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?