10 December 2015

Kinghi Thao

1) Regarding reconstruction, Woods says that you must build upon the existing past in order to link the past to the future. Can or does this thinking apply to all buildings not just reconstruction? Are new buildings free of the past?

2) While architects speak of designing spaces to satisfy human needs, are the social norms associated with spaces shaping our human needs to abide to the designed spaces?

3) Is there a way as architects, to fight designing for “program”? Must a space need a functionary label in order for it to have meaning and the need to be inhabited?

4) Part of Wood’s reconstruction process for war torn countries heavily focuses on building upon the past. But even he says that this process takes place during a period of uncertainty for the city (Sarajevo).

“Something entirely new is struggling to emerge.” –Woods pg. 27

Does this make his reconstruction process just a transition phase, one in which will be subject to change as the city develops its new identity?

5) Should architects design with the intent to last forever? To be able to survive and transform through wars, social problems, and nature? Is it even possible?

09 December 2015


1 Why does SNAFU stand for what it does now?

2 From the tactics section I was wondering about our own creative opportunities and methods that operate within the gaps and slips of conventional thought and the patterns of everyday. How do we push it in our projects? ... What pushes us?

3 What’s more important - Form or function? Is it mostly just based on societal needs at the time?

4 Is it true that the standards and practices we are using to make architecture are defining the work for us and our concepts driven by social pushes and codes, and standards?

5 Since a bomb shelter could be a digestible aspect of everyday life what are other functions or conventions that are being pushed in the world, or could be? Is it helpful to life – the radical architecture or hindering?

6 What role does speculative architecture play in the future of architecture?


03 December 2015

Presenting your work

    representation as articulation between theory and practice

    1. “Representation as part of the production of architecture is one of the most important operations that articulates theory and practice” Is Representation needed to create “good architecture”?

    2. Architecture and other practices – Architecture can encompass a variety of different practices, making “representation a crucial field in the understanding of architecture as the mediated character of representation itself” Do you think this process has been lost in the discipline today? Where is the line between the representation being natural/superficial?

    3. “Representation has become a part of the process of production of architecture and that the development of the techniques of drawing and design have an impact as important, if not more, as building techniques themselves” Is this the case for architecture in both academia and professional practice? Should the process of representation be just as important in practice as it is in theory?

    4. “two paradoxical situations have resulted form 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” Agrest mentions that design and fabrication are linked together. Why is the linkage lost between academia and practice today? Will there be a day where the linkage follows through professional practice?

    5. As mentioned in the course, Revit, the software most common in practice, can manipulate the design process, inevitably hurting architecture. Do you believe it is due to the limitations of the computer? The transition between technology? Or merely, the quality of work produced?

    the cognitive style of powerpoint

    6. What is the most effective software or tools to translate and present architecture today? What other software should be taught, instead of PP?

    7. With technology on the rise, Do you think architecture is more effectively presented digitally rather than a physical pin-up presentation? What do you prefer, and why?

    8. Will PP always be the most common used software in other practices due to the convenience of the software?

    19 November 2015

    Jungmook Oh's Discussion Questions

    Jungmook Oh

    Architecture. Science. Technology and the Virtual Realm

    1. Another way to understand the dynamic nature of structure is to pay attention to the fact that we actually never “see” a structure, in the ordinary sense. We only perceive its result, an assemblage of parts and materials. Structure is what makes this assemblage possible. Structure is a potency.

    - Do you agree that we “never” see a structure? If so, how?

    2. The virtual dimension at work in both architecture and science might very well account for the constant circulation of images and metaphors between the two fields. Throughout its history, science has repeatedly made use of architectural notions. In their quest for the regularities of the universe, sixteenth and seventeenth-century scientists, for instance, often referred to the architectural principles of order and proportion.

    - According to the book, it constantly put emphasis on the relationship between science and architecture. Can you come up any examples that science had made use of architectural notions?

    3. To the various critics who tend to play down the impact of the computer on architecture, there is this response: the computer is only the tip of the iceberg. It is not that the computer in itself has changed architecture; it is that, because both nature and society have changed, architecture is confronted with new challenges. Its intensive use of scientific metaphors appears as a consequence of such a situation

    -Do you agree with the author’s statement that the computer is only the tip of the iceberg? If not, why?

    Terminal Velocities the computer in the design studio

    1.       What are the advantages of CAD program described in the reading? Besides of these two, what else techniques are we using for “visualization”?

