28 April 2015

Presenting Your Work

Agrest: Representation as articulation between theory and practice

1. Agrest says "Architecture is produced in three different registers through three different texts: drawing, writing, and building." Comparatively does one of these three registers more effectively represent Architecture than the others?

2. "the vision point and the vanishing point- while the frame connects two cones of vision: that of the architect as creative subject and that of the observer." These three concepts are important in representation, do you think they are stressed enough in architectural studies?

3. "Realism and utopia in science fiction become one and the same... Fantastic Cinema is possible because of the irrefutable realism of the cinematographic image..." Agrest talks about how people appeal to realism, can the use of realism in our design to change the idea of future architectural design?

4. Agrest talks about design and fabrication and the link they share, what advances do you think will be made for architectural fabrication in the next decade and how do you think those advances will affect design?

Tufte: The Cognitive Style of PowerPoint: Pitching Out Corrupts Within

1. "The Magical Number Seven, Plus or Minus Two.' That essay reviews psychological experiments that discovered people had a hard time remembering more than about 7 unrelated pieces of really dull data all at once." Do you think that as Students we should limit ourselves to a small amount of points to emphasize in our presentation boards?

2. With all of the pitfalls that PP has, do you think the convenience factor of using PP will continue to overshadow these pitfalls?

3. Do you think this convenience of using Slides will someday make its way into how architectural presentations are done?

4. In recent years programs that mimic PP have emerged, such as Prezi, SlideShark, Haiku Deck, do you think these programs are beginning to lead us away from PP and the pitfalls that come along with it.

Presenting Your Work pt 2

01.   "Throughout architecture's long history, representation is one of the first areas in which ideological changes manifest themselves." Should all theses be explored through representation? Would a more critical practice be formed? (Agrest 165)

02   El Lissitzky said, "Perspective limits space; it has made it finite, closed." Perspective is how we experience our world. What do we gain by breaking out of our box? (166)

03   "Architecture often works metaphorically, trying to emulate other fields, in particular philosophy and science.  In this case, architectural representation...works as a shifter that allows codes of one system...to be switched to another."  Working this way, how can superficiality be prevented? How can working this way advance the discipline? (167)

04   "...the mode of representation...becomes a part of the process of production of architecture and the development of the techniques of drawing and design have an impact as important, if not more, as building techniques themselves." Do you agree? Why, or why not? (168)

05   Framing is a necessary part of the drawing.  Has this been explored enough? What are some effective framing techniques? (169)

06   With a negotiation between fantasy and reality, "representation exercises a fulfilling or a filtering function."  Where do the operations taught in school lie on this spectrum? Should it be different?

07   "Two paradoxical situations have resulted from 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."  What comparisons can you make between representation? How does one influence the other as Agrest states? (176)

08   Conway's Law: any organization which designs a system...will inevitably produce a design whose structure is a copy of the organization's communication structure."  If representation is a shifter for communication, in what ways can you relate this to design? What does this tell you? (161)

09   After reading Tufte, should children be learning PP? What is their alternative if not?

10   Was there a time when you blamed a teacher for a bad teaching experience, but now you might blame PP?

11   What is the architectural presentation of the future?

22 April 2015

Avoiding Digital Pitfalls

-Picon- 1.Picon suggests: "Architecture is neither a collection of things nor a set of rules...Architecture might very well be grounded in virtual reality." In what ways are we as designers able to depart from standards of "structure" to create virtual works of architecture? Are these works as architecturally relevant as ones that are structurally mitigated? 

2. How has the context for virtual works changed through the advent more capable digital technology? Or will the technology always be secondary to the concept of virtual reality?

 3. If "space as sensorial perception was too rich and complex to allow for any kind of design" before the modern movement, and if "the ultimate ambition of modern architecture was to find a compromise between these two extreme conceptions of space in order to stimulate thought as well as sensation," what might be some conceptual goals for our emerging generation of architects?

 4. Picon consistently refers to architecture as a discipline that reflects the same cultural constructions of perception that science and technology does. Discuss examples of the influence of scientific perceptions over architecture in present day. How might architecture depart from this model?

 5. "Architectural form used to appear as the ultimate result of a process of research." however "Computer-generated architectural form can no longer pretend to achieve this status." How has the new virtual reality changed the role of the architect? -Allen-

 6. If working on the computer is cumulative and nothing is lost, do we acquire an impermanent and frivolous attitude to our design process? Consider the practice of drawing versus 3D modeling, and their influence over the resulting design.

