Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Abstract - Attempt 2

I was unsatisfied by my last effort so I just went looking at some other help and resources.

I found this on the blog I just want to take pictures, linked below.
Questions to help formulate an abstract:
  • What am I doing?
  • Why am I doing it?
  • How am I doing it?
  • What do I hope to find?
  • What will the significance be?
What am I doing?

I am drawing architecture.

Why am I doing it?

I am looking for some connection between what and how we draw and the design. I am also looking to have a better understanding of what is the best way to go about drawing a project. In addition to these I want to be better at all aspects of architectural drawing. So, I guess I am looking to answer some of the questions I have in this regard to make me a better architect. I feel that, depending on the circumstances, an architect should be able to decide on what type of drawing would be best suited and how to best accomplish it. In some firms there was something missing in the drawings that were issued. An unexplainable lack of certain elements. Be it detail, information, clarity or beauty. All which are elements that are essential to an architects drawings, in my opinion. The drawings are the product that architects actually create, not buildings. They are made by the contractors and construction workers.

How am I doing it?

Through various drawing exercises, I am exploring the different aspects of architectural drawings. By drawing different building types, with different media, for a variety of purposes.

What do I hope to find?

I hope to find some connection between what we do and how we do it. I am also looking to gain enough experience to have some sort of guidelines for projects in the future. If a project comes up at an office, I have some experience on which to base decisions on how to best represent the project.

What will the significance be?

This is a question I have been asked for a while. Significance for whom? The significance for me is the exploration of something I feel strongly about. Becoming better at something architects are required to do every day, as explained in the preceding paragraphs. The significance for Architecture as a profession? I really don't know.

I think all of these can be expanded on and developed, but I think it is a good start for my abstract.

Abstract - Attempt 1

With people constantly asking "What is your thesis about?" it becomes habit to say the same thing over and over even if your thesis has changed since you wrote it down last. I thought I would take a new attempt at writing what will become the abstract for my thesis. I am going to start a bit slow and start with a few sentences that continually come forth when I am explaining what I am doing:

This thesis is an investigation into the relationship between Architecture and the Drawings that Architects produce. Architects trade in images, they are the language with which we communicate. An understanding of that language is essential to the architectural process. Through a series of drawings, this thesis will gain a better understanding of architecture and the relationship that exists between the two.

I guess without knowing what the relationship is it is hard to write about. But that is what the thesis is all about.

Friday, March 27, 2009

25 Hour Drawing - 3x3x3

Exercise Synopsis: for a "Dwelling" measuring 3m x 3m x 3m, complete enough drawings to sufficiently describe the building. Two restrictions: only 1 sheet of paper, and I must draw for 25 hours total. If the drawings are "finished", I must keep drawing up to the 25 hr mark.

This is the result. An ink orthographic with pencil renders. The design was up to me and was completed quickly. That was not what the exercise was about. This is the first in a series. There will eventually be 3 total. All will be dwellings of some type, but they increase in scale: 8 x 8 x 8 and 24 x 24 x 24.

I think the increasing scale done on the same size sheet of paper is an interesting investigation into the effects that the drawing surface (or the constraints there of) will have on the drawing.

Because of the scale of this people, being 1:20, a fair amount of detail needed to be added so that the drawings didn't look empty. With it being a dwelling, I thought that some illustration of inhabitation should be added. I started with the bed; ruffled sheets, duvet tossed aside. These things added the feeling that someone was/could actually live in this space. This, to me, is the most successful part of the drawing. As I continued on, I made mistakes, fixed them, made new ones, etc. It was a very interesting process, being forced to continue drawing even if I thought it was done. I thought that I either needed another day of drawing, or 4 hours less.

With the bed being the most successful portion, a new sub-project has arisen. On a new sheet of paper, start with the same bed. Draw the way the light plays across the bedding, and begin to spread outward, letting the drawing (the light and shadow) determine the room. It was almost working backwards. Letting the drawings generate the design. It should be and interesting project.

Throughout the drawing process I am keeping a journal of the thoughts, revelations and questions that occur to me as I work my way through each drawing. I may be posting some of these pages with the drawings in the future.

