Page 1

‘Making things up.’ Fantasizing about ‘The Arachne’s Information Weave’.

Group 13. Antonopoulos, Evangelos Aris. 13085245. ‘Collaging Realities.’ Khan, Shahmeer. 13092734. ‘Drawing Realities.’ Preece, Louisa. 13092824. ‘Projecting Realities.’ Stancicu, Iulia. 13084436. ‘Modelling Realities.’ Stefanaki, Nikoleta. 13091230. ‘Montaging Realities.’

P30027. Representation. 3 April 2014.

‘Making things up.’ Fantasizing about ‘The Arachne’s Information Weave’. To what extend does the designer manipulate the project through the means of representation in order to persuade viewer’s imagination?

‘Imagination, which in truth Is but another name for absolute power And clearest insight, amplitude of mind, And reason, in her most exalted mood.’ (Wordsworth, 1888)

Peg Rawes argues that ‘the imagination and reflection are intrinsic to architectural design when re-evaluated as part of the critical tools that we use to draw, think, discuss and experience architecture as designers and users’ (Rawes, 2007, p.268). While Eric Spry states that when imagination is added to architecture, an ordinary design idea becomes Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, frozen and habitable (2013), Marco Frascari highlights the importance of the representation techniques involved when designing a space, being vital to ‘recognize the processes of conversion and transformation taking place within the highly undisciplined discipline of architectural imagination, in order to provide architecture with a measure of resilience and resistance’ (Frascari, 2007, p.1). Drawings, models, collages and montages, films and animations can all be perceived as mechanisms for thinking, mediating between the confusion of nature and human designs. While Christopher Crouch and Jane Pearce argue that a successful design is dependent upon the meaningful exchange of ideas between individuals and the cultural and social circumstances they find themselves in’ (2012, p.7), they also wonder at the same time whether a designer is ‘someone who possess a specific skill that is applied to a specialist area, or someone who has a set of transferable skills that can be applicable across a range of specialist areas’ (Crouch and Pearce, 2012, p.1), revealing the project using a series of different techniques, that would engage, stimulate and persuade viewer’s imagination as previously planned by the designer. However, Joe Moran states that ‘interdisciplinarity is impossible because disciplines are incommensurable; they are all engaged in such different activities that any attempt to bring them together will either involve one of them parasitically drawing on the status or terminology of another or being appropriated by it completely’ (2002, p.111). While Julia Kristeva also argues for too much interdisciplinary work being unsuccessful because people jealously guard their own disciplines, or they specialize in interdisciplinary itself, without having a particular expertise, she still advocates for

an interdisciplinarity which can avoid these extremes (Kristeva, 1997). Marco Frascari argues for the designer treating ‘as real that which exists only in an imagined future’ (Frascari, 2007, p.4), drawings and models having a duality within architecture, being both parts of the process and at the same time having an independent existence as objects. They have the ability to reveal the concept behind the project while also having a life of their own, influencing viewer’s perception on the project. Drawings and models are not completely rooted in the real world, but levitate above it, influencing viewer’s imagination into generating a state of fantasy around them, and therefore the project itself becoming a personalized fairy-tale. ‘The Arachne’s Information Weave’ is set up in both reality and fantasy, exploring the possibility of the imagination in offering up a critique of our social condition. Based on the legend of Arachne, from the Greek mythology, it postulates on the privatization of public spaces in urban areas, represented through various media, while offering up an Information Weave. The chapters reveal the degree of manipulation that the designer is using through the representation techniques, such as drawings, collages, montages, models, film, and animation, in order to stimulate viewer’s imagination and therefore to catch certain atmospheric glimpses that would generate the fantasy world. In ‘Projecting Realities’ chapter, Louisa Preece points out that using video as a representation technique aids the immersive experience of the viewer whilst also maintaining a critical approach to the spaces created; therefore, when using the cinematic narrative, a surreal, but believable reality is drawn, intriguing viewer’s imagination. Aris Antonopoulos also argues for the design being perceived as an amalgam of sensors influencing observer’s interpretation of the project while subtracting, adding, pasting, or cutting pieces in order to reflect designer’s intentions, in ‘Collaging Realities’ chapter. In ‘Montaging Realities,’ Nikoleta Stefanaki highlights how the montage enables the designer to rework the reality, generating a critical narrative of the images, but also

engaging with viewer’s interpretation both physically and digitally while playing with their perception of the project. Finally, while Shameer Khan’s chapter, ‘Drawing Realities,’ examines the status of drawing in creating the spaces imagined by the designer, the atmospheric qualities revealed through the hand drawings generating a certain depth for the viewer to begin to involve with, Iulia Stancicu’s chapter, ‘Modelling Realities,’ reveals how viewers’ imagination is being stimulated through both the physical models and the photographs representing them, generating the perceptual experience of ‘the Arachne’s Information Weave’. The theatrical unveiling of ‘the Arachne’s Information Weave’ through the representation techniques used – drawings, collages, montages, physical models, film, and animation – allowed the designer to seduce the viewer on the basis of emotions rather than reasoned thoughts, while creating certain illusions in their minds, engaging with their imagination in order to generate the desired fantasy around the project, but also projecting a potentially achievable reality as well.

1. Collaging Realities.





2, 3. Projecting Realities. 4. Modelling Realities. 5. Montaging Realities.



6, 7. Modelling Realities. 8. Drawing Realities. 9. Collaging Realities.



Bibliography Bachelard, G. (1994). The Poetics of Space. Boston: Beacon Press. Barasch, M. (2000). Theories of Art: from Plato to Winckelmann. London: Routledge. Crouch, C. and Pearce, J. (2012). Doing Research in Design. London, New York: Berg. El-Bizri, N. (2007). Imagination and architectural representations. In: Frascari, M., Hale, J. and Starkey, B. (2007). Form models to drawings. Oxon, Routledge, pp.34-41. Frascari, M., Hale, J. and Starkey, B. (2007). Form models to drawings. Oxon: Routledge. Kristeva, J. (1997). Institutional Interdisciplinarity in Theory and Practice: an interview. Coles, A. and Defert, A.The Anxiety of Interdisciplinarity, De-, Dis-, Ex-. London: Black Dog Publishing, pp. 3-21. Moran, J. (2002). Interdisciplinarity. London, New York: Routledge. Porter, T. (1997). The Architect’s Eye, Visualisation and Depiction of Space in Architecture. London: E&FN Spon. Rawes, P. (2007) ‘Acts of imagination and reflection’. In Frascari, M., Hale, J. & Starkey, B. From Models to Drawing. Oxon, New York: Routledge, pp.261-268 Wordsworth, W.(1888) The Complete Poetical Works. London: Macmillian and Co.

Collaging Realities.

Evangelos Aris Antonopoulos 13085245

Collaging Realities.

Is it just an avant gard story narration or a valuable inspiration tool?

‘Collage serve as a tool for analysis, encouraging the evaluation of a built artifact from the perspective of the inhabitant, as well as a tool within a design methodology that pursues a multi-sensory experience in a work of architecture...’ (Shields J., 2004, Collage and Architecture)

The world is a Collage

(Pallasma J., 2014 cited in Shields J., 2014 page ix)

Experience of architecture is multi-sensory; it involves qualities of matter, space and scale and our personal experiences and memory. A city is never seen as a totality, but as an aggregate of experiences, animated by use‌light, sounds and smells. A single work of architecture is rarely experienced in its totality but as a series of partial views and synthesized experiences. (Holl S., Pallasma J., and Perez-Gomez A., 2006) We interpret a built artifact through a collage of senses and personal experiences. A Built artifact narrates its story through layers of atmosphere, use, erosion and time. The way we interpret these layers is the way we see the building. These layers are the collage of the building narrating its history as it is perceived rather than observed. Architecture uses collage as a tool for analysis, encouraging the evaluation of a built artifact from the perspective of the inhabitant as well as a tool‌that pursues a multi sensory experience in a work of architecture (Shields J., 2014, p.12) The use of collage as a method of visual representation started a century ago. Pablo Picasso was the first to use it. Collage is defined as a piece of art, made by sticking different pieces of material, sometimes from a different medium sometimes from the same medium. (Harris H., 2014) Collage combines pictorial motifs and fragments from disconnected origins into a new synthetic entity which casts new roles and meanings to the parts. (Shields J., 2014 p.1) Collage as used at the past century from Pablo Picasso, George Braque and Juan Gris was a means of investigation the potentialities of three dimensional space in a two dimensional medium, facilitating a new conception of space. (Shields J., 2014 p.2) In the light of the ongoing changes of visual representations, I was interested to investigate why collage as a method of depicting ideas and creating surfaces is, despite all the technological advances, always a relevant architectural technique and what potential ideas and outcomes can be derived from it. In this chapter, I will be examining the uses of collage in architectural practice, looking at the mixed media drawings of Archigram, Mies van der Rohe, Rem Koolhas, my group’s observations from our recent project and comparing these to the theories concerning collage as a means of performance art and Evangelos Aris Antonopoulos - 13085245

architectural practice. The properties attributed to collage as seen through relevant books and articles, the recent exhibition at MoMA (July2013) exploring the avant garde tradition of collage in architecture “Cut’n’Paste: From Architectural Assemblage to Collage City” and the debate that Superstudio opened up, will be viewed in light of my group’s work. The chapter will also investigate the “new development” in collage, the digitalization of it and again will be referring to examples from the group’s practice and other examples of contemporary practice.

