(continued from “An accidental CAD Course: (or) Some Tips for Visual Communication in Architecture – 1”)
(2) The methods of visual abstraction and Constructing a Reality for a project: The Collage and The Unique Drawing
The second subject on which I wanted to cast a brief focus was that the design of drawings (besides) of projects that is designed. Based on the idea that each drawing could be unique through its content and should focus on one or two particular aspects of the project where one constructs a distinctive reality by various abstractions, thus constituting a hierarchy of importance and information. In short, it is to define the basis of abstraction in a way: by leaving out several aspects and layers of the project, it is to reveal and to exhibit a quality on which the architect focuses, which then resulted in rendering of a new reality offered and possessed by the project depicted. The Collage then becomes a key media regarding the issues discussed above. (See the representation of Seattle Central Library which focuses on the view the by leaving out the rest as secondary details, content-wise and visual-wise.)
Elaborating more on the subject, on portraying and constructing various realities, I’ve provided a selection of contemporary and historically momentous examples of representation. Aside from the ‘detached’ details and abstractions present in recent works of DS+R, the polemical reality invented by renowned groups like Superstudio, Archizoom and Archigram offers some critical insight into the discourse of constructing realities as well as its place in architectural theory. Central to the use of collage in their works, these visual compositions become both the tool and the medium of their discussion, shifting and detourning (1) architectural media against the very practice of architecture, about the issues occupy a larger territory than the architecture (Besides collages, do see Archizoom’s plans for the No-Stop City of 1969 and words on how the society does not need architecture). To criticize the established forms of practice and politics, and yet with an ambitious effort for creation and rendering of an architect (the act and the media of representation), the projection of layered and detached information produces a contrasting effect that is wider than the sum of the parts, defining the core dynamics of the collage. For reference, see Archigram’s depictions for the new politics and society, a ‘critical’ celebration of the pop-age where the lifestyle then cannot be separated from the ‘pop-up’ quality of the design. Here, everything is bounded and portrayed altogether; the politics, the media, the technology, the life and the spatial relations, very much as in today. Further excursions into Superstudio’s endless pure structures and the absolute floor covering the earth, very much corresponding with the idea of a decentralized ubiquitous service as in Constant’s descriptions (2), could also be helpful.
For a first-hand examination of the issues discussed, two different collages were produced during the class, out of the same material which once belonged to my thesis project at the Cooper Union. Another attempt on the ‘projection of various architectural material at once’, the integrated board design, is present in these works. This topic was also given special attention, discussed in part 3. (Please note that these material were only used to demonstrate the tools and to experiment with the rendering of different realities, holds no connection with my original project “1221 6th Ave”, notwithstanding that they seem quite nice.)
(3) The integrated presentation in Architecture: The Board as a complete visual design work
The course final,as explained in the beginning of the post, was a casual yet full-attendance class session, finalized with student production. I basically handed out a final sheet which actually was a summary of the goals of the class and the subsequent tools and methods in Photoshop, all of which defines a final work to be produced (see the Final Sheet_CAD II (PDF) here). This final work, as exemplified and critically stressed during courses all semester, consists of designing a board presentation out of various material (visuals/photos, text, diagrams, montages and architectural drawings), as an integrated visual composition: To introduce all the material in a coherent form, vivid and at once; as a visual product itself. The latter is another design matter at its own right and its analysis sets the overall goal of this accidental course.
Here are, all made out of the same material provided and approximately in 2 hours, some of the selected final work. (Originial size: A1)