Buildings are Drawings First

I am having a few problems uploading my first drawing exercise. So, for now, here is an image I had done early in process that I still think represents one of the main ideas of my thesis. Every building was first a drawing. Behind all the design decisions, dimensions and materials; there was drawing or sketch that translated the ideas in an architects head for others to see and understand.

The sketches are my own. The photograph is not. I have apparently lost the source, so I apologize to whoever did take it and I thank you.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Literary Primer

Below is a list of most of the books that I have been reading. It is here as a primer for those reading the subsequent posts. To give you an idea of where some of the ideas and concepts are coming from.

BENTON, TIM. The Villas of Le Corbusier : 1920-1930. New Haven: Yale Univ. Press, 1987.

Proved useful for developing the concepts from which I derived an early project. Looks at buildings specifically through some of the images to find similarities between projects and drawings.

BLAKE, VERNON. The Art and Craft of Drawing; a Study Both of the Practice of Drawing and of Its Aesthetic Theory As Understood Among Different Peoples and at Different Epochs; Especial Reference Being Made to the Construction of the Human Form from the Practical Draughtsman's Point of View, New York, Hacker Art Books, 1971. New York, Hacker Art Books, 1971.

Looks at how the practice of drawing and the theory behind it changes among different people and through different art styles. It differs in the fact that it address Architecture in a very minimal fashion. Some of what is discussed can be applied to what I am doing.

BLAU, EVE. Architecture and Its Image : Four Centuries of Architectural Representation : Works from the Collection of the Canadian Centre for Architecture. Montreal: Distributed by the MIT Press, 1989.

Architecture and it’s Image begins as a collection of architectural drawings. It proposes that architectural drawings can be organized into sets and certain characteristics are indicative for each set. Beyond the planning set or construction set, this book organizes drawings into sets such as theatre and performance, architectural publications and exhibitions. They all relate to each other. Drawings are meant to be viewed individually. In such a way, this book provides and insight into the nature of architectural representation. “Drawings are projections through which architects visualize, test an order imagined relationships.”

BONTA, JUAN. An Anatomy of Architectural Interpretation : a Semiotic Review of the Criticism of Mies Van Der Rohe's Barcelona Pavilion. Barcelona: Gustavo Gili, 1975.

A useful book. Initially taken out for use on the Project for M1. Looks at a building as a culmination of the articles published about it. A good starting point for looking at a building in the same manner but through the images that are published. The images can become the building to those who can go and see it in person for whatever reason.

DONDIS, DONIS. A Primer of Visual Literacy. Cambridge, Mass., MIT Press [1973]: Cambridge,

This book is a primer designed to teach students the interconnected arts of visual communication. The subject is presented, not as a foreign language, but as a native one that the student "knows" but cannot yet "read." Deals with the concept of visual literacy which seems to be becoming a phrase that I will be using often.

EVANS, ROBIN. The Projective Cast : Architecture and Its Three Geometries. Cambridge, Mass. MIT Press, 1995.

The Projective Cast by Robin Evans is a study in Architectural theory and representation in regards to geometry and composition. In addition, Evans writes about the problems facing architects and architecture with discussions on the meaning of space, imagination and perception. It is the latter which is of the most interest to topic of research but the other areas presented may hold other insights which could prove useful as well. How we percieve and interact with spaces and to best use them can be applied directly to my thesis because they are discussed in the terms of geometry and represented though architectural drawings. This book is a comprehensive look at architectural drawing before the computer.

GEBHARD, DAVID. 200 Years of American Architectural Drawing. New York: Whitney Library of Design for the Architectural League of New York and the American Federation of Arts, 1977.

Another straight forward text. It is a historical record of the progression of architectural drawing with specific focus on North America starting in 1700.

GOMEZ, ALBERTO. Architectural Representation and the Perspective Hinge. Cambridge, Mass. MIT Press, 1997.

It examines texts, concentrating on the relationship between drawing and architectural space in the period from the seventh to the twentieth century. To understand and evaluate the place of vision in the Western architectural tradition, the book includes a general introduction to optics in antiquity and the Middle Ages and addresses the question of the evolution of linear perspective.

GRAVES, BRIAN. Michael Graves : Images of a Grand Tour. New York Princeton Architectural Press 2005: New York Princeton Architectural Press 2005.

