Archiprint 4 - Show us what you have got!

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Show us what you have got !

Archiprint May 2013 \\ Volume 02 \ Issue 02



Editorial Colophon Archiprint May 2013 \\ Volume 02 \ Issue 02 \ Free publication Eindhoven ISSN: 2213-5588 Journal for Architecture, created by students of the Department of the Built Environment of the Eindhoven University of Technology and architectural study association AnArchi., Editor-in-chief Aris Santarmos Final Editor Natalia Mylonaki Editors Mahsa Bagheri, Murat Imamoglu, Frank van Kessel, Michael Maminski, Leon Tonnaer Guest Editors Floor Frings, Chris de Groot, Renato Kindt, Jac de Kok, Ana Pereira, Marjan Sarab, Jan Schevers, Janet Snoeijen, Henk van der Veen, Jan Verhagen, Loes Veldpaus Contributors Ferhat Topuz

Architecture is not just about designing, it’s also about presenting. From the very first moment that you start studying in the field of architecture to the end of your professional career, you are called upon to present your ideas, as well as yourself, in different circumstances. These can either be an oral performance about a design or a research project, a portfolio design or a poster needed for an exhibition or a competition. Although the quality of the idea and the design plays a very important role in the final result, the way they are presented can upgrade or downgrade the final impression that a design makes. The architect must be able and confident enough to convince his or her audience that the concept presented is the best possible outcome. The key element to success is the ability of the presenter to adjust to each audience’s nature, whether it is professional, academic or without architectural background. This issue discusses many possible ways of presenting architecture, including oral presentations, portfolio development, model making, hand drawing, mixed media and exhibition design, as well as the idea behind the art of presenting. Moreover, in order to thoroughly understand this in practice, we came up with the idea of the ‘Challenge’, in which students were asked to present one of their projects on a single page of our magazine. So, architects: ‘Show us what you’ve got!’ Natalia Mylonaki and Aris Santarmos

Advisory committee Bernard Colenbrander, Jacob Voorthuis, Maarten Willems Design Elisabetta Bono Translation and Language Correction D’Laine Camp | InOtherWords translation & editing Printing Drukkerij Van Druenen, Geldrop Address AnArchi association Eindhoven University of Technology Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning Vertigo Building Den Dolech 2 5612 AZ Eindhoven The Netherlands This magazine cannot be republished or reproduced without the permission of the publisher.



May 2013 \\ Volume 02 \ Issue 02


Presenting a Research Project

Ana Pereira | Loes Veldpaus

The Importance of Storytelling

Marjan Sarab .8

Challenge Accepted Thomas Grievink Architecture and the Technological Idiom


Floor Frings .12

Representing Architecture Jan Verhagen


Image Making Renato Kindt | Janet Snoeijen


Why Do Architects Make Models?

Jan Schevers .20

Jac de Kok Speaks...

Jac de Kok


Challenge Accepted Teodora Adriana Cirjan


The Archiprix Henk van der Veen


The Showcase Portfolio


Chris de Groot

Challenge Accepted Christopher Ho | Mark Gijsbers


AnArchi | Agenda AnArchi .33


Ana Pereira | Loes Veldpaus

Presenting a Research Project What, Why and How…

An oral presentation, a poster presentation, conference papers – these are some of the formats used to introduce a research project. How are the presentations made? What are the important factors to be taken into account? Ana Pereira Roders and Loes Veldpaus were asked to write about their experiences on presenting their projects. Interview by Mahsa Bagheri On what occasions can you, as a researcher, present your project ? Researchers are frequently invited to present their research results, often in the setting of a conference, where a small part of the research can be presented. The presentation is usually connected to a paper that will be published in an edited book, the socalled conference proceedings. You can also be invited as a key note speaker, or to participate in workshops, seminars or symposiums. Sometimes it is to discuss the research results, other times it is more general, and you are asked to share your expertise on a certain topic. Sometimes we also give presentations for a professional audience, such as governmental partners, or for other academics. Last year, for

example, Loes held a lecture for the local government in Amsterdam, to explain our research and to put the work of the students – who were doing their graduation project in Amsterdam – in perspective. Recently, Ana held three different lectures at the Brandenburg Technical University (TU Cottbus), in Germany; one for MSc students, another for PhD students and one for the general public. Another important way of presenting, and learning how to present work, is to present for each other, in the AUDE monthly internal meetings, where the PhDs and other researchers present and discuss their progress. Here we discuss both the content and the process of our research. What varies when making presentations for these different cases? How do you take the audience into account? A conference is really specific because you subscribe to a specific theme or specific session that is on your topic. Since the conference is on your topic, you can expect people to have some knowledge of the background of your research. For other presentations, more background information is required. For educational purposes, we always try to explain to the students what we are doing and why, and give extra information on the side for those who are interested in knowing more. We always try to start with checking the background knowledge of the audience. At the same time, we keep in mind that even if you are talking to the experts on your research topic, it does not mean that they are aware of the most recent developments or very specific concepts. Loes always starts

her presentations by explaining what the concept Historic Urban Landscape means, because that is the general topic of her research, and then she tries to relate it to the context and audience of the lecture. For example, for the municipality, Loes might explain how it could affect their policy, while for students she could explain how the concept is used in a research setting or how they could use it for looking at the city. It is not always easy to start from a very basic level of understanding and go into a specific topic. You need to determine, considering the given time, which parts are more important and which parts you can skip. It is sometimes essential to also explain why you are presenting what you are presenting. And even though you can often reuse slides and parts of presentations, they are almost always tailor-made. Moreover, you need to be flexible and willing to adapt your presentation along the way. A good example of how to consider the audience in presentations are those Ana gave at the TU Cottbus. She explained our research to three different groups: MSc students, PhD students and a general audience, and she prepared three totally different presentations. For the MSc students she prepared a presentation based on the theoretical background that we also provide to our students from the graduate studio, explaining UNESCO and how World Heritage is managed. For the PhDs, the lecture was more focused on scientific journals, what they should do to publish their research output. This is very important, because it is becoming ‘the’ way to present your research output. Even if it is


not a presentation, it also sums up what you are doing and what your findings are. For the public, Ana did a broader presentation on the research programme, emphasizing the students’ contributions to it. What if you think the introduction might be boring for the audience? We really enjoy our research and the topic, so when we present it we are usually quite enthusiastic and dynamic, so we do not think people normally get bored. We try to find a balance, but we are not really scared of being boring, and, if people are bored, they are free to tell us, so we can do better next time. What is the proportion of texts and illustrations in your presentation? What kind of illustrations do you use to present your research? We always try to combine qualitative and quantitative research results. This means that there is text, but there are also statistics and charts. In presentations, we try to have as little text as possible. Often it is easier to explain the results by means of a scheme or graphic. They provide an overview of the content, and explain it better than a bunch of words. And of course, the topic World Heritage provides us with many beautiful pictures. So text and illustrations complement each other. In the end, it’s not much different than presenting your design. Being an architect, you also need to know how to visualize and report, which is useful for communicating design results, but also for communicating research results.

