Again on representation in architecture…


wAi Think Tank (Nathalie Frankowski and Cruz Garcia), Cities of the Avant-Garde, 2011 (collage, digital manipulation and mixed techniques)

WAI Think Tank (Nathalie Frankowski and Cruz Garcia), Cities of the Avant-Garde, 2011 (collage, digital manipulation and mixed techniques)

I really loved this article in DOMUS about the representation in architecture. It reminded me one of my recent posts (Is digital architecture the new architecture?) reflecting exactly about the fine line that divides representation as a means of communicating your thoughts and exploring new paths VS representation and new technology as a means to “sell” your imposed visions of a perfect world and perfect society to delight your clients, that we see everyday on architecture magazines.

I definitely agree with Perry Kulper, who says that representation enables continuous critical debate in the discipline of architecture and the possibility of architectural vision without necessarily being constructed (visionary architecture). 

However I must say that I believe to be a big difference between using drawing, models or any other technology to explore and test concepts and construct an architecture theory through experimentation and this two current ideas in theoretical discourse.

One says that you should expand the intellectual limits of architectural thinking as described by WAI THink Tank: “That if architectural representation is limited to the typical drawings and perspective (like it usually is) it will delimit through those tools the way we think and understand architecture”. WAI is convinced that by exploring the potential of tools of representation used in other intellectual disciplines, like literature, art and music, it is possible to provide new ways of expanding the limits of architectural language and therefore increase the limitlessness of our world.

Architecture has a serious physicality and technical character that has to be combined with creativity and theory that is what gives it its peculiarity and therefore the limitations of gravity and light (as described by Alberto Campo Baeza)  should be always present in architecture thinking and communication in order to not loose sight of the materiality of it. Our world is not limitless, our mind is, and it needs to be controlled in order to suit the ” bigger picture”: its social, economical and political role – as shaper of human life.

The other idea is this believe that Augmented Reality will allow the substitution of the real experience: In the book Disappearing Architecture, Michael Beigl and Georg Flachbart talk about a new concept, that of “heterarchitecture”, where real space and virtual space are “literally superimposed”.

I cannot understand such concept because it implies ignoring the real values of space and form and the complexities of the interplay of all the elements in a building or city that make our experience of a place.

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