    2.       According to the reading, a moire is given as an example of figure and field. How can we define the moire and what are the features of moire? Can we find any real-world architectural examples that has moire?

    3.       What does the author wants to suggest by introducing an oxymoron, “digital materiality”?

    13 November 2015

    Fall 2015 - Exercise 04_Personal Research Topics

    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 9:00 AM on November 25, 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.

    12 November 2015

    Week 11: Research Methodologies

    "Too often, contemporary practice oscillates between mechanical repetition and shallow novelty. Conventional practice renounces theory, but in so doing, it simply reiterates unstated theoretical assumptions. It works according to a series of enabling codes, which themselves comprise a random sampling of the dictates of professional practice and the learned habits of normal design culture. It is these unexamined codes that give practice a bad name. The protocols of normal practice may be modified or adapted in response to circumstance, but are rarely challenged." from Practice: Architecture, Technique and Representation by Stan Allen. 
    Why do you think that the boundaries and limits of code are rarely examined in theory, and almost never pushed in practice?

    2.   Do you think that the codes that practice live by should be examined more closely, or do you feel that this system of rules should be treated as concrete, and therefore true innovation comes from successfully navigating these codes?

    "If conventional practice and theoretically driven critical practices are similarly structured, it cannot be a question of going beyond theory, or of leaving theory behind. What is proposed here is instead a notion of practice flexible enough to engage the complexity of the real, yet sufficiently secure in its own technical and theoretical bases to go beyond the simple reflection of the real as given. Not a static reflection of concepts defined elsewhere (either the codes of professional practice or the dictates of ideologically driven theory) but a rigorous forward movement, capable of producing new concepts out of the hard logic of architecture’s working procedures." from Practice: Architecture, Technique and Representation by Stan Allen.
    Do you believe that what the author is proposing is possible in today's world? Do you know of any architects or projects that have attempted or succeeded in this regard?

    "Why do we—the architectural academic community at large—ask students to do a thesis if most practicing architects do not work in this manner? Only some architects practice by grounding series of projects through individual theses. Nonetheless, we insist on testing the students’ abilities at this mode of working before they conclude their studies. And therefore, we continue to contradict ourselves when we present the thesis as the stepping stone for a future architect to project his/her understanding of what architecture is through how he/she believes that it should be practiced by only allowing students to follow one of the possible models of practice, the thesis." from How to Do a Thesis: Practice Models as Instigators for Academic Theses by Sergio López-Piñeiro
    Why do you think, that with the problems with the problems the author describes, the exploration of code, (or other factors of traditional practice) in the theoretical realm isn't more commonly pushed for in architectural academia?

    "Architecture itself is marked by this promiscuous mixture of the real and the abstract: at once a collection of activities characterized by a high degree of abstraction, and at the same time directed toward the production of materials and artifacts that are undeniably real. The techniques of representation are never neutral, and architecture’s abstract means of imagining and realizing form leave their traces on the work." from Practice: Architecture, Technique and Representation by Stan Allen.
    Do you agree that the techniques of representation can never be neutral? If not why?

    6.  On design 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. In this sense, it implies the thoughtful application of that expertise to problems specific to architecture. On the other hand,.. it implies that architects need to be open to the “chatter” of the world outside of their own field, and alert to new ways of interpreting, and putting that information to 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." from Practice: Architecture, Technique and Representation by Stan Allen
    With new technological advancement in design software, parametric design, BIM, etc., do you feel that architects and firms that are resilient to embrace this technology are showing a lack of design intelligence?

    7.  Do you think that it is possible to stay innovative in architectural practice and/or theory without embracing these new technologies, or is the ability, "to process, organize, and visualize information" the only crucial requirement?

    "Material practices must be robust, information-dense, and open to change and revision. Its practitioners realize that the new reality of technology and the city is one of continual obsolescence, and that the only way to survive change is to change." from Practice: Architecture, Technique and Representation by Stan Allen.
    There are two trains of thought: One being that there is no such thing as new architecture, and the most effective methods of design already exist. The other being - as stated above - that, "the only way to change is to change." Which do you agree with? Is it possible for both to be true or would that be paradoxical?