How is it different for you to present as a student compared to the presentations that you give now as a teacher or a researcher? And what is important for the students to show in their final presentation? In reply to the first part of your question, to us, there is no real difference between what we did as students compared to what we are doing now. Loes presented her research and final project when she was a student. Now she presents her research and thesis, which is like a final project, just bigger. Ana graduated in Portugal, and it was not different there. In the end it is the same. The only difference might be that now we are more sure of and convinced about what we are doing, which makes it easier to present. Of course, we have learned a lot through the years and we hope to have improved our presentation skills, but in a way it is always a presentation even if you are lecturing. So every time, you really have to prepare, and you are a little nervous in the beginning. Even when you are more or less comfortable with talking to groups, it is still never easy. In reply to the second part of your question, the final presentation of the students . . . It is always important to be aware of the audience. On the one hand, it is a public presentation so you have to take into account that there might be some people from outside who know very little or nothing about your topic, so you have to give some background and explain what you did, how you did it and why you did it. On the other hand, you need to convince your professors of the quality of your work,

so you also need to go in-depth and clearly show your results and conclusions. You need to practice beforehand and make sure to convey the message you want to give with your presentation within the given time. Do you have any other helpful suggestions? We are not experts on didactic tactics, we are researchers. Therefore, we also follow training courses to learn how to teach and present. It is important for researchers to learn how to teach. Usually, we know what we want to tell, but it is also important to know how to tell it. These courses explain more about how a learning cycle works and what kind of active teaching methods you can use in your lectures. They also make you reflect on your own teaching, so you can learn from your own experiences. Some methods work better in some situations than others, but teaching is also a learning process. Practice is also very important. You get feedback from others. So if you have to give a presentation and want to make sure it is good, just ask colleagues or friends to give you a short review of your presentation. They could, for example, answer some questions like: What is the main topic you picked up, or, What was the most interesting part? By their answers you can see if what they picked up is indeed what you wanted to convey. They can also tell you if it was clear and well structured. In the end, presenting is something you have to learn and practice, and feedback will really help, at least it helped us a lot. The first time Loes gave a presentation in academic English


Marjan Sarab presentation classes some years ago, she was nervous about the content, because other PhD students were from technical departments and she was there talking about urban heritage, quite unrelated to subjects like nanosilicas or innovative engines. When she got their feedback, however, it was all about body language. Loes was very enthusiastic, maybe too enthusiastic, which was a little distracting to the audience. So, the content was clear, but the way it was told needed further attention.

About the author Ana Pereira Roders: graduated as an architect at the University Lusíada (Portugal), with a specialization in Urban and Architectural Rehabilitation. Since 2004, she has worked at Eindhoven University of Technology as a guest PhD researcher (2004-2007), postdoctoral researcher (2009) and assistant professor (2009- present).

Loes Veldpaus is currently a PhD student in Cultural Heritage and Sustainability at the Department of the Built Environment at Eindhoven University of Technology. She graduated from the same university as an architect (MSc.).

The Importance of Storytelling

“Presenting is all about telling your story to your audience”, argues Marjan Sarab. In this article she gives useful information on how to make a presentation more appealing by using a story as its base.

Imagination! It is the most distinct power that a human being possesses. As a child, I was obsessed with books, stories and movies. They could take me one step beyond. Spontaneously, after studying urban design and planning for a year, I started to use my knowledge of storytelling to present my work, since the presentation makes up half of the grade for each course. As I gain more experience, I understand that, although a clear and attractive design of a poster, presentation or booklet is very important, it is not the most important aspect of representing an idea. A very good design needs an even better explanation. No matter the type of your audience (reader, listener or viewer) you need one important element: an attractive story. Each type of presentation has its own requirements and always needs certain skills, but there is one common skill

in all of them, the one that can make the biggest difference, and that is the story. Stories have been around as long as language has existed. We can even say that stories are necessary to humans, to feed their hunger for experiencing and imagining. Nevertheless, stories are also very personal and intimate; through a story we reveal information that, at some level, means we are sharing ourselves. Stories are of great importance to presentations for two reasons: first, the people in the audience experience a creative process taking place in their presence and they begin to be a part of that creative process. Second, storytellers bring their own personality and character to a story. In the case of architecture, the character of the design is the one that forms the story. In most of the presentations by students, there is a good organization; general overview, research, analysis, result, design concept and renderings. Then they start reporting: ‘I did . . .’, ‘I think . . .’, ‘I designed . . .’, rather than presenting: ‘The building’, ‘The house’ or ‘The design’. To me, it seems to be too much about them and too little about the design itself. The harsh truth is that people are not there for you, but for your design and you through your design. The solution to this common mistake is very simple: do not give a lecture about your experience of doing something, but about the experience you would like to give to your audience through your design. The first thing to do is to break up the common organization of the presentation. It is no longer necessary to introduce a




Challenge Accepted


project by exactly following the steps that have been made during the design process. The organization of the presentation should centre on creating the best way to explain the design. In that way, the entire project is focussed on the final result and how it has been achieved by using elements such as structure, urban context, light and material. One subject follows another easier and creates a fluent rhythm to connect every aspect. The second outcome is the element of surprise. While one might start the presentation with a final image, another might start with its challenges. In any case, the audience cannot guess what it will be confronted with next. This brings the third consequence: the audience will not be bored, but will be more interested to experience the ending. No more side information while making space for the most interesting subjects.

your clients understand while allowing them to imagine themselves in the design can be the biggest advantage. At a higher level, it makes your contractors and developers see the excitement of the great spaces you have created and the guarantee that the design will work. Finally, what really happens is that the imagination that has been invested in the project is shared and imported into the minds of other people by activating their imagination, teleporting them into the design and letting them have a unique EXPERIENCE in your creation.

The biggest advantage of this method is that it creates a certain freedom for each person to present part of his or her soul in the best way possible. It is also the best way to manage the time or the space available for presenting, assuring that the relation and connection of different aspects of the project become more feasible. To conclude, we love stories because through them certain subjects become more tangible. We become attracted to them and recognize them much better by relating them to our memories. As a matter of fact, complex issues become easier to understand and any person from any field can relate to them. The importance of stories, actually, becomes more obvious when used in practice; making

The presentation is an essential part of a project. A good presentation can upgrade an average architectural project, while a bad presentation can downgrade a well-developed one. We see all kinds of different forms of presenting on posters: text, photos, 3D renderings, models and sketches. The idea was to have some example posters to give feedback on. We invited the students to present one of their projects on one Archiprint page (the size of this booklet). The layout and material to be used were totally free. It was up to the student to decide on the amount of text and the number of images. Feedback was given by Hélène Aarts and Jac de Kok, who both work for Eindhoven University of Technology. Hélène Aarts is a tutor in the drawing studio and Jac de Kok is a graphic designer. The three posters have been placed in this Archiprint, along with the corresponding feedback.

THERME BERGEIJK by Thomas Grievink

Hélène Aarts: The whole poster has a balance in its colours. However, the drawing on the right side is not clear. And the top picture is too heavy and too big in comparison to the image at the bottom. Another point is the text: it’s too close to the edge. Figures [1] [2] Images from the Comic Strip realized by Marjan Sarab for her Graduation Project. About the author Marjan Sarab is from Tehran, Iran. She came to Eindhoven in 2010 to study her Master. She has graduated from TU/e in August 2012 and currently is working for the office “architecten-en-en” in Eindhoven. She has studied urban design, urban planning and architecture. website:

Jac de Kok: The amount of information is minimal. I didn’t even see the drawing at first. This means that the placement of the information is not optimal. And more contrast in the text would have made it more legible. The way it’s been done is not very inviting.

Against the backdrop of social reformist ideals, textile company De Ploeg was founded in 1923 in Bergeijk. After the war the demand for textile was huge, and a new, larger factory was to be built. The new building was designed by Gerrit Rietveld in 1956, and was surrounded by a 12 ha park designed by Mien Ruys. In 2007 De Ploeg was closed down for administrative reasons. This design for a therme benefits from the remote location in Bergeijk and the strong relationship with the surrounding landscape and park. The continues space of the factory is divided in smaller sections by new divisions made from translucent glass. In this way the lineair sequence of the production process is transformed in a more circular routing which it makes it possible to roam about the different baths.



