can we make the computer go further in architectural representation then its current capacity?

4)  “the same system that lays out the grid of the surface in the design process can in turn drive the machine that cuts those elements. Design and Fabrication are linked together...” Besides models how can we start to utilize these technologies to represent our architectural designs?  

5)  (Not directly from reading) Is the computer becoming the standard for the representation of architectural design? This comes from Will Bruder's keynote speech at MAM on the 6th of April. He basically stated that there is no need for computers to be in student design studios and emphasized how hand done work far surpasses the work done by computers.

6)  How do you have to represent a city differently then a buildings? Why? (representation of a city is on pages 171-174)

7)  “Exurbia is to the computer what suburbia was to the highway” (pg 176) Is the computer/cybernetics the downfall of the city as we know it today?

8)  How can you represent cultural aspects of a city?

9)  “Representation, theater of  life or mirror of the world” - Michel Foucault, The Order of Things (pg 163) when we represent architecture what are we aiming for? To be an act of the real world or to try to be the real world? In our representations how real do we want them to be, and where is the line they become too determinate on the architecture?

10) How does the added complexity of architectural representation that it has in itself a double representation effect how and what we choose to represent about the architecture?

11) “representation can thus be thought of as the place of articulation between architectural practice and theory. It is precisely in such moments of change where critical thought and new theories are produced and practice is radically restructured” are these new theories proven true in drawings alone or do they have to be built to become a new practice? 

15 April 2013

Week 13 Discussion, Part II

Antoine Picon - Architecture, Science, Technology, and the Virtual Realm

1.  “In recent years a growing number of images and metaphors taken from mathematics, physics, and molecular biology have spread among architects… The productive character of certain episodes in history of relations between science and architecture is perhaps attributable to the existence of similarities between operations upon which science and architecture are based” (pp. 293-294.)  In the reading, Picon lists topology, fractals, chaos theory, and DNA sequencing as some contemporary examples of this trend.  Can you see a productive character between architecture and design processes and some of these metaphors, or are they simply “mere rhetorical habit?” 

2.        “What is the reality of architectural design?  It is precisely a virtual reality.” (p. 296) How is design among the virtual dimensions of architecture? 

3.  Picon postulates that architectural form in a computer-based virtual reality no longer is the ultimate result of a process of research, and is instead the result of an arbitrary stop in an endless process of geometric transformation; a cross-section in a continuous geometrical flow (p. 303.) What do you see as the difference between computer-based virtual reality and more conventional design methods that would cause these new forms to become more like a “snapshot or videogram?”  Do you agree with Picon’s sentiment?  

4.  From the last question, Picon questions our ability to judge the beauty of forms created through computer-based virtual reality, due in part to an impression of arbitrariness.  How has the ascent of use of diagrams in design being used to as a possible antidote to combat this arbitrariness?   (pp. 304-305)

5.  Is the computer “symptomatic of a profound change in the way we make worlds,” as Picon states on page 301?  Or, is the way that we design being fundamentally changed to accommodate the computer?  

6.  The UN Studio (Ben van Berkel and Caroline Bos) use diagrams as a part of “deep planning,” which aims to integrate as many data as possible, with the goal of avoiding any preconceived idea of what urbanism and architecture should be about, and to stave off any premature recourse to form (pp 305-606.)  Can the use of data and diagrams as evidence successfully stave off all preconceived notions?

7.  “The aim of the architect is no longer to promote an alternative, and allegedly better, world but to take the world as it is, to contribute to the further actualization of its potential rather than bring about the advent of a remote utopia” (p. 307.)  How is this definition more (or less) suitable to what we as architects would like to accomplish?  

8.  What are some of the problems that Picon notes about digital architectural forms in regards to scale and texture?

9.  What is the significance of Picon’s use of the cyborg as a metaphor on page 310?  

10.  How does digital architecture represent opportunity to reestablish links with contemporary science?  (p. 311)

- Dan Kornaus -

Week 13 Discussion

Stan Allen - Chapter 3: Terminal Velocities: The Computer in the Design Studio

p. 72 – “But in the rhetorical fictions of the computer, speed brings something else: a future not only more fully integrated with technology, but a promise to recover precisely that which had been destroyed by modernity in the first place. Claims are made for the recuperation of community, self, political space, precision craft, and local identity.” Do you believe a recuperation through speed integrated into technology is possible? Where do you see possible shortfalls in this ability?

p. 72 – “The field of freedom shrinks with speed. And freedom needs a field. When there is no more field, our lives will be like a terminal…” Do you agree with this statement? Are there fields of study which might be more affected by this advancement than others?