    "De Certeau understood that there can never be a perfect correspondence between the regulated geometrical structure of the planned city and the unruly practices it supports. The city’s inhabitants are always ready to take advantage of this mismatch between structure and performance. This in turn suggests that the control exercised by any disciplinary regime can never be total. Resistance will find other pathways around, or under, or through, the constraints imposed from outside, pathways that lead away from transgression, catastrophic overthrow, withdrawal or retreat." from Practice: Architecture, Technique and Representation by Stan Allen.
    Do you believe there is a way to design space that can effectively counter this resistance or do you think a better method might be to design in a way that embraces this resistance?

    "Consistency and rationality are guaranteed by the hard logic of structure, and by the indifferent behavior of materials themselves. In the case of Wright, the rational behavior of structure is not an absolute fact to be given material expression, but an opportunity and a resource — a point of provisional stability to be freely handled. The measure of Wright’s “mastery” of the terms of building is as much his knowledge of where and when to compromise, as in any mythic appeal to integrity and the 'truth to materials'." from Practice: Architecture, Technique and Representation by Stan Allen. 
    Do you agree with the author's statement about compromise? Is this contradictory to anything talked about previously in the discussion?

    04 November 2015

    Week 10: Collage - Syntactic Thinking

    Collage Making
    1. The Introduction to Collage Making reads,

      “[Collage] counters monopoly and it terrorizes guilds of knowledge. Every professional academy, institution or organization is vulnerable to collage, as orders of logic are broken apart by the collagist” (16).

      What do you make of Nicholson’s dramatic view of collage? Do you agree that collage has such a power to shatter modes of thought? Can it go so far as to threaten an institution?

    2. Why is it that juxtaposition in the creative process triggers such powerful trains of thought? Why is it fundamentally, that college is visually appealing and thought provoking?

    3. Nicholson writes of errors:
      “Consciously gluing something in the wrong order is done out of desperation to make an inroad into a mat of impossibilities. It is an activity that requires the collagist to glue anything that seems to not rely upon something else, a muculous anarchy. Once the illogical move is made the gluing continues as if nothing had happened at all. Making requires living with something that is knowingly incorrect. It is this anti-idealistic incorrectness which mysteriously permits the work to advance” (22).

       What kind of power do errors hold? Are we to leave mistakes be and incorporate them into a greater understanding of the collage, or do we correct them to accommodate your original plan?
    Collage and Architecture
    1. The reading discusses a development in experimental art, starting with the cubists, and eventually leading to collage as we know it today. Can we narrow in on a definition of “collage” by looking at all the collage-like elements that influenced these movements in western art?

    2. Monumental events had a significant impact on art. Shields explains for example how the Dadaists,

      “conceived their work as a rejection of existing cultural and aesthetic values through their adoption of collage. Like the Russian Avant-Garde, their art was highly politicized, protesting the war and the political and social structures that led to it” (8).

      In any case, collage played an important role in almost every modern art movement in responding to social change. Are there social or economic factors currently influencing contemporary art and design today? How might collage be driving that change?

    3. Are there any particular advantages or disadvantages to digital collage? How has digital media influenced the way we collage?

    4. Shields cites the Fundación Sancho el Sabio as “a reappropriated landscape that has been reactivated by the processes of disassembly, fragmentation, and synthesis for the creation of a dynamic cultural space” (12).  In what ways might you see collage as a driving force in your studio projects, or in architecture in Milwaukee and beyond?
    Eidetic Operations and New Landscapes
    1. Eidetic refers to “a mental conception that may be picturable but may equally be acoustic, tactile, cognitive, or intuitive.” Further, “eidetic images contain a broad range of ideas that lie at the core of human creativity. Consequently, how one images the world literally conditions how reality is both conceptualized and shaped” (153). In what way do your “eidetic” images produce an interpretation of the built environment different than that of others?

      Follow up: Corner writes that visual representation has the agency, or effect of creating eidetic images. What power does this give the architect? In what way can you influence the reality of a project through representation?
    2. Corner separates people between insiders and outsiders to a landscape. Outsiders see a landscape as an object, much like the first definition of landskip. Insiders see a landscape with no clear separation between self and the scene. Such a view falls in line with the definition of landschaff, which has an eidetic perception of patterns of occupancy, activity, space, and time. How can a distinction like this influence visual representation? i.e. How would being an insider influence a design, as opposed to being an outsider?
    3. Corner writes about “difficulties and potentials that underlie representational design, especially those conventions—such as plan, perspective, and rendering—that have become so institutionalized and taken for granted that we fail to appreciate their force and efficacy in shaping things” (162). Do you agree with Corner? In what way can our current conventions force us into the “pictoral impulse” that corner describes? In other words, are we misusing our modes of representation in order to create static, pictoral, objective architecture?