Transformation of former textile factory “De Ploeg�


Floor Frings

Architecture and the Technological Idiom The Experience of Architecture and the Technological Idiom in the Design Process The computer gives access to a vast amount of information, and makes entirely new forms of representation possible. The most beautiful images and insights can be created using the computer. With all the possibilities of a computer, it is hard to imagine the design process without it. And indeed, technologically generated images and information are valuable, but take heed: the technological idiom brings unprecedented enrichment, but does this enrichment not bring with it a concurrent impoverishment? Floor Frings faced this dilemma during her graduation project. The objective of my graduation project was a thorough contemplation of the technologically created images and information in relation to the architectural design process. The omnipresence of the technological idiom rearranges the design process. Design models move into the realm of the computer. Consequently, design ideas are explored and elaborated within the pattern of computer programs. Design decision concerning the envisioned

space are made on, or influenced by the representations generated by use of the computer during the design process. The physical component of the design process is getting smaller, whereas the meaning of space is produced within the interaction of space and the body. The meaning of a

space grows within and because of the body. Matters have meaning because we have a physical relation to them. For example, the stone interior of a church obtains its use and meaning in interaction with our body. The height of the space is measured against one’s own height. The use of a church arises in the


is formed. Returning to the technological idiom in the design process; the question is how the ‘bodylessness’ of the technological idiom influences the architectural design process and in the end architecture itself. The bodylessness of computer programs ‘The disembodied nature of computer programs is the main reason for their inability to match human intelligence.’ 1


corresponding observation of the stone floor, the cool air, the rhythm of the columns, and the changing of the sound of your footsteps as you move through the space. Both the visible and the invisible observations of the church interior merge together in the physical interaction and from this meaning

The body is more often referred to as something that gets in the way of reason and intelligence rather than as something that is necessary for it. In What Computers Still Can’t Do, Hubert L. Dreyfus describes the fundamental difference between human intelligence and machine intelligence: the body cooperates actively in the formation of a context-horizon against which the awareness of relevant information takes place. Intelligent behaviour is formulated from this relevant information. The computer does not have a body to act as a context-horizon against which the awareness of relevant information occurs. It can merely abstract facts from the context the information is formatted in. For a computer to simulate intelligent behaviour, it has to interrelate this large amount of neutral data. In piecing together the neutral data into intelligent behaviour, the number of possibilities again expands tremendously, until the point that nothing intelligent can be said. Intelligence is only intelligent within the context-horizon of a body. Intelligent use of the computer in architectural design can therefore only take place within the context of our body.

The danger of the impoverishment of information lies in the infinite faith in the possibilities of technology. ‘If the paradigm of the computer becomes so dominant that humans start to see themselves as digital machines after the example of artificial intelligence, then – because machines cannot become humans – humans might increasingly become more like machines. The danger that threatens us is not super-intelligent computers, but sub-intelligent humans.’ 2 In order not to be reduced to ‘subintelligent humans’ with ‘sub-intelligent architecture’, the body is crucial. To examine the possible enrichment and impoverishment of architecture as an effect of technologically generated images in the design process, several experiments were conducted. The vacant ‘Schellens’ factory in Eindhoven was used as a 1:1 model and made into a research model in which different experiments were conducted. One of the experiments examined the enrichment, the other the impoverishment. Model-making as a way of thinking in the design process In the experiment with a cardboard installation I searched for an impending depletion of architectural space. The installation consisted of 300 m2 of cardboard and was made out of 1070 x 1230 mm sheets with a thickness of 3 mm. The cardboard was fixed together with 4.5 l of wood glue, and 200 m of duct tape was used to temporarily stabilize parts during the construction. This cardboard installation in the empty Schellens factory was used to


gain insight into the aspects of architectural space that are in danger of being lost due to the influence of technologically generated images and information in the design process. I solicited opinions on the spatial experience of the cardboard installation from participants via a questionnaire. First, participants answered questions about the space without having been in it physically, but on the basis of material samples, a 3D computer model, two floor plans, one section, three renderings, and three pictures of a scale model. In the second phase of the experiment, participants were asked to enter the cardboard installation. Here the same set of questions were posed again. This investigation concerned itself with changes in judgment; the embodied experience was compared to the notion of that same space before having experienced it. The experiment was not conducted to discuss the extent to which the technological idiom gives a truthful representation to use as a communication tool among different disciplines in architectural engineering, nor to test the advantages of the technological idiom for communication with a client. The aim was to achieve insight into those aspects of the spatial experience that are under threat of getting lost during the architectural design process. The research focused on the effect of the technological idiom on an architect’s ‘internal’ considerations of spatial qualities during the design process.

of answers from phase 2 of the research includes the fragility of the material, the beauty of temporality and impermanence, the serene atmosphere, the dirty footsteps symbolizing the beginning of memories, and the ‘white’ and ‘sterile’ descriptions of phase 1 versus the serene atmosphere as described in phase 2. For example, one participant described the cardboard installation as ‘esoteric, the floor is pleasantly sensual. The combination of the smell and sound produced a feeling of alienation; everything is familiar, but not in that ratio and intensity. Serene, but fleeting.’

The differences in participant answers between phase 1 and 2 lead to a crystallization of architectural aspects most threatened by the emergence of the technological idiom. A compilation

The impoverishment of architectural space as a result of the technological idiom originates in the specificity of the body in the experience of space and in the role of imperfections within the spatial


experience. The matters in the experience of a space are largely as one would expect if the characteristics of the space were told to you beforehand, but in their physical experience they are much richer in their specificity. The technological idiom can impoverish architecture if we try to build a mere likeness of the image shown by the computer. The images on our computer screens are merely hints of spaces and these technologically generated images and information present a type of perfection that is doomed to change when the architectural ideas it represents is materialized. Beautiful representations of space can turn out to be horrible buildings and the most beautiful architectural spaces can sometimes never be caught within the vocabulary of the technological idiom. There is a possible threat of losing sight of spatial aspects as a


Jan Verhagen result of the expanding use the technological idiom in the design process. However, this does not mean that technology diminishes architecture, but it implies that the innumerable insights provided by technologically generated images will only be beneficial to architecture if they are not mistaken for a final product but are seen as a methodology in which the sensing of space by the human body is taken into account. The meaning of a space grows within and because of the body. The details are crucial, even though they are small. Through the details the specificity of the body in the experience of space becomes noticeable. In order for the technological idiom to be beneficial for architecture, the discrepancy between the body and the ‘bodylessness’ of technology is essential, however complex this relation between the technological idiom, intelligence and the body may be.

Representing Architecture

Architects currently use images and objects to tell the stories behind their buildings and sell their ideas. The question that arises, however, is whether or not they are deceiving themselves when they make beautiful representations that show only a small part of the building. Jan Verhagen tries to answer this question based on what two philosophers, Charles Sanders Pierce and Merleau Ponty, have written on the issue. ‘With Photoshop and drawing you just can lie. There is no cause or effect. With rendering programs there is, but they are too hyper real for us. Working with a model is much faster: you can cut a window or you can put tracing paper on the skylights and see what the effect is. And it’s real!’

Notes 1 Vesely, D., ‘Space, Simulation and Disembodiment in Contemporary Architecture’, OASE, 2002, no. 58: p. 67 2 Dreyfus, H.L., What computers still can’t do : a critique of artificial reason, 1992, MIT Press: Cambridge. p. 227 Figures [1] Final cardboard model [2] Building Process About the author Floor Frings (1985) graduated Cum Laude from the TU/e in March 2012 with the project ‘Beleefde ruimte’ in the studio ‘Information architecture’. She currently works at the Open Architecture Office (OAO) in Eindhoven.