“The principle of collage is the central principle of all art in the 20th century in all media” (Barthelme D., 1997,cited in Cunningham M., 2004 p.153 )

Collage is described as a method that uses subtracting, adding on, pasting items of the same or different materials on a given surface. A collage does not have to be a specific size or shape and the end result can be quite layered. When one layers materials, it is commonly referred to as montage, although this term is more appropriately used in relation to films. A montage is a careful selection of images that have a logical or otherwise narrative sequence. A collage can be made by subtracting/tearing various elements away from the original image, in a way resembling archaeological excavations and changes in a building’s surface or site, both fundamental when it comes to architectural research. This method is called de-collage. Architects have always used a set of drawings to describe their work and to gain an understanding of the textures, surfaces, colours and settings of their proposed design. From ancient Egyptian times even, architects used layered drawings, sections, elevations and so on. This has changed over the course of years and has taken a more digital form, with computer aided designs that can depict a whole city or a three dimensional version of a building. Now, although the prudent and efficient use of these programs can be very cost-effective when it comes to construction and building efficiently, as the data inputted by the architects can help solve material and construction isEvangelos Aris Antonopoulos - 13085245

Fig.1. Nils Ole Lund Tower of Babel

sues (Bernstein.P, 2004), the design outcome is not necessarily aided by them. The visual impact of an even flat surface with various textures (Fig.1) is not the same as a digital graph of a building, even if it includes valuable information.

Architects such as the Superstudio, were pioneers in their use of collage as were Archigram, who changed the way architectural drawings were depicted. Superstudio, are most known for their “Continuous Monument” (Fig.2) piece, which was used repeatedly to emphasize the fact that architecture is not a slave to location, but actually supercedes it. (Superstudio, A continuous Monument, 1969) Superstudio’s most famous exhibition is perhaps their proposal for the Continuous Monument. As mentioned before this project utilized the now famous black on white grid and extends throughout the existing Evangelos Aris Antonopoulos - 13085245

Fig. 2: Superstudio,the continuous monument

landscape, redefining what it means to occupy space (collageandarchitecture com., 2012, [on line])

Fig. 3: superstudio, the continuous monument

Their use of collage remains iconic as they juxtaposed contrasting elements, often including one figure as a point of reference (Fig.3) and opened up possibilities that discussed theoretical concepts in architecture. Their work illustrates that architecture is not just about buildings, but more about cultural criticism (Monograph, Superstudio collageandarchitecture com., 2012, [on line]) a point that has taken off today and the field of cultural and contextual criticism in architecture has expanded. In our own project, collage is helping the design being per-

ceived as an amalgam of sensories influencing observer’s interpretation of the project, while subtracting, adding, pasting or cutting pieces to represent our intentions. Pallasmaa J, (2014) suggests that every artistic work, be it literary, musical or visEvangelos Aris Antonopoulos - 13085245 work collage

ual, is bound to be a juxtaposition of images, emotions and ambiences in order to construct an articulated and engaging spatio experience ‌ human consciousness keeps shifting from one percept and though to the next, from actuality to dream, association to deduction, and from recollection to imagination (Shields J., 2014 p ix).

Evangelos Aris Antonopoulos - 13085245

Fig.6: group work collage

Fig.5:grou work Digital collage

Our collage is used to depict surreal and eccentric elements and thus proposing a critique to our social environment. We aim to communicate that a giant spider has taken occupancy of the main library with the intention to digitalize all the existing books. We have described this as an Information Weave. This leads us to find an alternative way of storing information. We came up with the form of capsules that extend the structure each times one tries to pen them.

This was depicted through a series of mixed media collages, using wire as well as paper and then through digital manipulations of photographs using Photoshop. Although physical models are also used for us to gain an understanding of form and proportion, as well as the actual physical difficulties one may encounter when making this, collages were our first point of reference. Being an immediate technique and a tactile one, it connects with the theory that: “It Evangelos Aris Antonopoulos - 13085245

Fig.7: Pablo Picasso , Still Life with Chair Caning (1912)

is the mark of an educated man to look for precision in each class of things just as far as the nature of the subject admits…” (Rowe C., & Koetter F., 2004, p.8) “In sum, the collage is an awkward amalgam of three unresolved elements (1) purely worldly elements, especially such fragments of dailiness as newspapers; (2) purely artistic elements such as line, color, and shape-the typical constituents of form; and (3) mixed or impure elements, or residual images of an imitated nature, ranging from the famous imitation wood grain and chair caning to traces of such domestic objects as clay pipes and such studio props as guitars. [...] The elements are already “relative” by reason of their displacement from the life-world into the “art world,” and by reason of their fragmentary state. [...] They are an experiment in time and spacewhich shows that the old idea of Modern art as an experiment

concerned with articulating the fourth dimension has, for all its charming naïveté, a certain truth to it”. -(Kuspit D., 1998 cited in Cunningham M., 2004 p.153) Looking at the way collage is used in architectural practice, this integration of the elements makes it fundamentally important. Rem Koolhas presented his proposal for the extension of the MOMA in the form of a collage, where people were represented as being tiny in relation to the surrounding artwork. (Times Journal, 2013, [online article]: For Imagined Buildings, Collages in the Clouds). In a way he was referencing his predecessors Archigram, who set the tone for mixed media collage drawings in the 1970’s and altered the way architectural drawings were presented. In order to accommodate Evangelos Aris Antonopoulos - 13085245

Fig.9: David Hokney, Merced River,Yosemite Valley, 1982

Fig.8: Pablo Picasso, Glass and Bottle of Suze, 1912

their utopian vision, they felt the need to include various elements in their images, so as to portray the urban development more accurately. Architects such as Mies van De Rohe, produced a series of abstract renderings of space, in the first decades of the twentieth century. ( Kolaj Magazine, 2013, [online article]: Cut’n Paste).These collages vary from being atmospheric depictions of his design proposals to more abstract pieces that I believe refer to Superstudio’s notion of the ability of architecture to discuss contextual issues rather than just buildings. Using per-

Evangelos Aris Antonopoulos - 13085245

Fig.10: Kurt Schwitters (German, 1887–1948)Mz 379. Potsdamer

spective he referenced the work back to architecture, although his minimal and reductionist technique was more intellectual than realistic. Through the work that we have produced in the group project, we worked towards this concept. Through the collages, we worked, towards an atmospheric overview of the principle of the idea that the group is trying to get across. We also questioned the validity of the project. On paper, the idea of the spider sprawling from within the library walls is interesting, on the actual paper, with the wire flowing lines covering the surface; the reality becomes both abstract and poetic. The contrast of the metal with the fragile paper enhances the concept of the prodactive spider, in a way that the simple narration of it cannot, given the preconception that a spider is something small. Even though contemporary literature has done much to alleviate this idea, in my view, it is only when the metal touches the paper and spreads across the sheet that the implications of the spider becomes real. Fundamentally, the use of collage as a technique goes beyond the physical properties of the image created and the materials used. It addresses the core of architecture, which is a “collage’ of activities and ideas, layers of historical and cultural context described and wrapped in one single image. Apart from the visual qualities a collage conveys, the layering of materials, Evangelos Aris Antonopoulos - 13085245

Fig. 11: duardo Chillida, collage beige

speaks about the historical layers of a place, something that is becoming even more pertinent in architecture today. Even, when viewing existing buildings, such as those designed by Frank Gehry, one has the impression that one is viewing a collage of different units, even though they have been designed

by the architect. (Shields.J, 2014) The philosophical implications of architecture are best conveyed with collages, which can be seen in the work of Chillida(fig.5), who was influenced by Heideger’s theories on space, or even on Gordon Matta Clark’s juxtapositions (fig. 6). These architects have a clear influence from the Baauhauas, Dadaist and Cubist movements, which concerned putting together unrelated images and giving them a different meaning in the context of urban development. Architects such as Le Corbusier as well as more contemporary ones, seems to embrace Heideger’s belief that space is not understood as a single entity but within the context of other things. (Shields.J, 2014) These implications can be depicted accurately through digital collages such as the ones produced by FELD studio (fig.15), which again offer alternate realities and an excellent depiction of spatial awareness, as well as material properties. Working in Evangelos Aris Antonopoulos - 13085245

Fig.12: Gordon Matta-Clark Splitting (1974) Fig.13:Gordon Matta-Clark Conical Intersect (1975) Fig.14: Gordon Matta-Clark Office Baroque (1977)

a digital form, allows the designer to move from one medium to the other, giving more flexibility as an outcome. (Iwamoto L., 2009). Working in a digital way, allows for tessellations and patterns to occur more naturally and give an accurate geometric depiction of the outcome. In our group, the digital collage, gives a more atmospheric and precise depiction of the spider web, which the physical model cannot convey. However, the tactile quality is somewhat lost in this process, even if the accuracy of the design is more effective.