p. 72-73 – Is it possible for technology to reach a terminal velocity? Recalling the cat analogy, what floor are we currently working at?

p. 73 – Allen describes physical forms that have now been integrated into binary form (text/books, music/vinyl, pictures/film). This has “led a number of theorists and historians to begin to think of architecture as just another medium.”
What makes architecture equivalent/different to these forms? Given the realm in which we experience the three examples with prescribed senses (sight, listening), is architecture too complex a medium to truly define in a binary fashion?

p. 76 – “Abstraction is no longer a categorical imperative, but one choice among many.”
In the context of the paragraph and our prior discussion of abstraction as a class, do you agree with this statement?

p. 82-83 – In a description of architecture as a field driven by control vs. the uncontrolled, a discussion is made in favor of working to link technology with the uncontrollable variables of city-life to fuse with architecture’s role over time. In other words, a fully controlled development lacks an ability to resolve uncontrolled nuances/variables of the place. In comparing the sprawling, organic growth of a city to a formally organized city (i.e. Paris), does this integration of technology seem favorable? What variables could be simulated?

p. 85 – “Architects who control the means of digital fabrication, for example, can bypass the builder and talk directly to the machine.” What are the pros and cons to this process of design?

p. 89 – Monsters, Inc. vs. Waking Life: What are the benefits or shortfalls of having realistic renderings such as in Pixar’s work relative to the unrealistic texture given to a realistically shot scene as in Waking Life? Does a refined fantasy image limit the ability to further develop the idea beyond the given information?

p. 90 – Neuromancer vs. Pattern recognition: “Gibson’s earlier novels were speculative projections of an imagined future in which technology has radically eroded conventional social order… There is a sense that the imagined future has indeed arrived, but in a form quite different than expected… more subtle, more all-pervasive…” Is it more conceivable to study technology as a futuristic possibility or as a present tool? By perceiving it in the present, is it limiting our abilities to design? If we look too futuristically, are we ignoring more prevalent and realistic problems? How do we work to fuse both concepts?

p. 92 – “A truly emergent architecture could be understood as a lightly fixed scaffold that allows change around a minimal number of secure points, anticipating the participation of multiple agents, in the field.” Does this process of thinking seem capable of acting universally in all projects?

14 April 2013

cornelius: thesis studio 2013-2014

Nicholas Szczepaniak_A Defensive Architecture
possible topics:
+ pushing the boundaries of digital rendering
+ use of collage/montage
+ descriptive geometry
+ image/model hybrids
+ analog/digital hybrids
+ diagramming and mapping
+ architectural narrative

eight students – option b
fall 2013:
you will enroll in arch 794 pre-thesis (3 cr.)
+ topic development
+ readings and discussion on image/representation
+ technique exercises – analog/digital

spring 2014: 
you will enroll in arch 891 master’s project (6 cr.)
+ must have at least one additional committee member

+ 500-word abstract of your thesis idea/topic of exploration.
+ the five (5) best images you have created to date.
email these items in .pdf to christc@uwm.edu

I will set-up individual meeting after reviewing your material.

09 April 2013

Spring 2013 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 16, you must submit a 500-word abstract of your research topic. 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.

You will be presenting your research topic, methodology and progress in class April 30. Your progress must be documented and summarized in a .pdf file that you will upload to the d2L Dropbox.

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

Week 12- Research Methodologies

 Allen, “Practice vs. Project”

-What is “techne” and how is it related to the reading? (XI)

-Allen says, “The practice of architecture tends to be messy and inconsistent precisely because it has to negotiate a reality that is itself messy and inconsistent.” Do you think reality will always be messy and inconsistent? (XI)

-Why do you think architecture cannot “approach the transparency and speed of other medias?” (XIV)

-Allen states, “The activity of writing for me is part of the practice of architecture.” When do you find writing useful in the practice of architecture? (XX)

Salomon, “Experimental Cultures”

-Salomon states, “to design – you must first research the context it operates in and on.” What are some ways you have researched context and how did you use it in your design? (36)

-“The move away from individual thesis toward theacher-led, group research projects represents a diminished role for intuition in the design process.” What is Salomon's counter-argument? (42)

-What would you want in your concluding architectural course?

07 April 2013

Week 12_Research Methodologies

Experimental Cultures: On the “End” of the Design Thesis and the Rise of the Research Studio_David Salomon
Experiment, Research, & Design
1_What are your pre-conceived notions about “research,” Do you think of it in terms of experimentation, information gathering, the studying of a subject, inquiry, etc?