This quote shows an essential issue in architecture: the separation between work and result. Unlike artists or product designers the gap between these two is very big for architects. They never work on their final product; there can be no prototype for a building. Instead, architects make representations of what a new reality could be. They go to great lengths to create an image that resembles reality or creates the atmosphere they want. The images and

objects that architects make are the media to tell the stories about their buildings. They can be – and often are – used to create an image of a future building that is desirable. They are part of the process of selling the idea not only to the clients but also to the design team. But do the images we make also influence our own decisions in the design process? With other words: Do we sometimes deceive ourselves when we make beautiful representations that only show a small part of the building? To understand this process we need first to understand how our design thinking works. A design education teaches you to translate wishes and desires into concrete projects. It also provides you with the knowledge to communicate these ideas to other people. Design methods such as the plan elevation and detail are as old as the profession of architect. Two-dimensional architectural drawings tell us about dimensions and proportions, but they are a flat representation of a three-dimensional space. These drawings are the text from which the story of the building can be read. However, in order for someone to read this story, knowledge of the code that is used to make the drawings is needed. In this the drawing is different from the model (both digitally and analogue). The model gives us an idea of how we will experience the space. How we can place ourselves inside that space. The model is the intermediate between paper and reality. A gap that is difficult to span without the making of space. Although we can’t be inside the spaces of the model, they nevertheless make us think about the experience the model represents.


‘I thought about it but didn’t make it’ is a sentence that many first year students use. This is usually met with the answer: ‘If you can’t make it you didn’t think about it.’ Experienced designers seem to know that making an image can actually give us a better view of the problem. But what makes a drawing such a powerful tool for design? The core of the answer is in the theory of American philosopher Charles Sanders Pierce. Sanders Pierce made a separation between different ways of reasoning: deductive reasoning, or proving that something has to be; inductive reasoning, or showing that something is present; and abductive reasonin, or suggesting that something can be. Deductive reasoning is the basis of logic, inductive reasoning is the basis for science and abductive reasoning (also called productive reasoning) is the basis of creative thinking. By using productive reasoning, a solution can be found to a problem that has multiple outcomes. The designer provides a solution not by looking for this solution in a structural way but by testing multiple outcomes. By testing these possible outcomes the best one can be chosen, whereby the productive thinker can also find a part underlying the mechanics of the solution. But if we make architecture, how can we then test these possible outcomes? In an ideal situation this would mean testing different versions of the actual building before deciding on the best solution. This, however, would be a very costly solution. To test the building design we need a representation of it, a classic representation

or a modern rendered and Photoshopped computer image. These representations of architecture surround us on the Internet, in magazines and in books. The accessibility of reference images has exploded in the last decennium and the stacks of ‘paper architecture’ along with it. But are these images a good representation of the buildings they show? What qualities do they share with the real object? Changing the lighting conditions or cropping the image are simple methods, but if we do, what remains of the representation of the actual qualities of the objects we design? An answer to these questions might be hidden in the double meaning of the architectural image. Primarily, it is used to share information about the design. Therefore the focus needs to be on the qualities we want to discuss. The image needs to be a caricature. On the other hand, we use these images to form our own image of the building. Therefore we need to be careful that we keep remembering the difference between the image and reality, the difference between presentation and representation. These are two concepts that are hard to grasp. In order to explain the distinction between these concepts, we need to know how we understand the world around us. Merleau Ponty says that when we look at the world we form a connection with it. We look at a thing of which we know something, and through this knowledge we grant qualities to this object. The object we look at is therefore formed by the qualities of the object itself as well as the knowledge we have about it. When we understand presentation as the showing of pure inherent

qualities of an object we can say that we will never see this true presentation. Because we will always search for a memory by which we can understand the things we see. Only if we were without memories would we be able to see the reality (presentation) of the object. Merleau Ponty shows us that our judgement is determined by the memories and knowledge we have of something. In this we use our architectural presentations to communicate our designs. We give them qualities that we also see in the world around us, searching for the same association. When we present these images to somebody else they may not have the same memories and associations. By presenting an image we can therefore evoke thoughts that we didn’t foresee. This is something that becomes apparent when we exhibit architectural models. The model that was made as a design aid becomes an autonomous object. The model used to be the carrier of the idea. The model gets its meaning from the building. It represents a scaled version of this building or works as an representation of the idea. Therefore, a study into the meaning of the image should shed the weight of architecture to see the image as the image that it is. Again we see the two sides of the model, the autonomous qualities and the qualities of the idea behind the model. The intrinsic quality can be a subject of research, but it isn’t separate from the idea that is behind the model. On the contrary, the two sides are mutually reinforcing. Herein we see the quality of the concept model. The qualities of the materials, the connections


Renato Kindt | Janet Snoeijen and the colours become representatives for the qualities that we want the final result to have. The way we make these fast models shows traces of our thinking. The working model has a purpose; it’s a tool to find out something. Here we finally find a part of the essence. The making of an architectural image is not something that is done in retrospect but it is part of the concept of a building. The model doesn’t form itself to the building but the building to the model. Eisenman says that his early work still contains the traces of cardboard. This becomes even more apparent in the work of OMA. This office has made the model into a means that has no direct relation with the making, but takes a position as a instrument of power and persuasion. The models of OMA show architecture separated from surroundings, gravity or human scale. They show a world of ideas and they tell us the story of the idea. These models are conversation elements that make us think about what we want to represent with the building. Therefore they are essential tools in the design process. Something similar can also be found in the conceptual 1:1 scale models of Peter Zumthor. Unlike Rem Koolhaas, Zumthor tries to find the tangible qualities of the building trough the making of models. His models are made accordingly, they look real, feel real and smell real. But are they therefore closer to reality than the concepts of Koolhaas? Do the models of Koolhaas lie to us because they have a more narrative approach to architecture?

In both examples the model is still a representation. Both Zumthor and Koolhaas show only a small part of reality, the part they want to show. They search for ways to communicate this particular part of the design. This has an inseparable connection with the architectural practise that has to transcend rational solutions and connect to our emotional side. Both Zumthor and Koolhaas give a form to this emotional component. They use their models as handles to get a firm grasp on the design process. The designer as explorer needs these points to reflect on his own activities. The making of a model or a drawing enhances the chance that we can find and describe the qualities that we search for in the design. It is a first step towards a realization of these qualities in the final building. Through the image or the model we are able to formulate the question. That’s the most important quality of the designer.

Making Images

About the author Jan Verhagen is a graduate from the Faculty of Architecture of the Eindhoven University of Technology.