Evangelos Aris Antonopoulos - 13085245

Fig.15: FELD studio, Extracts of Local Distance (2010)

Conclusion In conclusion, the art of the collage is more complicated than simply adding or subtracting images and materials. The process of layering, as well as selecting appropriate images to convey meaning is more complex and sophisticated and requires an enquiring and intelligent mind. This is not to say that the spontaneity of adding materials and playing around with compositions is to be ignored as a valuable research tool. The main reason, collage is still an appropriate and useful tool in architectural practice and research is due to its multi-function Evangelos Aris Antonopoulos - 13085245

as both an effective visual reference and a contextual and intellectual framework. Given the complexities of defining space, of creating timeless architectural structures in ever-changing cityscapes, of challenging the norms of the built environment, collage offers a way-out and a seductive visual stimuli to provoke and communicate ideas. The developments of technology and the advances in computer software will offer numerous possibilities to architects globally, but the act of thinking and selecting is always left to the humans who need tactile references to develop ideas further. Architecture after all is definitely not just about building a solid structure, it is about re-defining space and planning a future space, the ingredients of which are best indicated through the juxtaposition of often disparate elements and simple scraps of paper.

Bibliography • • • •

• • • • • •

Beaushesne C., (2013) ‘Cut’ n’ Paste ‘Kolaj Magazine, (6), [Online]. Available at: (Accessed: March 28, 2014). Bernstein P., (2004) ‘Digital Representation and Process Change in the Building Industry ‘The MIT press on behalf of Perspecta, p.35. Cunningham M., (2004) The Modernizing of Modern Dance, New York: Routledge, p.153 Gamerman E., (2014) For Imagined Buildings, Collages in the clouds, Available at: articles/SB10001424127887324436104578579801528 246088 (Accessed: March 27, 2014). Harriss H. (2014), Lecture: Representation 2013-14 P30027 Oxford BrooksUniversity. Holl S., Pallama J., and Perez- Gomez A., (2006) Questions of Perception: Phenomenology of Architecture, San Francisco: William Stout Publishers. Iwamoto L., (2009) Digital Fabrications and Materials, New York: Princeton Architectural Press. Rowe C., & Koetter F., (2004) Collage City,: The MIT Press. Shields J., (2014) Collage and Architecture, New York: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group. Superstudio, (2012) Superstudio, Available at: 02/ Monograph-Superstudio.pdf (Accessed: March 27, 2014)

Evangelos Aris Antonopoulos - 13085245

Figures: • • •

• • • • • •

• • • • •

Evangelos Aris Antonopoulos - 13085245

Fig. 0 group collage images Fig.1 Lund N., (1970) Tower of Babel, Available at: pdf Collage as a method of research p.38, Oxford Brooks University, 2013 Fig.2 Superstudio (1969) The Continuous Monument, Available at: http://arch122superstudio.blogspot. gr/2012/06/continuous-monument-architectural-model_15.html Fig.3 Superstudio, (2012) Superstudio, Available at: Fig.4 / 5 / 6 group collage images Fig.7 Picasso P., (1912) Still Life with Chair Caning, Available at: Shields J., 2014 Collage and Architecture p.1 Fig.8 Picasso P., (1912) Glass and Bottle of Suze , Available at: Fig.9 Hockney D., (1982) Merced River, Yosemite Valley , Available at: photos_collages_02.php Fig.10 Schwitters K., (1922) Postdamer, Available at: php?criteria=O%3AAD%3AE%3A5293&page_ number=24&template_id=1&sort_order=1 Fig.11 Chillida D., (n.d) Collage Beige, Available at: criteria=O%3AAD%3 Fig.12 Gordon Matta-Clark (1974) Splitting, Available at: collection-online/ Fig.13 Gordon Matta-Clark (1975) Conical Intersect, Available at: http://www. Fig.14 Gordon Matta-Clark () Estate of Gordon Matta Clark, Available at: (Accessed: March 27, 2014). Fig.15 FELD studio (2010) Extracts of Local Distance: Barcelona Pavillion , Available at:

Drawing Realities

Shahmeer Khan 13092734

Drawing Realities: Hand drawing creates a certain depth for the viewer to begin to involve with, and the act of drawing itself connects with the imagination of the designer. To what extend do they ‘lie’ to us?

“Poets make poems, painter’s paintings, and musician’s music. Architects, however, do not make architecture; they make drawings and models of it – representations meant to direct the development of something conceived into something constructed.”

‘Drawing Realities,’ examines the status of drawing in creating the spaces imagined by the designer, the atmospheric qualities revealed through the hand drawings generating a certain depth for the viewer to begin to involve with. Drawing is a term which is used to describe a technique which is used by many design professions. It is a generic term and can have a meaning from mapping, diagramming, sketching, perspectives, technical drawings to painting. But what makes drawings so special, especially the drawings done by architects. “Poets make poems, painter’s paintings, and musician’s music. Architects, however, do not make architecture; they make drawings and models of it – representations meant to direct the development of something conceived into something constructed.” David Leatherbarrow, “Showing What Otherwise Hides Itself: On Architectural Representation” This academic writing aims to briefly highlight the different ways of using hand drawings in the architecture profession. But to narrow the research field, this academic writing will also examines the status of drawing in the 21st century, in regards to the integration of physical and digital media in creating the imagined environments. This academic writing will also seek to investigate analysis and break down on how the atmospheric qualities of the hand drawing create a certain depth for the viewer to begin to involve with, and the act of drawing itself connects with the imagination of the designer. Throughout the Renaissance period the term ‘disegno’ drawing was used as form of colouring and a way to present ideas in a form of preliminary sketches. Nowadays drawing has many ways to describe itself, of which many have been mentioned above. The use of hand drawing in architecture is considered a display of authority and qualification. It also demonstrates that both architects and designers have the necessary knowledge in their field of profession (Garacia 2010).

Besides demonstrating important skills drawing can be used as a tool to communicate to one self or to others by allowing architects to provide a visual representation of theirs thinking, this further emphised by Arkel as he states that both hand and computer drawn, drawings a considered a form of representation in architecture. Which creates a question if both have also the same meaning? Can it be that computer drawing can replace hand drawing? Stanley Tigerman believes that CAD drawings have little or no function in the process of the design itself; therefore believing that importance of the hand drawing might have actually increased during the introduction of CAD? But why is it so that hand drawing has been steadily vanishing form the curricula of architecture schools rather a emphasis is pushed to learn the latest CAD soft wears. But Michael Graves strongly emphasise that Architecture cannot break up itself from drawing, no matter how much technology advances. He states that hand drawings are not the end result they a part of a process which creates architecture design and most importantly drawings express the contact of our mind eyes and hands. This statement clearly defines the difference between computer users and those who drawing as a tool to conceptualize architecture. To recap the study so it seems that there is strong sense that hand drawing as very strong position which arguably quite save and robust. A person who needs the help of two hands, which have to work together simioustanely to create a clapping sound and the same goes for hand drawings and architecture they have the same relationship of working together with each other but at same time are two unique elements. Michelangelo (1475 - 1564) ‘Let whoever may have attained to so much as to have the power of drawing know that he holds a great treasure.’