 7.Do you agree with Allen's concept that "Computer fabrication can also provoke a rethinking of modernism's conventional formulations of repetition and standardization?" Or less directly, are there other ways we can revisit architectural movements through a new context using computers?

 8. How has the digital age influenced how we think?

 9. Allen discusses the idea of the "information landscape." Are we capable, through technology, of properly representing urban complexity in a rich way? What are the advantages of doing so?

Spring 2015 - 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 29, 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.

14 April 2015

Allen: Practice vs. Project

1- Allen does not consider architecture to be a discursive practice, it does not offer criticism or commentary. Do you agree? How can this be if oftentimes many aspects of a design serve as artifacts of the time in which they were developed?

2- In an academic setting how can we bring material practice into our inherently theoretical examination of architecture? How can we more meaningfully explore the variables presented by the realities of built work?

3- Allen states “Meaning is not something added to architecture… It happens in the interval, as the result of an encounter between architecture and its public, in the field.” With this in mind, is it possible to design prescriptive structures that affectively dictate their own use and reception?

4- In many of Allen’s examples of successful architecture designed by material process there is an abandonment of “truth to materials”. Given that there has been a resurgence of literal and “truthful” techniques in contemporary design alongside a new focus on material process, is design that considers both of these topics somewhat paradoxical? Or can it be successful?

5- Allen says that “the significant work of architecture is one that allows continual revision and re-reading, teasing out new meanings as the context changes.” How can design avoid superficiality and ambiguity while maintaining genuine openness to interpretation and change?

6- Allen talks about his writing becoming part of his practice of architecture, saying it occurs alongside drawing and building. Do you use writing in your own process of developing a project and representation? Could this help you understand and better explain your project and could it shape graphical representation?

Tofte: The Fundamental Principles of Analytical Design

1- On the topic of causality, Minard’s map of Napoleon’s forces illustrates the locations of events during the army’s march on Moscow. It conveys this information without explicitly explaining the cause of each event, but instead provides secondary data that helps the reader make potential inferences. Is this “show not tell” methodology always more affective when looking for a reader’s analysis?

2- Tufte says, “The analysis of cause and effect, initially bivariate, quickly becomes multivariate through such necessary elaborations as the conditions under which the causal relation holds, interaction effects, multiple causes, multiple effects, causal sequences, sources of bias, spurious correlation, sources of measurement error, competing variables, and whether the alleged cause is merely a proxy of a marker variable.” How do we, as design students, discern which of the variables present are most important and should be included in our analysis in order to keep them concise?

3- Tufte discusses the multidimensionality of evidence and points out the limitations of our current modes of representation in fully conveying that depth. Does technology afford us new opportunities to examine and present multivariate scenarios in the full depth?

4- How do we find means of representation that functions conventionally and efficiently, but remains accessible to readers? 

09 April 2015

Rauschenberg exhibit at UWM!

Upcoming Robert Rauschenberg exhibit at UWM Art History Gallery in Mitchell Hall.
April 22 - May 9

07 April 2015

WEEK 11: Collage - Syntactic thinking

Collage making

1. If collage is placement of fragments and then they are spliced together, what are the possible correlations between collage and architecture?

2. Nicholson states (pg18) "it is necessary for an artist to use raw materials that is directly associated with the age in which he lives." What is the future of collage when are raw material is becoming more digital base?

3. What do you think Nicholson means when he said "Collage can be assembled in a manner that reflects the sense of coexistence of urban living?" (pg21).

Recovering Landscapes

4. Corner discusses the differences between landscape(landskip) and environment(landschaft) on page 154. When in your own environment you supposedly will not appreciate it as a landscape, and while visiting a landscape you will not understand it as an environment. Could this lead to a paradox of irresponsibility towards are own environment as long as there are other landscapes to visit?

5. Do you agree with corner about representational technique and the monotony of plan, perspective, and rendering? (pg162) What are the possible limits of using other forms of representational technique?

6. There is discussion about five families of image and eidos, how do you think the families of image relate to idea formation?(pg161)

Collage and Architecture

7. Shields points out the history and benefits of collage,  If collage can be used for analysis and design what are some possibilities that can be explored through collage?