Computer imagery is completely different. There seems to be little spontaneous space

Hand Drawing vs. Computer imagery

How is hand drawing applied nowadays to present an idea? How can hand drawing be combined with media? And how is hand drawing comparable to computer imagery in terms of freedom in expressing an idea? Knowing more about these items was the reason for asking Renato Kindt and Janet Snoeijen to show us some examples. Janet Snoeijen: To me, image making has always been a combination of a piece of paper and a pencil. Not necessarily because that is the way I learnt to draw from childhood, but merely because this way of drawing is my favourite one; just a pencil or a fine liner, without any colouring or painting. Although I realize that hatching and shading can make line drawings so much more vibrant, my analogue drawings are usually just multiple overlapping outlines. Drawing this way enables me to produce something that does not pre-exist and is born during the process. The tip of the pencil travelling over the paper releases ideas and makes them instantly visible.


or even just a man-made image? Drawing for me is about curiosity. About exploration and knowledge of the surrounding world even if it doesn’t exist. Drawing is therefore part of personal infinite loops: continuous connecting, thinking, drawing, making and seeing in all sorts of compositions. Drawing is also making the world within me visible and real to other people. Important for me is to change and try different ways of thinking, drawing, making and seeing in order to develop those loops into fascinating and satisfying results. All types and methods of drawing can be suited for this. But drawing by hand is always useful: fast and slow, accurate and loose, clear and confusing, head and hand.


in manufacturing a CAD-drawing or a computer model. Everything has to be correct and resolved. In a way there is no creativity in making such a drawing. It remains an image, the design itself lies in the territory of different media; the sketch or even a mental sparkle. But still there are ways to be creative within digital media. The assignment of D-drawing was an opportunity to experiment with the combination of digital and analogue

media. Just by experimenting with different variations and manipulating the contrast between hand drawing and computer imagery, fascinating possibilities were discovered. Renato Kindt: The image (fig. 2 next page) consists of a sequence of seven fading coloured shapes. It refers to hills with forestry. It looks like a landscape. But is it? Is it not actually an image of a strange man-made construction,

Figures [1] Entrance of Vertigo (Sketchup and handdrawing, 2012) by Janet Snoeijen [2] Land_scape (Silkscreen print, 2005) by Renato Kindt About the authors Renato Kindt is the main tutor of several hand drawing courses and he is a university lecturer at the department of Architectural Urban Design and Engineering, TU/e. Janet Snoeijen is Bachelor student at TU/e .




Jan Schevers

Why Do Architects Make Models? A Reflection on the Role and Importance of Physical and Digital Models Architects use different tools to communicate their projects, but also to carry on the research and the design process. Models in particular, both physical and digital, offer the opportunity to give a complete overview of the concept, design process and architectural elements. Moreover, models work as an effective medium for presenting projects to people, for example clients, who don’t belong to the world of architecture. Jan Schevers tells us how he dealt with and deals with models in his personal experience and in his job at the Open Architecture Office. His approach underlines a fascination with materials and the tactile experience of architecture. Interview by Elisabetta Bono There are several models in your office, made out of different materials, on different scales and showing different aspects of the project involved. What can you say about the way you approach presenting your projects? In our office we use all kinds of presentation

means and media. We use different ways of communicating for each stage in the project and for each goal we have with the presentation. We often use models, and not just for presentations. The main reason we use 3D models and physical models is to help us in our design process. So it’s not just about communicating projects to the outside world, but also internally. If I’m working on a design, I often have some kind of visual idea in my head, and I think I have figured it out entirely. Then I make either a virtual or physical model, and often it is how I imagined it, but sometimes it is completely different and it doesn’t work, so I start over again or I adjust the design. Sometimes I’m really surprised about some of the aspects that I can see in a model and that I hadn’t thought of before. I think that the way we use physical models is primarily to get the design process going and on a secondary level to communicate everything to the client, but our models are not like the ones you see in a lot of offices, where they are mostly used as a final presentation product. This attitude is not one that we feel comfortable with. Do you consider a model more communicative compared to a rendering or 3D model realized with modelling software? And if so, why? It depends on whether you are talking to a client or inside the office, and I’m also still learning and struggling with this. A couple of years ago I had this work flow, which revolved around 3D models, built in Archicad and then rendered in Cinema 4D. It was really easy to make very good-looking pictures; I used them especially with my

clients, and they were really popular. The city council also appreciated these pictures. I was sort of happy with it, and I felt really comfortable with it, too. Maybe too comfortable, because it turned out to be just about tricks of rendering settings, and it turned into a sort of production factory. During my studies at this university and also during my graduation, however, everything was analogue, untouched by the computer. I was ‘allergic’ to Autocad, and at that time, in 2000, I really liked to draw by hand, and I still do, so I didn’t see the point of 2D digital drawings, where all the feeling is lost. In reaction to this I did my entire graduation project analogously. I used nine different slide projectors, hand drawings and physical models. Then, when my work experience started, I moved to computers and 3D modelling, which actually provided me with a lot of advantages. It was faster compared to hand drawing. I still think that all the hand drawings I did allowed me to do better computer drawings, with line thickness and to get a better feel for the scale I am drawing in. But then, after I became comfortable with this 3D modelling, my office started to expand. A couple of students came in, and they were really handy with models. Floor Frings and Raoul Vleugels, they came in with these ideas about modelling, and for me this approach became interesting again. This gave rise to an entirely new way of working inside the office, an approach that consists of a combination between 3D modelling, which has a quick effect, and physical models. In my opinion, this is a really good combination. In fact, now half of our



office is occupied by a workshop that is completely open to the rest of the office. It is also interesting to see how you use physical models that look like 3D models in renderings. You showed me some amazing pictures of a model treated this way. Why do you use models in pictures, rather than a rendering of a digital model of the project? There are two main reasons. The first is that it takes some excellent knowledge of rendering software to do really good renderings, with soft light and a good atmosphere. If you have that competence, you can make that kind of renderings, which you especially see in big firms’ projects. Otherwise the rendering simply doesn’t look right. But with a physical

model, it’s somehow easier. You just click on your iPhone, the light is there and you don’t need to set up a program. The second reason is about the attitude and time. There is a base in our office, a speed at which projects move. In virtual 3D models you can get really quick results, but sometimes it is also good to take a step down and take your time to think things over. And here is where physical models turn out to be great. You spend half a day making a window frame in oak, cutting it down to size, and then pasting paper with a texture printed on it, exactly the same as a 3D model, and folding it on the round corner of the window . . . Everything takes a lot of time, but this gives you the opportunity to sit back, rethink your design and get a grip on it. Also, there is a big

difference in having these huge models for real rather than staring at the computer screen. It is also a way of communicating with other people. For instance, we have quite a lot of people coming into the office, and I always know that if I’m in front of my iMac, drawing something, everybody will sort of ‘leave me alone’. But if I’m working on a model, suddenly people will come up to me and ask questions about a project. I feel that I’m more open to say: ‘Where should this column be placed and why’, or: ‘That part is not working because . . .’ In physical models, what fascinates me is the softness of edges, for example the edge of a window is never completely straight, it’s always a little bit curved. That’s way more lifelike. I’m searching for a way to get this into my 3D models, to round off all the corners, and also add some roughness to the materials, so that unexpected things happen. In this way it will become more real, something that people can relate to, otherwise it’s going to maintain a kind of distance, remain a virtual picture. Do you think that making models of a project is useful for the whole design process, from the concept to the final result? Or just at the beginning? Or at the end? Why? From the very beginning, it is useful to build rough models, which are completely adaptable and that you can break off, glue back again, paste together . . . Personally, I prefer to use models as a starting point, to get a grip on the existing context. For the final phase of the project a very nice model is not worth doing, in my opinion. We


never make nice models at the end of the last version of a project, they come into being during the process. We do make models that look good on the outside, but always along the way. Our models never show the final product, they show the process. For instance, we are now working on a renovation of an old building, where we represented the project using a 1:30 scale model that can be completely taken apart. You can take out all of the walls and it fits together like a puzzle. It makes architecture something that you can play with. It is a really nice aspect, which eventually produces some nice images as well. At this scale, you can easily put your iPhone in there and it doesn’t lie. But also in relation to the clients; all the clients gather around the model and everybody starts walking, looking at it and they know that what you are showing is not reality, but it is real as it can be. In a 3D model it is always possible to manipulate the effects and make it look great: adjust the depth of field, crank up the sun. Nowadays everything has to be fast. I support an idea of ‘slow architecture’. Sit back, think . . . take your time. This gives you insight into the spatial qualities and material qualities of the design, and that insight is priceless. It allows you to work with it and make right decisions much more quickly. For the construction phase it is often better to use 3D models. You have a better view of how things work. When you have to present your work to clients, or in general people outside the Architecture environment (city hall, clients, companies...), do you use

preferably models? In your opinion how do they react to a physical model, that they can interact with? And instead how do they perceive renderings? In a lot of meetings we have with the city council, we always bring models and the council members always really like that. They stand up and look inside. And I always make a show out of it. I always take the model in a case, so they cannot really see what is inside, it could be a cake or a model. I start talking about the project, explaining the concept and then I reveal the model, and they really love it. Also because they barely see models anymore, they’re not that used to them. Once I left a model there, and the woman working as project manager accidentally put her bag

on the model and broke a bit off. She was really sorry, even though it could easily be fixed. But having somebody on the city council who felt guilty and wanted to make up for it came in really handy afterwards! ...“Get your hands on real materials, feel the mass of the material. Make sure to use real materials when working at a smaller scale.”