All will agree that the way architects work has changed over the years and espsealie they way we create our work and then we presume that drawing did not advance itself and therefore is lacking behind. But reality is described Graves (2010) that drawing architecture was never a static tool because it did constantly change and adapts to new advancements as new materials and new techniques appeared but most importantly it adjusted to the change of the visual climate. This indeed highlights that drawings have changed over the years but it also creates the argument that have we the new generation of designer’s fully utilised drawing with hand yet? To see what Graves means by the evolution of drawing let’s start from the 18th century where we can see that drawings started to change the thickness of the lines to mirror the changing print media. At the same period colour tones and use of different materials was seen. By the 19th century print media such photography started to appear which is also known of the montage period. Then later the narratives of small animations come which took the representation of the drawing to a much higher level. Relating back to the other part of this assignment “Arachne Information Weave” which included the group to re-represent the Bodleian Library in Oxford with different representation methods such as hand drawing which is mentioned in this writing, collage, digital montage, model making and Video making. All methods have unique features but also at the same time have many elements in common, such as all have to connect to the reader and tell their part of the story. As hand drawing is one of the oldest and earliest parts of any representation process it has a vital importance. It is one of the first media elements which engages with its viewer and has the power to steer the meaning to any direction and set a distinctive standard or work. Hand drawings can have different meanings if for example they are used and made into collages or appear in a animation.

John Hill (2013) believes that hand drawings are mostly well matched for mixed media representations he gives an example of a drawing of a house designed by Bossley Architects for artist Colin McCahon (Fig.1) layers a hard line elevation and a looser depiction of the landscape over a photograph of the trees around the sloping site. The drawing accentuates how the artist’s residence “is carefully designed to sit between the many trees,” and “the structure is carefully designed to minimize interference to trees and site,” as the architect describes it. Even without the architects description the motive of the hand drawing can be understood. But at the same time it has also has to be noted that the hand drawing also has been redefined with the use of technology. A photograph has been inserted behind the drawing to give it the needed depth and threshold. This kind of techniques where hand drawings are taken and then worked up on a computer to give them finishing touches had become quite common. Even for our project “Arachne Information Weave” we tried to adopt the same technique (Fig.2). We used the Redcliff Camera as the focal point and hand drew half of the elevation by hand and the other half was kept as the original image, this allowed us to create and add our proposed wire structure without it being over dominating the whole drawing. Another reason for this effect might be that sketches can be defined with a range of techniques and attributes such as material, space, design, form and scale. But unlike Computer generated images which have to be precise and accurate therefore creating quite a reparative end result. Beginners such as us students we try filling in the white paper to often which gives a result such as (Fig.2) where sometimes to much unerssery detail is shown. But on the other hand more experienced architects sketches have a looser and lighter touch but still seem to give more meaning. Such is the case with Alvaro Siza, whose sketches has a distinctive style so that it speak for itself (Fig.3).

Fig1 - Drawing by Bossley Architects

Fig2 - Rep. group work drawing

Fig3 - Sketch by Alvaro Siza

Norman Foster mentioned whilst talking about Alvaro Siza that when both where answering question to student Alvaro Siza started sketching and Foster said “it is interesting that one should feel awkward about eavesdropping on one’s neibough’s sketches as compelling though they might be. It must be because institution tells us that they are private musings and a path to inner thoughts of the person at that time.” Foster believes that these drawings are far more revealing then final presentation drawings and therefore in a sense a prewledg information. For our project we tried to follow the learning process and attempted another hand drawing this time sketchier and less accurate (Fig.4). Later this sketch to was edited on the computer to give the certain depth and which then helped strike out the exiting without highlighting the proposal.

Fig4 - Rep. group work drawing

During the presentation our installation featured all the above mentioned representations methods.... all of the attributes except model making and the physical collages where presented physically and digitally on tablets. This was to highlight our main concept of digitalisation of information (books) for every to use. This gave a new insight for the viewers to experience and engages with the proposal. At the end of the presentation the whole installation become part of our work and contributed as mean of representation. But compare to the film the physical elements such the model and physical hand drawing which were placed inside the installation where bit forgotten and rather were more interestingly viewed and appreciated digitally by looking at their scans and images. Marco Frascari states that for the designer treating ‘as real that which exists only in an imagined future’ (Frascari, 2007, p.4), drawings and models having a duality within architecture, being both parts of the process and at the same time having an independent existence as objects. They have the ability to reveal the concept behind the project while also having a life of their own, influencing viewer’s perception on the project. Drawings and models are not completely rooted in the real world, but levitate above it, influencing viewer’s imagination into generating a state of fantasy around them, and therefore the project itself becoming a personalized fairy-tale. It is also important to add that the viewers perception would not always be the one as expected because personal experience and thoughts can read the same drawing and many different ways. Arkell describes that drawings should be viewed as a process and not as a product only then the real potential can be archived.

In our group we tried to stick to this last statement and used all the representation methods as process to represent our proposal for the Bodleian library. This had an ermous effect on how we worked as a team and how our design evolved. This also helpful as our proposal it is not a static piece of architecture rather changes and adapts same as drawings have done over the years.

Fig5 - Rep. group work drawing

Fig7 - Concept of reading pod

Fig8 - Accessibility

Fig9 - Function of the reading pod

Fig10 - Physical to Digital

References Arkell, A. 2010. DRAWING AS ARCHITECTURE: REPRESENTATIONAL SPACE ARCHITECTURALLY TRANSFORMED. [online] Available at: http://inquiry.uark. edu/issues/V14/2013a02.pdf [Accessed: 23 March 2014]. Bates-Brkljac, N. 2009. Artistic representations of architectural design schemes:Forms, Compositions and Styles. [online] Available at: tracey/journal/dat/images/Bates-Brkljac.pdf [Accessed: 26 March 2014]. Crouch, C. and Pearce, J. 2012. Doing research in design. Oxford: Berg. 2014. Drawing ARCHITECTURE. [online] Available at: [Accessed: 1 Apr 2014]. Fleck, B. and Wang, W. 1994. Alvaro Siza. Basel: BirkhaĚˆuser Verlag. Frascari, M., Hale, J. and Starkey, B. (2007). Form models to drawings. Oxon: Routledge. Garcia, M. 2010. The diagrams of architecture. Chichester: Wiley. GRAVES, M. 2012. Log In - The New York Times. [online] Available at: opinion/sunday/architecture-and-the-lost-art-of-drawing. html?pagewanted=all&_r=0 [Accessed: 27 March 2014]. Hill, J. 2013. Hand Drawing in the Age of Computers. [online] Available at: pages/insight/hand-drawing-age-computers [Accessed: 30 March 2014]. Laseau, P. 1980. Graphic thinking for architects and designers. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold.

Lin, B. 2011. The Importance of Hand Drawing in a Digital World - A Chat with AIA National President, Clark Manus, FAIA. [online] Available at: [Accessed: 5 March 2014]. NETTLER, J. 2014. Why Drawing Matters to Design in the Digital Age. [online] Available at: http://www.planetizen. com/node/58305 [Accessed: 4 Mach 2014]. Olsberg, N. 2013. The Evolving Role of the Drawing. [online] Available at: essays/the-evolving-role-of-the-drawing/8646928.article [Accessed: 23 March 2014]. Snider, B. 2012. Michael Graves on the Value of Hand Drawing. [online] Available at: [Accessed: 27 March 2014]. n.d. What is Drawing? - Victoria and Albert Museum. [online] Available at: articles/w/what-is-drawing/ [Accessed: 28 March 2014]. Wines, J. 2011. Mind and Hand: Drawing the Idea | Boston Society of Architects. [online] Available at: http://www. [Accessed: 23 March 2014].

Projecting Realities

Louisa Preece 13092824

Projecting Realities

Film as a critical tool for re-imagining reality

‘ … the extraordinary potential for film and animation to communicate complex spatial ideas, both possible and impossible, at a variety of scales.’ Clear, 2013, p.74

Real […] is the well-told story, the clear image, the well-defined architectural space, the sacred ritual, all of which give a heightened sense of self - a feeling of aliveness. (Tuan, 1998, p. 6) As explained by the philosopher Yi-Fu Tuan, real is a ‘sense’ or ‘feeling’ not necessarily an empirical event, and in that regard can be created via an immersive image. Representation offers an experience of an imagined moment as conceived by a designer, both the process of the imagining and the final images develop the ‘idea’ into something that could be made reality. Film has been a crucial part of creating the sense of ‘real’ for many years through the cinematic. The immersive qualities of cinema have seeped into architectural representation, although Thomas Forget, an architectural professor, explains that ‘architects typically do not understand cinema as an analytical tool of their profession’ (Forget, 2013, p.82). Forget goes on to explain that ‘projection is the vehicle of architectural thought, and an analytical approach to the construction of architectural imagery ... [this]ensures that the experience of space is not reduced to pictures’ (Forget, 2013, p.248). Therefore an essential element of representation is to be critical and analytical of the subject and involve the viewer in this critique. Katja Grillner, an architect and critic, explains that ‘[f]ilm and photography have provided access to a critical study of the world in which we are otherwise hopelessly immersed’ (2007, p.270). Film presents another mode of perception.

