31 March 2015

Week 10 Allen: Notations and Diagrams

Jacob Beck's Questions:

1. Allen says that architectural is clearly neither allographic nor autographic. However if we considered a building solely as a freestanding designed object as it exists in the built world is architecture an autographic or allographic art? Or possibly some mix of the two?

2. Architectural graphics become notational when they include numerical and textual information along with their visual components. Is it possible to make a graphic which is notational but not overtly technical? Could we produce drawings that convey data and experience as accurately as a plan or map without using explicit annotation?

3. Allen states that "since nothing can enter architecture without having been first converted into graphic form, the actual mechanism of graphic conversion is fundamental. Is this always true? What about cases of vernacular architecture, and could impromptu construction happen without a graphic design process?

4. On page 53. Allen describes diagram architecture. In this type of design the process of conversion is minimized, there is no effort to transform material, and designs become frank and direct in their process. Does this representational method then convey experiential quality equally as well as notational methods, and as a design methodology does diagrammatic design then lead to more accessible and identifiable architecture?

5. Allen states that technique is never neutral and makes the argument that diagrammatic design leads to buildings constructed as artifacts rather than effective and interconnected spaces. He proposes a new focus on notation in architectural representation, believing it will lead to processes better suited for design in contemporary cities. Do you think his assessment is correct? Is contemporary architecture that has been designed diagrammatically (for example BIG's work) too focused on form and too introverted?

6. Allen believes that “the dream of a perfect fit between object and its representation needs to be abandoned” and says that we must accept “the impossibility of a transparent communication between architect and public”. As designers and students of architecture are you comfortable accepting this disconnect between representation and product? Are the techniques and technologies used to produce graphical representation progressing to a point where there is no longer any real gap?

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