Figures [1] Models in Schever’s Office [2] Picture of a physical model

About the author Jan Schevers is a tutor in the department of Architecture at Eindhoven University of Technology and teaches the course ‘Production and Parts’. He also has his own company, the Open Architecture Office (OAO), where he develops architectural projects.



Jac de Kok the photographs. So you have to Jac de Kok Speaks... from look carefully at the proportions, know

Graphic Design in Presentation Media

Jac de Kok has his own graphic design practice in Tilburg and also works as a graphic designer at the Faculty of Architecture of Eindhoven University of Technology. In this article he explains the role graphic design plays in presentations via various media. He addresses the aspects of the medium of exhibition and discusses the way information is best presented. Interview by Michael Maminski, Frank van Kessel, Murat Imamoglu The first step in organizing an exhibition is to look for exhibitors that fit in the predetermined frameworks of the programme. This process is followed by a discussion in which an inventory is made. What does this entail? The transport of the pieces, time and planning are important aspects, but the outline of the costs often plays the biggest role. The choices made in the design of an exhibition are of essential importance. Sometimes, for example, we are dealing with small objects like framed photographs – this has an impact on the way they are displayed. If something coarse is set up against them, it draws attention away

what you want to show and decide how dominant or discreet something should be. The design of an exhibition space therefore always begins with the design of a floor plan. In this you can define the proportions accurately. Sometimes the space in which the exhibition is held has its limitations, such as limited wall space, or a poor lighting situation. You have to take routing, the flow of people and regulations (emergency exits, fire safety and theft) into account in your design. Then you look at what kind of material is going to be exhibited. My vision of graphic design is that the material on display always takes precedence. The role and great challenge of the designer is to bring this to an attractive and well-organized unity, and constantly decide how you can achieve this. This is certainly difficult today, because you are overwhelmed by information in trendy solutions. In the medium of exhibition it is vital that you not use too much text. Keep your texts as short as possible. Sometimes information can even be left out if it is not essential, so that people can better concentrate on the things that should be seen. In an exhibition an introduction panel is often used, so that people know what it is about, like a prologue or an epilogue (foreword and afterword) in a book. These texts do attract attention and mark the beginning and end of the exhibition. Extra information can then be given in the form of brief descriptions accompanying the various subjects or in a catalogue.

Interest has to be elicited gradually. Just as in other media, what matters is the essence of information. Always try to inform people in a way that turns separate elements into a cohesive whole. Do not show things as if they were individual pieces that happen to be displayed side by side – strive for cohesion. In an exhibition I can well imagine that everyone has an individual presentation. But then you do have to arrange the space so that they are interrelated, in some way. So imposing a structure is definitely part of this craft. Just like architects, we compose too, and we also create functional spaces. Architects often outsource a presentation to a graphic designer, but these days architects are increasingly taking this task on themselves. So an architect has to start thinking very early on about what he is going to present and how. A crucial subject for the architect is the target audience. Be sure to take that into account. Focus on the user, the professional community or the financial backer, all with their specific questions, knowledge and interest. Ultimately the key is to take optimum advantage of the quality of the medium you are using. Choose the medium in advance and adapt your material to it. Or conversely, choose the quality of the material and then the medium that suits it.

About the author Jac de Kok (Tilburg, 1952) is a Dutch designer who works at the Eindhoven University of Technology. His style is influenced by the Swiss constructivist school.


Challenge Comments COFFEE SHOP by Teodora Adriana Cirjan Hélène Aarts: The big image is in the background, so it’s not bad to bleed the image off the paper. The amount of information is perfect, but the drawings are too small. And it would be better if the tables in the interior had been added to the renderings, because they are drawn in the plans. There should also be a sharper border between the left part and the right part of the poster. Jac de Kok: The content is well-accentuated. The images are clearly followed by the corresponding information. Also, the information is clearly organized. But the text on the plans is not readable. Important text should be legible; otherwise you’re better off leaving it out, because it’s annoying .


Henk van der Veen

The Archiprix

The Archiprix is an establishment that curates and judges the best graduation projects of the architecture Universities of countries in which it is established. To win the Archiprix, or to be nominated for it is a great feather in the cap of the young and promising architecture graduate. We speak with Henk van der Veen, director of the Archiprix, about the role of presentation in conveying the essence of a graduation project, and the process of judging the works in order to establish a definite winner. Interview by Frank van Kessel What are the most important aspects a project should have to be nominated for the Archiprix? Is it the concept, the way in which it is presented or is it the degree of reality it shows – or utopia for that matter? Generally speaking, graduation projects are submitted by the schools and universities themselves; that means that the teachers involved in the project deemed it to be of such high quality that it could be submitted to Archiprix. The special aspect of a project is really hard to define. The independent Archiprix jury consists of representatives of different fields in architecture. The most important thing we ask them to do is to

judge the project according to their own expertise, as well as their own agenda. Besides that, the jury is also asked to judge the extent to which the concept or initial idea is evident in the final design, but also to what extent the assignment given by the school has been executed. There are always students with a utopian design that borders on philosophy. These projects have just as much chance as more conventional design proposals. Such projects certainly deserve a place in the Archiprix, because projects like these push the boundaries of architecture in new directions. Some projects might focus more on the urban scale, while others are more focused on construction and detail. How do you deal with the wide range of different projects? Are there different categories for different projects or are the same criteria used for all projects? We had a discussion with the jury about this question to decide if we should categorize the projects or just put them all together. In the end we decided to go with the latter, to put all the submissions together and judge them as equals. We did this because the members of the jury represent a wide range of disciplines within architecture, so all the bases are covered. But also, by attempting to put projects in categories and judge them separately, you cannot eliminate the fact that you are comparing apples and oranges. Two projects in the same category can still be totally different, thus making them impossible to judge according to categorization. By judging all of the submissions together, without separating them


according to discipline and scale, we noticed that the difference between disciplines is not really that great, and that the borders between them are not strict, but act more as transitions: to a certain extent the disciplines overlap. Even though the projects come from every corner of architecture, the quality of space in the design is always one of the most important aspects, one that every design should show. This can be in the form of an urban strategy or theory with spatial components or aspects, or a very concrete proposal for a building. Even though ‘quality of space’ is a very difficult term to define, the jury can usually reach a consensus. To what extent is the layout and the number of posters of influence on the verdict or nomination? The number of posters that is to be submitted is decided by the jury. For the national Archiprix the contestants have a surface of 3 m long and 1.5 m high on which to present their project. For the international Archiprix we decided on the format of six A2 posters. When making a poster you should first be very clear about which aspects of your project you want to show. The essence of the project should be easy to understand, without the spectator having to read a lot of text. Keep in mind that there are more submissions than just yours, so a long story on a poster will not be read. Be very aware of what you are presenting, but also of what the big picture looks like. You want to make your work stand out from the rest, while convincing the public that your project has a lot of quality.