To view the film click > Arachne Information Weave Stills from Arachne Information Weave

This essay will take a brief look at three films that manipulate image through the use of narrative; Patrick Keiller’s Robinson in Space, Jermey Dellars English Magic, and Factory Fifteen’s Robots of Brixton and how they have influenced the use the of video in The Arachne Information Weave. The focus will be on the use of film as a tool for enabling theories and ideas [the imagined] to become believable, and how this can be a critical process. Mathanraj Ratinam outlines the ‘potential application of cinematic visual effects for proposing architectural schemes’ (2007, p.146) where he sees cinema as a way of critically approaching a ‘piece of architecture as the design develops, rather than communicate the outcome’ (2007, p.147). Reality, as it evolves, sweeps me with it ... Everything is changed into something else in my imagination, then the dead weight of things changes it back into what it was in the first place. A bridge between imagination and reality must be built . . . (Vaneigem, 1974. Cited in Keiller, 1999, p.1) Patrick Keiller’s Robinson in Space from 1999 has relevance on filmic representation in architecture as it merges reality with imaginary in a critical way. Keiller explains how film can ‘represent physically imaginary spaces, or proposals for spaces to be realised in the future’ but that for him,‘the mediums allure has always derived from its capacity to imaginatively transform already-existing space, and from the possibility it offers to experience spaces of the past to somewhat similar effect.’ (Keiller, 2013, p. 148). In this respect film has the power to cultivate the viewer’s imagination to the extent they begin to believe the image being presented. Keiller takes this idea further and uses narrative to critique existing space and its occupation. Throughout the film a character named Robinson is trying to ‘locate himself ’, suggesting that the environment is unable to secure a sense

Moments from Robinson in Space (Fig. 1)

Moment from Robinson in Space (Fig. 2)

of identity, questioning the viewer’s sense of place, and how they identify with place. The use of narrative over a series of images taken along a journey, gives the sense of passing through space and time. The narrative itself is both derogatory and informative, moving between poetics and critique thus giving another reading of the environment presented. Keiller primarily uses still shots of footage, with occasional close ups, so the viewer is immersed in both the micro and macro scale of their environment, encountering and experiencing spaces that would usually be passed by. Through this method the otherwise banal or ‘non-places’ are given an intensity that creates a sense of mystery and intrigue, allowing the viewer to consider how the spaces is used. For the Arachne Information Weave film in our project, the focus on the micro and macro scale was used when shooting the footage, taking in the larger whole of the building but also taking in the user experience. Using drawn out still shots of spaces, however, requires a larger time frame in order to begin to develop a critique between images and in this respect was not used in the final edit of the film. Within Robinson in Space the use of spoken narrative develops another reading of the images. To this end sound clips were used that inferred or critiqued certain elements; such as the turning of pages when there is no book. This begins to question the physical act of what we perceive reading as.

Sequence of stills showing narrative from English Magic (Fig. 3)

An artist that explores event and imagination in a social context is Jeremy Deller, who has created a short film called English Magic. It is described as addressing ‘events from the past, present and an imagined future’ (Jeremy Deller, 2013). His films are less a representation of an imagined event but capturing an event that has been imagined. English Magic, captures events that have been imagined along with everyday moments, and places the footage together in a way that begins to dissolve the preconceptions that the footage relays. The slowed flight of an owl landing, the power released from its wings is followed by the delicate manhandling of a Landrover being scrapped, the thin metal being compressed with the same attention to detail as the bird in flight. This is then contrasted with the slow inflation of a large bouncy Stone Hendge that is rushed on by a sea of children. Moving from the power of nature, to the hard steel claws on machine, to the soft and ephemeral joy received from an inflatable landscape. It’s almost as if one had eaten ice-cream than drank coffee; it jars. By contrasting three simple events, Deller questions each in turn, ‘weaving a narrative that is almost psychedelic; hovering delicately between fact and fiction, real and imagined’ (Jeremy Deller, 2013). Here representation is playing another role of critique, taking the ordinary and the fantasy and arranging the moments in a way that both brings a level of believability but holds the viewer almost at arm’s length – this is a scenario which doesn’t add up. The narrative created is so fantastical that the event becomes separated but also hangs on in the mind of the viewer. Deller creates a unique and obscure environment using visual and thematic elements that reflect British society ‘and its broad cultural, socio-political and economic history’ (Jeremy Deller, 2013). The film itself brings together ideas from an exhibition, thus Deller uses film to further represent and explain his art work – pushing his ideas further and creating an immersive and believable space. This enables the film to act as a tool for developing the imagination of the designer further, a reflexive action taken by the artist to reconsider and critique his own work.

Contrasting stills from English Magic (Fig. 4)

Image from English Magic Exhibition 2013 (Fig. 5)

Stills showing animated footage and past footage from Robots of Brixton (Fig. 6)

The elements of fantasy and reality were included in the project film, weaving the tale around a trip to the library – with Alice in Wonderland’s Bodleian ID – that is disrupted by the growth of the Information Weave, and the books are put aside. Contrasting reality with imaginary aids the development of an immersive environment. During the exhibition the film illuminated and explained the idea through the narrative it presents, it also began to critique earlier drawings as they were animated within the film. The use of animation drew in elements of the libraries and how they are perceived and used, critiquing the closed off environment. This drew inspiration from the film Robots of Brixton directed by Kibwe Tavares, now attributed to Factory Fifteen. Tavares architecture thesis culminates in an animated short film that explores a future narrative of Brixton that works from the current and past issues, such as tensions between police and high-density living. The film uses footage of the 1980s riots to create depth to the animation that delves into a ‘future Brixton’ where the Brixton Barrier Block, an imposing housing unit, is duplicated within the animated street scenes, using this recognisable ‘monument’ to further contextualise the proposal. This use of the familiar cultivates a sense of believability within the imagined-scape. Film also becomes critical not just in its approach to subject, such as relating back to the past event of the riot, but also in its approach to the imagined future – one in which expands on the present condition of the site: multi-cultural high density living with tensions between residents and police. Here the use of animation speculates on both the present, past and future conditions, linking back into the ideas of Keiller who states that ‘in films, one can explore the spaces of the past, in order to better anticipate the spaces of the future’ (Keiller, 2013, p. 145).

In this respect representation is not just a tool with which to represent an imagined architecture, the architecture has become the backdrop to a more theoretical idea that broaches current political and cultural issues. The Arachne Information Weave aims to highlight the institutionalised knowledge of the library and its privatised space, as so much of Oxford City Centre is sterile and privatised. By presenting this imagined tale, the Arachne film aims to draw people in to a possible use of the space, and begin to involve them in the critique of space use. Nic Clear the head of Architecture at the University of Greenwich who champions film and animation techniques, explains the future of architecture is changing and expanding, and in this respect representation gives the freedom for the profession to take on more than just ideas of built form. But for this to take place ‘the need for forms of representation that are themselves speculative, immersive and time-based becomes essential’ (Clear, 2013, p.75).

Sequence of stills showing narrative from Robots of Brixton (Fig. 7)

In regards to the research methods used in the project film utilised the underlying narrative of the project, developing the idea further through the animation but also evolving the concept through the process. It enabled me to begin to question how and why we represent, and ways in which this could become more interactive. Thus the film drew the project to become something both physical and digital, reflecting the projects driving theory, of a bionic structure that depended upon the physical knowledge. The film was projected during the installation for the ‘public consultation’. It became part of the experience of the small ‘weave’ we created and began to reflect ideas about being within the pod. The presentation itself questioned the physical and digital way we represent, asking the viewers how they wanted to immerse themselves. They had a choice between the physicality of the space or a digital engagement via an i-pad with our website of work loaded up. The film therefore became even more immersive in the way it was presented, as a projection of our projection of reality. Upon reflection film could have become further integrated into the project from the beginning, drawing upon the ideas expressed by Keiller, Deller and Tavares, analysing the past, present and existing conditions. Familiar elements are conceived of in a different way through the use of film, creating a critical yet believable environment that develops the concept at the same time as persuading the viewer that the imagined image is in fact a possible reality. In this way representation becomes more than the image, no longer simply ‘seducing people on the basis of emotion rather than reasoned thought’ (Webb, 2009, p.25) but inviting them to be part of a larger and critical idea; something real.