    4. How might the technique of collage aid in producing images that are more eidetic in nature?

    29 October 2015

    1.  The author quotes, "When a machine runs efficiently...one need focus only on its imputs and outputs and not on its internal complexity. Thus, paradoxically, the more science and technology succeed, the more opaque and obscure they become," and argues that, "this has been the case with notation in architecture."  Does this mean that there is a sort of spectrum of notational forms?  Is it that, at one end, the internal function becomes completely transparant, and the transformation from initial input to final output becomes part of the notation?  And at the opposite end, the internal logic becomes arbitrary and we only reconize the "distict character" of the input and output?  What does this mean for the application of the notation?  Which level of notation is most applicable in the architectural represenation?

    2.  "Paradoxically, the dry, dispassionate form of notation, which makes no attempt to approach reality through resemblance, is better able to anticipate the experience of the real...in the passage from drawing to building, the real and the virtual wil always be present in some unpredictable mixture."  A musical score is a type of notation that, when performed, can produce emotional effects.  If an architectural notation is produced by the designer as a means of anticipating the experience of the real, how then is it performed in way that can create an emotional effect on the viewer?  Does a notation need to be presented or performed in way that creates or simulates the experiential complexity of the realized building?  Can it be?  How?

    3.  The author suggests for diagram architecture that, "what is lost in depth is gained in immediacy. Diagram architecture looks for effects on the surface, but by layering surface on surface a new kind of depth effect is created.  A diagram architecture does not justify itself on the basis of embedded content, but by its ability to multiply effects and scenarios."  Do you agree with Allen in this sense?  Can we argue that diagram architecture strikes a successful balance of the autographic and allographic natures of architecutral representation?  Is the diagram in itself the autographic?  Is it's clarity and directness autographic?  Is the diagrams ability to layer and multiply effects and scenarios allographic?

    4.  The author references the, "inevitablity of architecture, as a social system, behaving to some degree like language, and on the other hand, the impossibility of architecture ever approaching the transparency of discursive language."  His conclustion is that as designers we must abandon the idea of a "perfect fit between object and its representation".  How does this relate back to architectural represenation as a diagram? As a notation?  How transparent must the architect be with his/her public?  Is the notation then a reasonable way to communitcate architecture?

    28 October 2015


    1) In Stan Allen’s “Diagrams vs. Notation,” he writes about the difference between diagrams and notation. “All notations are diagrammatic, but not all diagrams are notational. …Notations belong to time, diagrams to space and organization.” Does a successful diagram then include both, the notation and the diagram( the time, space and organization)? Is Andy Warhol’s Dance Diagram a notation?

    2) Stan Allen writes about diagrams as “architecture’s best means to engage the complexity of the real,” but he stresses that the process of graphic conversion is “fundamental.” Allen later writes about “Diagram Architecture.”  From my understanding of his descriptions of “Diagram Architecture,” he does not like diagrams that are used as shortcuts to skip conventional design processes in order to have a finished design. We are encouraged to produce many diagrams to explain our studio projects. Will this repetition of producing  diagram after diagram make us better architects or will it just turn us into “diagram architects”?

    3) Allen writes that the contemporary city is no longer legible in the way it used to be and that an urban site is no longer simply geographic, “The local, physical difference of cities, from the first world to the third world, is being progressively erased with the exchange of information, knowledge, and technique.” Do you think that we, as architects, should reflect these global exchanges or should we emphasize the uniqueness of each and every place and culture? How can representation help us with this dilemma?

    4) Allen writes that  “Notations always describe a work that is yet to be realized.” It seems that notations and storyboards are similar in leaving room for interpretation and development. Do you think that story boards could play a role in notation making?

    5) In his two closing paragraphs, Allen suggests that there are “crisis” of representation in the contemporary city. Do you think that there are always crisis in representation? Don't we all try to find new ways to represent our work and therefore there will never be a perfect way to represent architectural work?

    21 October 2015

    week 08: the form of data


    1.       In this reading, it is shown that parallelism is effected when the object being analyzed is repeated multiple times.  How does one know how many repetitions is necessary?

     2.       How important is it for the objects to be within eyespan at the same moment?  What determines when the objects should be separated from view?