How important is the use of scale models? Scale models, like all other forms of presentation, should be deployed with keen awareness. If a student thinks a model is needed to convey the story he’d like to tell, he should make and use it for this purpose. A scale model is not required, we don’t want to give the students extra work. The Archiprix, unlike other competitions, is not about a brief that has to be converted into a design, but about work that has already been done. We don’t want to give the student any extra work, except for formatting their presentation material to make the whole easier to compare and judge. Unlike the posters, the models don’t have a size limit. To ask a student to scale their presentation material to a surface of 3 x 1.5 m is possible, but we can’t ask

a student to scale down a scale model. Therefore every model, regardless of its dimensions, will be submitted to the jury. For the international Archiprix the transport of scale models is impossible in some cases, so the student should be able to present the project without the model. The projects come from 1547 architecture universities. Not all of these are Universities of Technology like the TU/e. How is this noticeable in the work of the students and how does this influence the final result of the projects? The supply of entries is incredibly divers indeed, but there are more factors that take part in the final result of a project than the university from which the student came. One of these factors is the country that the


student comes from and where the project takes place. Every country and even every city has its own problems, and a student can choose to deal with one of them in his graduation. This would make the project very influenced by local culture. But a student can also choose to graduate on a problem outside his country. This would mean that he applies aspects of his own culture and way of thinking to another part of the world. These kinds of projects might also receive different reactions in their national Archiprix and the international Archiprix. An innovative way to deal with the rise of water levels in towns located on the coast might be groundbreaking in a student’s home country, but not really special to the Dutch, who have a very long history of water management. Even if a student shows a project that is

not very special in the way it deals with local or global problems, it can still stand out from other projects because of the set of skills a student possesses and uses in the project. Of course this skill has to be used in a way that is beneficiary to the presentation of the project. How has the way of presenting changed since the beginning of the Archiprix? What has changed about the presentations and the content of the projects? Back in 1979, when Archiprix had just been established by STAVOS under the name ‘student plans’, a lot of student plans concerned social housing, a pressing issue at that time. The goal of this initiative was to shed light on these projects in order to give the developments in the social housing sector a push with new ideas,

theories and concepts. At the same time, the transition of students from university to the professional world is catalysed by bringing employers in contact with students. After a while the attention shifted away from social housing to include other fields in architecture as well. Around this time the name ‘student plans’ was changed to Archiprix. In 2001 Archiprix proposed to hold an international competition, which in turn spawned some other national Archiprix in countries such as Chili, Italy and Turkey. Digital technology has made a lot of progress since 1979, but the criteria for a project have remained the same. The same is true of the hardware used to make complex shapes. These tools have given the designer more freedom, more complex shapes are possible and we are able to make things we could not have in 1979. However, the presentation of the project shows the content, and if the content is not good enough, the jury will immediately see through a good presentation. So the main focus should always be on the design, and the presentation should help explain what the design is about.

Figures [1] The jury assessment in the Facultad de Arquitectura Universidad de la Republica - Uruguay, Montevideo (July 2008). From left to right: Sou Fujimoto, Juan Herreros (Spain), Salvador Schelotto (Uruguay), Anne Lacaton (France), Mario Schjetnan (Mexico). [2] Part of the exhibition of Archiprix International Montevideo (2009).


About the author Henk van der Veen is the director of Archiprix International.


Chris de Groot

The Showcase Portfolio The Presentation of One’s Self to a Potential Employer

The portfolio is a familiar phenomenon, and many people will deal with one. These days even primary schools are starting to use portfolios. You can find a lot of information about portfolios and their dos and don’ts on the Internet. This article focuses on the portfolio of the architect/ designer aimed at bringing the architect to the attention of an employer: the showcase portfolio. Presentation of Your Portfolio When I look at a portfolio, I am naturally interested in its content, but also in the portfolio’s design. The form of a portfolio can be as revealing as its content. I can evaluate people from the design; it tells me whether its designer is conservative or adventurous, cool or discreet, precise or sloppy. You can tell whether people have spent enough time maintaining their portfolio. A portfolio says something about a person’s ability to communicate about his/her own ideas and designs. ‘Selling’ Yourself An important aspect of an architect’s practice is ‘selling’ his/her work. However good your design is, it is very disappointing

if you are unable to effectively explain why your design is so brilliant or so special. It will all be for nothing. In the real world, unfortunately, a plan does not sell itself. It is very disappointing when you have completed your studies and have the potential to become a good architect, but this is not reflected by your portfolio, so you do not get the chance to present yourself. Academic programmes, in my opinion, devote too little attention to this important aspect of the architect’s profession. I see a large number of portfolios from architects, technicians and students every year. Their quality varies enormously. Striking the Right Chord In a design profession it is particularly important for a portfolio to strike the right chord right away. For this, a number of considerations are essential. I will focus on the aspects that are crucial to the interview with a future employer / for an internship. Ready to Use Portfolio comes from the Latin portare (to carry) and folium (a sheet of paper). Today, however, there is not much carrying involved. Most portfolios are sent via e-mail to someone you do not know, but who works at a firm where you want to work or do an internship. It is important to realize that the person who receives your portfolio is probably very busy and receives many portfolios every week, accompanied by CVs and cover letters. It will therefore not help this person to have to do a lot of reading, and certainly not to have to make a lot of effort to be able to view the portfolio. So always make sure

your portfolio is ready to use immediately. If it takes a lot of effort to get a printout (to review it with someone else) or if it is likely that it will not display properly on a screen, the portfolio will not even be looked at, and you will have lost the battle in advance. Edit Your Portfolio Show only your best work, what you are genuinely proud of. It is better to send a 10-page portfolio with a few beautiful large-size pictures that are clear than a 100-page portfolio with a lot of text and filled with tiny pictures that are hard to decipher. This sounds logical, yet many portfolios are too thick and unclear. If you want to communicate that you have a lot of experience or participated in a lot of activities during your studies, you can do this with an easy-to-read list. The person viewing the portfolio wants to be grabbed by the designing qualities of the person who put it together. If the portfolio can only be understood by spending a couple of hours reading, your work will not receive the right attention. A thick, seemingly endless portfolio discourages people from looking at it properly. So it is crucial to edit yourself. Well Made This is why it is essential that the portfolio be well made. It must be immediately clear from the portfolio that it comes from a good designer with an eye for layout and quality. This is even more important if you cannot be present when your portfolio is reviewed. The pictures you present therefore have to be the best you have, and ‘speak for themselves’ without explanation. The brief texts included in the portfolio have



to be perfect, with no grammatical or spelling errors. This again seems obvious, but you would be surprised how many mistakes there are in the average portfolio. Keep and Select A general tip is to keep a lot of your work, so that you have a lot of material to choose from. This allows you to make different portfolios. It is still essential to then be ruthlessly selective, so that the material left over fits in a thin portfolio containing only the work you are most proud of for the purpose of the portfolio. So it does not matter that you do not yet have a great deal to show. What is good

is to be able to show that the material has quality. If you can demonstrate this, to an architecture firm you are a promise for the future. The fact that you still have a lot to learn and a lot of experience to acquire is less important – a firm will take that into account, and it is part of the normal growth process of an architect/ designer. A firm will be prepared to invest in people whom it thinks will represent added value to the firm in the future. It is important that you spend enough time on your portfolio. Don’t think that a good portfolio can be put together ‘off the cuff ’. Moreover, a portfolio has to be current. You have to keep spending time on it. If