Images from Public Consultation of Arachne Information Weave & projection.

Bibliography Clear, N. (2013) ‘Drawing Time’ Drawing + Architecture 225, Sept/Oct pp. 70-79 El-Bizri, N. (2007) ‘Imagination and architectural representations’. In Frascari, M., Hale, J. & Starkey, B. From Models to Drawing. Oxon, New York: Routledge. P.34-43. Forget, T. (2013) The Construction of Drawings and Movies. Oxon, New York: Routledge Grillner, K. (2007) ‘In the corner of perception’ In: In Frascari, M., Hale, J. & Starkey, B. From Models to Drawing. Oxon, New York: Routledge. Pp.270-283 Hill, J. (2007) ‘Weather architecture, weather drawing’. In Frascari, M., Hale, J. & Starkey, B. From Models to Drawing. Oxon, New York: Routledge. p.209-219 Jeremy Deller (2013) English Magic [online] Available at www. [Accessed 25 March 2014] Keiller, P. (1999) Robinson in Space. London: Reaktion Books Ltd. Keiller, P. (2013) The View from the Train. London, New York: Verso Koeck, R. (2010) ‘Cine-Montage: The Spatial Editing of Cities’. In Koeck, R & Roberts, L. The City and the Moving Image. New York, Basingstoke: Macmillan Publishers Limited. Pp. 208-221 Lefebvre, H. (2007) Notes on the New Town. In: During, S. ed. The Cultural Studies Reader, Third Edition. London, New York: Routledge. pp. 147-155 Lim, CJ. (2013) ‘London Short Stories’ Drawing + Architecture 225, Sept/Oct pp. 102-107

Nigianni,B. (2007) ‘Architecture as image-space-text’. In Frascari, M., Hale, J. & Starkey, B. From Models to Drawing. Oxon, New York: Routledge. Pp.253-259 Rawes, P. (2007) ‘Acts of imagination and reflection’. In Frascari, M., Hale, J. & Starkey, B. From Models to Drawing. Oxon, New York: Routledge. Pp.261-268 Robinson, I. (2010) ‘Searching for the City: Cinema and the Critique of Urban Space in the Films of Keiller, Cohen, and Steinmetz and Chanan’. In Koeck, R & Roberts, L. The City and the Moving Image. New York, Basingstoke: Macmillan Publishers Limited. Pp. 114-125 Tuan, Y. F. (1998) Escapism. Baltimore, London: The John Hopkins University Press Webb, J. (2009) Understanding Representation. London, California, New Dehli, Singapore: SAGE Publications Image References Fig. 1 Keiller, P. (1999) Robinson in Space. London: Reaktion Books Ltd. Images from p.4 Fig. 2 Keiller, P. (1999) Robinson in Space. London: Reaktion Books Ltd. Image from p.16 Fig. 3, 4 & 5 Jeremy Deller (2013) English Magic [online] Available at www. [Accessed 25 March 2014] Fig. 6 & 7 Tavares, K. (2011) The Robots of Brixton [online] Available at: Accessed on 25/03/14

Modelling Realities.

Iulia Stancicu 13084436

Modelling Realities.

Physical models generate their own truth; to what extend do they ‘lie’ to us?

‘Anyone who sets out to discover how the architectural physical models are used – ‘whether as works of art in their own right, as a vehicle of design and communication, or as tool, fetish, and utopia rolled into one – will soon find themselves in uncharted waters...’ (Elser and Cachola Schmal, 2012, p.7).

‘Architecture is invisible as a whole in its perceptual reality’ (El-Bizri, 2007, p.38); since it is offered to vision in the partial yet sequential continuum of the manifold appearances of its visible aspects by way of journeying in space-time around and within the architectural objects of sense perception. This experiential invisibility of the plenitude of an architectural entity is also attested in another modality of perception with architectural representation like models. While a model is not only a representation entity, but is rather primarily a sensible object of visual as well as tactile perception, it is itself experienced in fragments and in a continuum of the appearing of its manifold visible aspects (Frascari, Hale and Starkey, 2007). According to Marcial Echenique, a model is a representation of reality ‘where representation is the expression of certain relevant characteristics of the observed reality and where reality consists of the objects that exist, have existed, or may exist’ (Starkey, 2007, p.232). While Chris Dillon argues as well that ‘whenever we attempt to speak, write or otherwise represent aspects of our experience and understanding of physical reality we are entering into a modelling relationship with the world’ (Dillon, 1998, p.49), John Monk also agrees that a model is a concept that ‘stimulates people to give accounts that could also be triggered by the object being modelled’ (Monk, 1998, p.40). While the application and understanding of ‘the model’ within architecture was initially reductive, the architectural discourse mainly interpreting the term as an imitation of an original represented at a smaller scale, it is now becoming a surprisingly flexible term, being applied to a whole gamut of real and virtual objects, running from what appears to be crumbled up wads of paper to models so highly finished that they seem as real full-scale buildings in photographs, targeting a large amount of design concerns (Morris, 2006). The physical model can be perceived as a mechanism for thinking, mediating between the confusion of nature and human designs (Smith, 2004), being idealised in the sense that it is less complicated than reality and therefore easier to use for research purposes. Claude Levi-Strauss argues as well that through the physical representation in miniature, a

conceptual victory can be achieved: ‘in the case of miniatures, in contrast to what happens when we try to understand an object or living creature of real dimensions, knowledge of the whole precedes knowledge of the parts. And even if this is an illusion, the point of the procedure is to create or sustain the illusion, which gratifies the intelligence and gives rise to a sense of pleasure which can already be called aesthetic on these grounds alone’ (Morris, 2006, p.10). Models as more than just works of craftsmanship, they are the primary vehicle of the design process, therefore in ‘the Arachne’s Information Weave’ they are merely used to generate the project, instead of just describing it, while offering enough fodder for the imagination rather than presenting. Even though the models were taken as conceptual elements in the architectural process, they also revealed an independent existence of their own, divulging their own stories as well, while representing the project; Michael Graves also argues that once an idea has been modelled, the made objects begin ‘to have a life on their own’ (Healy, 2008, p.51). While representing the ideas behind ‘The Arachne’s Information Weave’ through physical models allowed the observers to receive tactile clues, helping them to make sense of the objects as well as understanding the conceptual ideas behind the design, taking them a step closer to ‘reality’, it also allowed the models to have an artistic existence of their own, giving the observers the opportunity to place the models in their imagination and to form images of their own. However, the impact of the models built to represent the design ideas for ‘The Arachne’s Information Weave’ is highly dependent on the photographs of them, making the physical objects even more attractive, while achieving a higher degree of manipulation through the atmospheric images, even though ‘a model can only ever be as good as the photos that can be taken of it’ (Elser and Cachola Schmal, 2012, p.9). While the photographs of the models do not simulate through deceivingly realistic-seeming images how one is meant to imagine ‘the Arachne’s Information Weave’, they do stage the project as a mysterious, abstract sculpture, being powerful instruments of ‘representing the already represented’ ideas in order to stimulate even more viewers’ imagination, engaging in experiencing, constructing and manipulating their mental images. Yet, to what extend do physical models persuade viewers’ perception of the project, while influencing their imagination through representation?

1 3


1. Rope, resin, tracing paper model. 2. Acrylic, paper, steel wires model. 4 3, 4, 5. Cable ties model.







6. Cable ties model. 7. Thread, reasin, feathers model. 8. Polystyrene, thread, PVA, fishing wire model. 9. Cable ties, feathers model. 10. Polystyrene, thread, PVA model.

Models are an indispensable instrument when representing the development of a project, Leon Battista Alberti being the earliest, clearest and most forceful advocate of the model as a design tool, shifting the thinking of the model towards a conceptual device; he elaborates and crystallises the notion of the model not just as a medium of architectural representation, but as the primary vehicle of the design process, while suggesting its path to ideality: ‘and there you may easily and freely add, retrench, alter, renew, and in short change every thing from one end to the other, till all and every one of the parts are just as you would have them, and without fault’ (Morris, 2006, p.15). Gaston Bachelard also considers that the small conjures up infinity more easily than the large, the small, in certain instances, being the only way to create the sublime (1977). The miniatures of ‘the Arachne Information Weave’ allowed for the conceptual ideas to be experienced and furthermore developed towards an idyllic state of the project, while exploring both the opportunities and the limits of architectural representation through model making.