     3.       What are some examples of parallelism used in architecture?

     4.       What are ways to avoid unparallelisms?

     5.       How can unparallelisms be used to our advantage?


    1. Do you think it is important to have text accompanying a sparkine? Do you personally find more or less text to be compelling?

    2. How long would you imagine it takes a sparkline to become legible without text? For example, we all recognize the sparkline fora heartbeat, would you say that is legible without text? Or should numerical values accompany it to make it legible?

    3. In the reading at the bottom of page 49 there is an excerpt from Galileo's discovery of Saturn's shape that integrates images into the text. Would you find readings more interesting/ would your comprehension of material be increased if small sparklines were integrated into educational texts or articles? Do you think that "non-visual" learners would also benefit from the inclusion of sparklines?

    4. On page 51 of the reading, financial data from a group of 10 mutual funds is formatted on the page in 2 ways: 1- as a table of nouns and numbers, and 2-as a series of sparklines. Personally, the sparklines are easier to understand, and I could consider making a decision about mutual funds with less doubt than I would from the table above. Why do you think this way of representing data (sparklines) has not become common practice? 

    5. Which element of  sparkline design do you think is the most important. (Elements found on pages 60-63) Aspect Ratio, Dequantification, Production Methods, Unintentional Optical Clutter, Resolution of sparklines, Resolution of Layouts of Multiple Sparklines.

    15 October 2015


    1.  “Each cell is an invitation to pause but the sequential structure urges the eye forward. The conflicting impulses to move on and linger are resolved through a narrative”.  This is really similar to how people experience and move through different types of architecture.  The “spatial narrative” is what determines how people will move through a space or where they will pause within a building.  Can we discuss examples of spaces that do this and how a storyboard might convey these spaces or the ways in which we move through them?
    2. When comparing storyboards to film he discusses the “imaginative appeal of each individual image” in the storyboard which is restricted by size and stasis.  Does each image become more powerful/critical because one image must convey activity over a period of time? How does a storyboard successfully compress time even more than film is typically forced to do? Does the imaginative aspect of a person’s interpretation of a series of images weaken or strengthen the use of storyboard in presenting architectural projects?
    3. In looking at a bunch of images of storyboards online, I began to notice how each frame is typically the same size and shape not really denoting a type of hierarchy.  In architectural storyboards how can storyboards begin to show hierarchy?  Of a space? Of an experience?
    4. Davids talks a bit about frames and how the “relationship of one framed image to another can be a story in itself”.  What is the relationship of the frames, the images and the narrative?  What can the relationship be from image to image or frame to frame and how do these small relationships create an overall narrative?
    5. With a storyboard there is no real narrative connected to the images as there is in comics, the narrative needs to be invented by the viewer.  How could this help an architectural project presented with a storyboard or how could it hurt it?  Let’s assume the designer isn’t there to present or provide their personal narrative.

    Understanding Comics | Discussion Questions | Bob Allsop

    1.               The author discusses how the more simplified the image, specifically the face, becomes the more universal it becomes, the more people it describes. He later implies that the fascination with cartoons, especially in children, is that we can see ourselves in them. Why then do the most successful cartoons seem to be more midrange, leaning toward realistic, in their visual style? In theory, wouldn’t the simple two dots and two lines face be the most relatable to the greatest number of individuals?

    2.               On pages 32-33, the author says, “We humans are a self-centered race… We see ourselves in everything.” Is it as simple as we see ourselves in everything or do we subconsciously or consciously design this way?

    3.               On pages 42-43 the author discusses “lines to BE” and “lines to SEE”. This immediately brought to mind the use of entourage in architectural drawings and renderings, specifically silhouettes vs realistic figures. Discuss your own thoughts and feelings toward the use of one form vs the other and what each might mean for your representation.

    4.               At one point in the reading the illustration of the author is drawn much more realistically and he asks “Would you have listened to me if I looked like this?” He then follows with, “I doubt it! You would have been far too aware of the messenger to fully receive the message.” I felt that had a realistic style been used up to that point and throughout the reading that it may have been a bit distracting from the content but that the message would still have gotten through. What are your thoughts on how the author chose to represent himself and how that may or may not have affected your ability to receive the message?

    5.               On page 40 the author begins to discuss the ability for things to move between the realm of concept and sense, from the conceptual to the sensual world. Discuss your thoughts on this and give real world examples of things crossing over from one world to another.