you do this consistently, you can also use the portfolio as a development portfolio. Signature It is important that you make your application as personal as possible. It is still essential that an architect has a good ‘signature’: his/her sketching skills. If you are good at sketching and drawing, by all means demonstrate that. If you are not, become good at it. Of course it is important for you to be good with modern digital techniques, like producing good visualizations on a computer. If you are truly a good architect, others will eventually do this for you at the architecture firm, based


on your fine handmade sketches. Moreover, this work will immediately show what your signature is – it says something about yourself that is difficult to put into words. Consider submitting an application with a handwritten letter, accompanied by a beautiful and concise portfolio. Holding a well-made document on beautiful paper is, after all, quite different from a vague printout from a website on standard A4 printer paper. Tease It is not always necessary to send the portfolio along immediately. The most important thing is to grab the attention of the recipient, so that you are invited for an interview. Once you are in the interview, you can then present your portfolio, along with other material you can bring with you then. Use your creativity to think about how best to do this. One option is to send a ‘teaser’ with your letter: a few pictures on small cards that are so

powerful that the evaluator will just have to invite you in to satisfy his/her curiosity. Honesty Be honest in putting together your portfolio. This is particularly essential given the trend towards multidisciplinary and group work. This is true during your studies, but also at the start of your career, when you often work as an assistant designer on designs by an experienced architect. Do not strut with borrowed plumage. If the work is not 100 percent yours, be clear about this and show what your contribution was and what its significance was. Otherwise a good evaluator will easily figure it out, and even if he/she doesn’t, you will be exposed in your first year. It is also important for you to be honest with yourself and to work on putting together your portfolio with self-awareness. This is easier when you have a clear idea of what is a good fit for you. You can include a CV and cover letter in

the portfolio. I prefer separate documents, because the purpose of a CV and cover letter, and perhaps a list of references, is different. Each type of document has a different purpose and therefore a different character and a different structure. The portfolio should concentrate on the presentation of your skills and competences, show who you are as a designer. The ‘Match’ In the portfolio you show your outlook on architecture. The recipient must be able to tell immediately whether your architecture outlook is a match for the firm to which you are applying. Naturally you have to be convinced yourself that you are a match for the firm. It may be necessary to adapt the portfolio for that purpose and make it even more personal for the firm to which you are submitting your application. It can be useful to show which architecture or architect you admire. You are still in school or have just finished. That



means that you are not yet able to do it all, but you do have to be able to show in which direction you want to develop. References to models should be brief and succinct, because what matters most are your qualities, not someone else’s. Website In a time when electronic means of communication are becoming ever more important, a personal website is almost an automatic part in the everyday practice of the architecture student. If you opt to submit an application with a link to a website, consider that this can have an impersonal character. It has an air of ‘just take a look at this and figure it out yourself ’. So if you use it, the link must lead directly to your portfolio, so that the recipient does not have to search for the right material. And the link has to work! Consider that a website is often difficult to print out, and that the results do not look good. This is irritating for the recipient. It is all work he/she does not need and it distracts from the objective: seeking contact with talented designers. You can also work with a link to a PDF document that can be easily printed out. Someone whose interest is piqued will then click around the rest of your website. In addition, digital means lack the personal allure of a well-made portfolio on fine paper.

relevant. Delete that material at the same time. If your qualities lie more in the domain of architecture research and you want to pursue this, some of the tips presented here do not apply, or apply to a lesser degree. It can be very useful to discuss your portfolio with fellow students whom you respect. You don’t have to see each other as competitors, and you will learn a lot from each other. It is often difficult to hold a mirror to your own face. Someone else can do this. If you are open to this and see it as a chance to develop, you will greatly benefit from it.

Mirror Keep your portfolio current. A portfolio with nothing but old material is unprofessional and will be quickly put aside. When you add new material, there will be older material that has become less

Do not be discouraged if things do not work out right away and you receive criticism. Making a portfolio is also something you have to learn and get experience in. If it is not perfect, don’t panic: find a suitable moment to make it better!


Finally Make sure you have the right addresses for your application. This is especially important if you are sending material to more than one firm at a time. Too often, references to another firm or contact person are accidently left in the address and/or the text of a letter. It is even better if nothing shows that you are contacting more than one firm. Do not send out any letters without a personal salutation, and find out exactly to whom you should be sending your material. Figures [1] Page from an example of a good portfolio, with the teaser that was originally submitted. [2] Example of a page from a portfolio that needs improvement: vague, too much information at once, a lot of text and almost unprintable. [3] Another example of a page from a less effective portfolio. About the author Chris de Groot is the director of Van Aken Architecten in Eindhoven. He is responsible for personnel recruitment in VAA. He receives all portfolios and conducts interviews for the firm.

workshop gebouw



The lessons from Rudolf Olgiati were tested and applied to design this holiday house in Oerle in the north-west corner of a large triangular plot. An inside-out approach was used in the design process, using a cardboard model to design the most important space: the kitchen. The kitchen space is created by two folded walls, these walls also define the rest of all the spaces in the holiday house. The walls function as the spine of the building. The kitchen is illuminated from above through a large tube, which interconnects the kitchen to the upper floor. The influence of Olgiati can be found in the following aspects: a shell and a sculptural interior, bent walls that define the N spaces explicitly on both sides, an entrance with multiple views through the building and an inside-out approach. workshop gebouw 3d.pln; A.01.2 1. Story; 100%; 12-2-2013 18:14

ln; A.01.1 Ground Floor; 100%; 12-2-2013 18:14

Challenge Comments





Hélène Aarts: The font of the title is suitable for the concept of the design. But the colour of the text is too light. It’s hard to read because of the lack of contrast. The poster is sculptural; the framework is too restricted in comparison to the design. Also, the whole image is flat and not well ordered. The white spaces around the pictures, for example, are not all the same and the margins are different. One of the images, for instance the top-left image, could be omitted. The empty space could be used for the text to make it clearer. Jac de Kok: The poster is clear in terms of information. But the information is not accentuated. It seems like all of the information is equally important. The vertical strip remains in the foreground, but the images are too big. This creates competition between the renderings and the important image in the middle. It also seems like the information is placed randomly. The renderings should all be placed together and the drawings should be grouped as well.

Vision and Development


This administrative year, AnArchi, as a relatively young and rapidly expanding student association, is putting its expertise to work for students of Architecture. We strive to complement the academic programme with intra- and extracurricular activities. We see offering students an opportunity for additional development in their field as a primary task. This year, for example, we have organized lectures, debates, workshops, symposia and excursions, and of course a number of other projects are still being planned. (You can find the agenda of upcoming activities in the sidebar).


The Future At AnArchi we are thinking about the future. Are you someone who believes that things can be improved and do you want to contribute to architectural education? Do you want to be really active? Then we are looking for YOU! Come and see what the possibilities are within AnArchi. Take a look at a committee, and find out what we can offer you.

\\ Project Hopping ‘13

Kind Regards, 4th Board of AnArchi.

\\ International Café debating evening June 10th \\ Pubquiz

July \\ Drawing excursion July 7th – 13th


\\ AnArchi Lustrum Party

October \\ AnArchi Change of Board




Tonnaer is gespecialiseerd in het opstellen van structuurvisies, bestemmingsplannen, ruimtelijke onderbouwingen en beheersverordeningen.


De stedebouwkundigen van Tonnaer werken nauw samen met andere specialisten om realistische en betaalbare ontwerpen te kunnen opleveren.


VONDERWEG 14, 5616 RM EINDHOVEN TELEFOON 040 257 13 36 TELEFAX 040 257 02 90


Printed and bound in the Netherlands ISSN 2213-5588

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