Similar to the Corbusier sketchbooks, it documents the sketches of Graves while he was on the “grand tour”. Useful for the same reasons as the Corb. To follow ideas and concepts through from the sketching stage and try and find a correlation between the image and the idea. Also, contains a printing of Graves' article “The Necessity for Drawing” which may be a very useful text. Addresses the problem of architectural drawing.

GREENE, HERB. Mind & Image : an Essay on Art & Architecture. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1976.

Looks to be a very influential book on my thesis. I deals specifically with the relationship between the Image and the mind. Talks about the Image as a symbol and the various meanings that can have. Haven't read to far into it yet, but what I have read has been directly applicable to what I have been discussing.

GUSSOW, SUE FERGUSON. Architects Draw Freehand Fundamentals (Architectural Briefs). New York: Princeton Architectural P, 2008.

Architects Draw offers a very practical way for Architects and other sketchers to translate what they see onto the page, not as an imitation of reality, but as a blending of voids and solids, light and shadows, lines and shapes.

HEJDUK, JOHN. Education of an Architect. New York: Rizzoli, 1988.

This book is a collection of student projects from the Cooper Union school. It is useful to be able to see how different people respond to the same design criteria and what sort of images are produced for that falls into how different people see the same thing. In this case it is an abstract idea which is the described through images.

KEPES, GYORGY, ed. Sign Symbol Image. New York: George Braziller, Inc, 1966.

A collection of essays from a variety of disciplines which will help me define the concepts of symbol and image. Find the differences between them and also deals with how people respond to the various types of images that we live with on a daily basis.

LEBORG, CHRISTIAN. Visual Grammar. New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 2006.

This book is dealing with every imaginable visual concept - from abstractions such as dimension, format, and volume; to concrete objects such as form, size, color, and saturation; to activities such as repetition, mirroring, movement, and displacement; to relations such as symmetry, balance, diffusion, direction, and variation. It also deals with the modern problem of designing with the computer.

MCGRATH, BRIAN. Cinemetrics : Architectural Drawing Today. Chichester, England ; Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Academy, 2007.

Cinemetrics deals with the concept of the architectural image in the 21st century. The traditional 2D, paper based image that normally accompanies architecture is said to be obsolete. This book proposes a new way in which architecture can be presented. Combining new technologies, a new drawing system is introduced. Using film specifically, the authors believe that a new interaction can occure between the the viewer and the image itself. Movement and interactivity become the new line weights. They propose going beyond the two dimensions that have become the standard for the architectural image

MIDDLETON, ROBIN. Robin Evans : Translations from Drawing to Building and Other Essays. London: Architectural Association, 1997.

An interesting collection of essays. The most relevant of those being “Translation from Drawing to Building”. Discusses ways in which ideas get transfered from the darwing surface to an actual construction. Ann Bordele has borrowed it for her class next term. Would like to discuss it with her when we both get a chance.

NELSON, GEORGE. How to See : a Guide to Reading Our Man-made Environment. Oakland, CA: Design Within Reach, 2003.

This is a very interesting book. It is not simply about how to appreciate things visually. It is a book about how to recognise and evaluate the things that surround us and how to “decode” their meaning from visual information. Nelson is a famous furniture designer and photographer. It boils down to how to see the world from a designers perspective.

POYNOR, RICK. Obey the Giant : Life in the Image World. London: Birkhauser, 2001.

A look at the culture of the image in everyday life. How we as people are flooded with images everyday and a lot of the time don't even realise what we are looking at. Has some interesting insights, but it does tend to be a bit on the overly dramatic side.

ROBBINS, EDWARD. Why Architects Draw. Cambridge, Mass. MIT Press, 1994.

Another interesting book. It is a collection of interviews with architects from some prestigious offices about how each office, and architect, tends to address the issue of drawing and images. Some of the interviews are very good and have lead to some other lines of investigation, while others are sometimes dull. Yet, gives a good idea of the breath of the attitudes towards the topic in Architecture culture.

SWEENEY, JAMES JOHNSON. Vision and Image: A Way of Seeing. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1968.

Discusses the Image as a means of communication. This book deals with this concept mainly through the examples of fine art, museums and the media. It is a bit dated but still addresses a lot of interesting topics.

That list was a lot longer than I thought it was. I will admit right now that I have not completed the reading of these books. They are on the list because they are related in some way to the my topic.