Definitions of “Research” from Merriam Webster
            1: careful or diligent search

2: studious inquiry or examination; especially: investigation or experimentation aimed at the discovery and interpretation of facts, revision of accepted theories or laws in the light of new facts, or practical application of such new or revised theories or laws

                3: the collecting of information about a particular subject

 2_ Nietzsche states “experiments are not limited to the controlled tests that demonstrate or provide evidence of some universal truth; that is, they are not synonymous with the scientific method. Experiments are also previously untried, decidedly risky operations aimed at creating something of-the-moment and new.” (33) Do you think there is a place for both types of experimentation in the field of architecture, is one more prevalent than the other, is one more closely related to “research” as we previously discussed?

3_What is “Design Research?” is there such a thing, or do design and research stand alone?

“Herbert Simon, who argued that design, was method for solving problems that have more than one right answer…design can alternatively be understood as both rational problem-solving technique or an intuitive aesthetic act. “ (34)

“…Research can be defined as any “systematic inquiry,” or as “the close study” of something. This suggests that there would be multiple modes of inquiry - both quantitative and qualitative – that can satisfy these requirements beyond the type of work done in a conventional laboratory.” (34)

“…Research does not simply compile what already exists, but advances the current state of the art.” (34)

Thesis vs. Research Studio
4_Architecture=Building Science + Art History + Fine Arts, where design is the “+,” Do you think that this is still how architectural education or thesis is structured, at UWM or elsewhere? Do you think this a good model? Is the teaching of design emphasized or lost within this model, should design be more prevalent, as some would argue that “(design is) Consistently recognized as the most important subject taught in architecture schools, design was also the one with the least academic credentials.” (35)

5_ “The traditional definition of the scholarly thesis was a series of statements or propositions that either built upon, added to, reinforced, or challenged an existing body of knowledge by “ construction an argument that can stand up” by itself and  be “maintained against attack” from those qualified to judge its veracity. In other words, a thesis is a new idea that needs to be proven relative to a field’s established set of facts, as such, the unique design for a building was no in and of itself a thesis. It could be so only if it added something to, reinforced a weak point within, or contradicted something in the multiple fields that made up the architectural discipline – of which design was not quite one.” (35) Do you think that this is the model most thesis projects follow today, at UWM or elsewhere, or is it more of a comprehensive design approach as described on page 36? To be a “good” thesis project do you believe it needs to follow more of the traditional model or the comprehensive design approach? How does design, research, or design research as previously discussed play a role in this traditional thesis model as well as the comprehensive design approach model?

6_In contrast do you think that a Research Studio is a better way of doing a final/large project for the completion of a professional degree? What role does design, research, or design research play in a research studio, does one element dominate? Out of the examples given in the reading of past research studios do you think that one model would be more successful than the others?

7_Overall what are your thoughts on thesis vs. research studio, are there certain advantages to one over the other? Which would you personally choose if given the option for your final project in a professional degree? Do you think that the Research Studio is what more universities will offer in the future in place of letting students do thesis projects?  

Introduction: Practice vs. Project_Stan Allen
Architecture as Material Practice
8_What is a material practice? Is architecture the only thing that fits into this type of category? What aspect of a material practice is it that separates architecture from all other discursive practices? (Xlll-XV)

9_ “Material practices unfold in time, with a full awareness of the history of the discipline, but never satisfied to simply repeat, or to execute a system of rules defined elsewhere….Constraint is not an obstacle, but an opportunity for invention, provoking the discovery of new techniques...As in intelligence work, with immense quantities of information now simultaneously available, it is no longer access to information that counts, but the ability to process, organize, and visualize information that is crucial” (XV) Do you feel that this expert only applies to material practices and the field of architecture? Do you believe that this idea plays a role in the thesis vs. research studio debate?

Techniques: Differences that make a Difference
10_”Design Intelligence, enable architects to navigate more effectively in this new, information – dense context. Speaks’ suggestive formulation plays on two meanings of the word “ intelligence.” On the one hand, it recognizes that architects and other design professionals possess a specific form of expertise, a synthetic and projective capacity unique to their own discipline. Design intelligence in this sense implies the thoughtful application of that expertise to problems specific to architecture….” (XVlll) How does this apply to our discussion of Research, design, and the traditional thesis model?

02 April 2013

Award of Excellence from the American Society of Architectural Illustrators (ASAI)

Chris Cornelius received an Award of Excellence in the Observational Category from the American Society of Architectural Illustrators! His drawing of Brunelleschi’s Pazzi Chapel in Florence is one of fifty-five pieces chosen from a field of over three hundred entries from around the world.

His drawing will be part of the 28th annual Architecture in Perspective exhibition and catalogue publication. "Architecture in Perspective: Selected Entries"