11. Rope model. 12, 13. Cable ties model.

While the design of ‘the Arachne Information Weave’ is taking a stage further with the aid of small conceptual models and therefore, advancing the idea in several different variants, the problem of model representation lie both in the slipperiness of the models’ functionality and in the expectations of representation itself. In this case, as there is no real expectation of the final model being built in the first time, the models make no claims beyond the representation of the idea. Like Mies van der Rohe’s Glass Tower project, for example, (1922) which was not necessary meant to signify or refer to anything outside itself, ‘the Arachne’s Information Weave’ miniatures look like models of an installation to be built, knowing full well that it will never be, therefore they are free to represent other intentions.





14. Rope, resin, tracing paper model. 15, 16, 17, 18. Acrylic, paper, steel 18 wires model.

Process models can be ‘heuristic devices’ (Morris, 2006, p.41), tools to arrive at an idea, objects that allow for invention at the earlier stages of ‘the Arachne’s Information Weave’ project, while being reductive, abstract and targeting single themes: structure, space, light, movement. Johannes Itten also considered the model as a vehicle for pure creativity, hovering between the sculptural and the architectural, much like the Prouns of El Lissitzky who urged: ‘Don’t read! Take papers, blocks, wood pieces; build, paint, construct’ (Arheim, 1977, p.128). While Friedrich von Schiller acknowledged that play was essential to creativity and Freud argued that ‘the opposite of play is not what is serious but what is real’ (Morris, 2006, p.45), the sketch models of ‘the Arachne’s Information Weave’ exemplifies the synthesis of material and form through play.




19. Copper wire model. 20. Cable ties model. 21. Polystyrene, thread, PVA model.

While Peter Eisenman and Charles Gwathmey mounted the ‘Idea as Model’ show in order to test and furthermore demonstrate the hypothesis of the conceptual model, revealing the architectural model as a representation of ideas, Rolf Janke argues as well for the importance of the model’s conceptual quality rather than its technical aspect, while also drawing attention to the ‘trickery and cunning’ (2012, p.10) to which model makers frequently resort in order to achieve their representation in miniature. The delight of the initial models made in order to represent the conceptual ideas behind ‘the Arachne’s Information Weave’ has to do with their misreading; once the conceptual model symbolising the main structure was crafted in order to reveal the initial intentions, it allowed the designer to further analyse and manipulate it, turning it upside down, imagining it at a different scale, and reinterpreting it, generating in the end the design of the ‘reading capsule’.


22. Rope, resin, tracing paper model. 23. Polystyrene, thread, PVA, fishing wire model. 23

Another degree of manipulating the physical models could be achieved through the medium of photography, the designer being able not only to show the model that was initially built without any alterations that could occur, as one of the main disadvantages of these ‘maquettes’ being that they could be easily damaged, but also to offer a visual interpretation of ‘the Arachne’s Information Weave,’ while creating certain illusions as well. Many of the conceptual models were built in such a way that the photographs of them would be impressive, and therefore, they could be described as ‘photo models,’ but they would also show how the models were meant to be seen. At this stage, the dramatic photographs taken from the conceptual models of ‘the Arachne’s Information Weave’ in which they fulfil their purpose of representing the initial ideas of the structure were more important than the physical model itself. In this particular project, the expressive use of light also plays a key role for lending dramatic emphasis on the models as well, as shadows and strong lighting are meant to confuse viewers’ impressions of the physical miniatures, leaving it to their imagination to fulfil the atmospheric qualities intended by the designer. However, even though some might say that ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’, it could be argued that a model can be worth at least a thousand pictures, taking over the words, and presenting at the same time the design more effectively than photos (Smith, 2004). Viewers’ imagination is being stimulated through both the physical models and the photographs representing them, generating the perceptual experience of ‘the Arachne’s Information Weave’. Mosche Barasch argues that ‘the divine is immaterial; it has no definite, specific forms; it is invisible. The work of art, on the other hand, is by necessity material; it has definite, specific forms; and it is completely rooted in the realm of the visible and tangible, in the field of sensuous experience’ (2000, p.52). The physical models revealing the conceptual ideas of ‘the Arachne’s Information Weave’ are not completely rooted in the material world, but instead levitate above it, bringing to light the spiritual side of the project, viewers’ imagination being the source of the fantasy created around the miniatures; as Nader El-Bizri states, ‘phantasia’ refers to ‘a process by virtue of which “mental” image is presented to the self, as well as being connected with “common sense” and its capacity to apprehend sensible phenomena’ (2007, p.40).

24. Cable ties model

Even though the physical model has frequently been declared dead in recent years due to the digital representations of the ideas conceptualised through the superfluous render models, the virtual models merely supplement the traditional options. As Jose Qubrerie argues, the design process is rooted in working in three touchable dimensions, with the aim to sculpt the space in any scale (Morris, 2006), the tangible three-dimensional form being the one thing that computer doesn’t have. Therefore, the computer had to take control of the milling machines and 3d printers in order for the models to survive within their virtual form as well, which only proves that where models are concerned, ‘the future also lies in the past’ (Elser, 2012, p.21). The theatrical unveiling of ‘the Arachne’s Information Weave’ through the physical models led the design to progress in a fluid way, starting with developing the concept through the process models, which adhered to the internal language of the designer, and moving towards a more ‘defined’ model, which allowed the project to reach its representation, making the viewer to partially think that it was almost there, while using context, materiality, and scale, but still aiming for a visual charm to be revealed through the miniatures. Physical models were employed at all phases of the design process, generating ‘the Arachne’s Information Weave’ while engaging firstly with designer’s imagination and then with viewer’s perception, revealing themselves as individual maquettes as well, with a conceptual existence of their own. Furthermore, the physical representation grants the opportunity for the designer to offer the viewer an enigmatic interpretation. The viewer experiences the project through active imagining, while projecting their emotions, memories or wishes onto the models as well as pre-projecting the possibility of a reality. Nevertheless, as we have seen, the relatively independency of the project is intensified when using the medium of photography, the designer manipulating at this stage the way in which they are being perceived, the atmospheric representation of the models creating certain illusions in viewer’s mind. Therefore, while taking on a life of their own,

physical models could also deceive, making architect Walter Schmidt to even argue for not using them at all, as good and bad designs could both look attractive while portrayed in certain types of models.

Bibliography Albena, Y. (2012). Mapping Controversies in Architecture. Farnham : Ashgate. Arnheim, R. (1977). The Dynamics of Architectural Form. Berkeley: University of California Press. Bachelard, G. (1994). The Poetics of Space. Boston: Beacon Press. Barasch, M. (2000). Theories of Art: from Plato to Winckelmann. London: Routledge. Dillon, C. (1998). Constructs and Deconstructs. In: Huges, R. and Monk, J. The Book of Models, Ceremonies Metaphor, Performance. Milton Keynes, Open University Press, pp. 49-97. El-Bizri, N. (2007). Imagination and Architectural Representations. In: Frascari, M., Hale, J. and Starkey, B. (2007). Form models to Drawings. Oxon, Routledge, pp.34-41. Elser, O. and Cachola Schmal, P. (2012). The Architectural Model. Tool. Fetish. Small Utopia. Frankfurt: Scheidegger & Spiess. Frascari, M., Hale, J. and Starkey, B. (2007). From Models to Drawings. Oxon: Routledge. Healy, P. (2008). The Model and its Architecture. Rotterdam: 010 Publishers. Huges, R. and Monk, J. (1998). The Book of Models, Ceremonies Metaphor, Performance. Milton Keynes: Open University Press. Monk, J. (1998). Ceremonies and Models. In: Huges, R. and Monk, J. The Book of Models, Ceremonies Metaphor, Performance. Milton Keynes, Open University Press, pp. 33-47.

Morris, M. (2006). Architecture and the Miniature; Architecture in Practice. Chichester: John Wiley & Sons Ltd. Neale, J., Porter, T. (2000). Architectural Dupermodels: Physical Design Simulation. Oxford: Architectural Press. Porter, T. (1997). The Architect’s Eye, Visualisation and Depiction of Space in Architecture. London: E&FN Spon. Sachsse, R. (2012). A Short History of Architectural Model Photography. In: Elser, O. and Cachola Schmal, P. The Architectural Model. Tool. Fetish. Small Utopia. Frankfurt, Scheidegger & Spiess, pp.23-29. Smith, A. (2004). Architectural Model as Machine: a New View of Models from Antiquity to the Present Day. Oxford: Architectural Press. Starkey, B. (2007). Post-secular Architecture. Material, Intellectual, Spiritual Models. In: Frascari, M., Hale, J. and Starkey, B. Form Models to Drawings. Oxon: Routledge. Stewart, S. (1984).On Longing: Narratives of the Miniature, the Gigantic, the Souvenir, the Collection. Durham: Duke University Press. Ursprung, P. (2012). Exposed Experiments – Herzog and de Meuron’s Models. In: Elser, O. and Cachola Schmal, P. The Architectural Model. Tool. Fetish. Small Utopia. Frankfurt, Scheidegger & Spiess, pp.51-57.

Montaging Realities

Nikoleta Stefanaki 13091230

Montaging Realities

How can a digital montage create the illusion of capturing a real moment in time? Are the hand and mouse equivalent tools for thinking?

‘‘’The paradox of reality is that no image is as compelling as the one which exists only in the mind’s eye.’’ Thom Mayne

Pictures are always interpreted and read differently, and we rarely think with the eyes. They should been seen as tools; as working instruments. The image inspires the imagination. In architecture the 2D-collages/montages, about which the viewer may enthuse spontaneously, or indeed not, remain adhered to the paper. These drawings can only be understood as concept diagrams (REDI, 2011). Many critics today argue that digitization has obliterated realities indexicality. This essay will focus on the method of digital montage. It will critically discuss this technique within a broader theoretical framework through a variety of examples in order to examine its meaning and its role in architecture. Lastly, it will examine the reflection of this technique on my design process. Richard Rogers stated that: The creation of an architecture which incorporates the new technologies entails breaking away from the platonic idea of a static world, expressed by the perfect finite object to which nothing can be added or taken away, a concept which has dominated architecture since its beginning. (SENCAR, 2007) The relationship between architecture and representation is interrelated. Simple drawing techniques have been replaced by the possibilities of the digital age, such as montage, renders, modelling and films. Architecture has been redefined by the changes of perception and the increased sophistication of representational techniques provoking controversial issues of dimension of the architectural thought process (Slessor, 2013).

According to Nicholas Olsberg, ‘Drawing is an essential and persistent element in architectural culture’. For John Hejduk drawing is ‘state of mind. It encapsulates the elusive, synaptic spark between mind, eye and hand, whether that hand is holding a pencil or a mouse’. For Peter Eisenman ‘Drawing is a way of thinking…’ Nowadays more and more architects, artists and other designers use digital montage as a method of visualization. The method of montage is not new but the ways of its use have changed as technology is growing rapidly. Montage enables the reworking of reality, engaging with viewer’s interpretation both physically and digitally while playing with their perception of the project. This form of representation generates a critical narrative of the images and builds up the ideas imagined by the designer and furthermore reflected through the illusions created in viewer’s mind. Montage is defined as ‘the technique of producing a new composite whole from fragments of pictures, text, or music’ (Harriss, 2013). One of the most magnificent examples was Oscar G. Rejlander’s The Two Ways of Life in 1857 which was made from more than thirty separate negatives (Ades, 1986).

Figure 1. Photomontage. The Two Ways of Life, Oscar G. Rejlander

It can be said that digital montage is a form of digital collage. The craftsmanship that has always used as a method of collage has been combined with the more versatile computer montage. This method has enabled practitioners to go even further with their representation approaches and push boundaries. To be more specific, digital collage consists of the: Chiasmage - consistent destruction of the primary motifs. The structures of various types of print, of music sheets, letters, geographic and star maps, chessboards or photographs are torn to little pieces and then put together again and glued to a base. Confrontage - placing intact images next to each other, counting on hinting at some connections. Crumblage - crumbling and deforming images, shifting, twisting and interrupting parts of the main motifs. Montage - the technique of combining in a single composition pictorial elements from various sources, as parts of different photographs or fragments of printing, either to give the illusion that the elements belonged together originally or to allow each element to retain its separate identity as a means of adding interest or meaning to the composition. Prolage - a method of creating vistas by inserting images into holes cut or torn in the base material. Rollage - cutting up a picture reproduction into strips and then putting them together again according to previously laid down rules. (, 2014)

Montage is a necessary technique in modern and contemporary art, architecture and filmmaking. The technique of montage is related to visual arts and cinema, but as Joseph Brodsky states, ‘It was poetry that invented the technique of montage.’ A good space can’t be neutral, for an impersonal sterility gives no food to the imagination (Shields, 2014) Maybe somewhere up there, people such as Salvador Dali, Luis Bunuel and Man Ray are looking down on us all with more than a little envy. These three renowned pioneers of surrealist painting, film-making and photography would, no doubt, have been blown away by the sheer range of imagemaking possibilities that are available to modern artists (Huggins and Probert, 2004). Architects have been drawing digitally more than 30 years. Digital fabrication, in particular, has spurred a design revolution, yielding a wealth of architectural invention and innovation. It is inconceivable today to imagine designing buildings without the use of computers. They are used at every step of the architectural process, from the conceptual design to construction (Iwamoto, 2009). Digital practices have the potential to narrow the gap between representation and building, providing a hypothetically continuous connection between design and making (Iwamoto, 2009). As Branko Kolarevic states, ‘this newfound ability to generate construction information directly from design information, is what defines the most profound aspect of much of the contemporary architecture’ (Iwamoto, 2009). Gehry’s office began using digital tools of representation in 1989. For him digital integration was largely necessitated by the complexity of the building geometries. He argues that ‘the digital environment allows architects to take control of the building process’ (Iwamoto, 2009).

The use of photomontage by architects in building plans and projections is now a commonplace. It has a practical use in, for example showing the relationship between the existing environment and the projected building (Ades, 1986). On the other side, in the twenties, this method was used in a more personal way. Some examples are the artist Roelof Paul Citroen, CĂŠsar Domela, El Lissitzky. Below, this report provides the work of two architecture firms that use digital collage/montage as a representation method, FELD and Point Supreme Architects. Figure 2. Paul Citroen, Metropolis 1923


Point Supreme Architects Everything leads us to believe that there exists a certain point in the mind at which life and death, the real and the imaginary, the past and the future, the communicable and the incommunicable, the high and the low, construction and destruction, cease to be perceived in terms of contradiction. Surrealist activity, therefore, would be searched in vain for any other motive than the hope of determining this point. (, 2014)

Figure 3. Kostantinos Pantazis & Marianna Rentzou Point Supreme Architects is a large group of architects founded in Rotterdam in 2007 by Konstantinos Pantazis and Marianna Rentzou and is now based in Athens. Their work incorporates research, architecture, urbanism, landscape and graphic design. They use digital collages/ montages as an architectural representation method. They mix together a myriad of different textures, forms, images, and colours (PointSupreme, 2013). Pantazis states that, ‘The simultaneous use of collage, model, sketch, painting, and render for each of our projects offers the ultimate result’ (Jones, 2011, p.271).

Point Supreme Architects describes the digital montage as ‘The diversity of elements from different architectural traditions and environments, in combination with the pixilated outline of the existing structure, the narrow plot and the fragmented garden create a living experience surprisingly rich in spatial qualities and conditions’ (PointSupreme, 2013).

Figure 4. Point Supreme Architects, House in Athens, Digital Montage

Figure 5. Point Supreme Architects, House in Athens, Digital Montage Figure 6. Point Supreme, montage, Tribute to Madelon Vrisendor

2. FELD FELD is a studio for digital crafts in Berlin. They create computational collages/montages of architectural photography with a common perspective. As they states they balance what computers and what people are good at. They use precise and high-speed computational processes to unfold their works, creating subversive thought, aesthetic and elegant works (, 2010).

Figure 7. FELD Studio, Montage They argues that, ‘using a huge archive of fragments of scanned architectural photographs, new architectural images are created as multilayered collages of these fragments. These new images represent another point of view to the original views of architect and photographer’ (, 2010).

Figure 8. FELD, Montage, Handelskammer Hamburg Figure 9. FELD Studio montages

Figure 10. The Fantasy Writer’s Assistant, John Picacio

Our group’s process started with the invention of an imagined fairytale, The Arachne Information Weave. This worked as a narrative to brings us the final design ideas. Breaking the limits of the institutionalised knowledge of the library and its privatised space, we created a structure of wires to spread the knowledge to everyone in a digital way. The way that we decided to present introduced the viewers into a digital or physical method reading. They had to choose between the physical way of presentation or the digital engagement via an I-pad watching our work on our website. This method of projecting our realities into the digital world was really successful.

Figure 11. Digital Montage showing from The Arachne Information Weave From the very beginning we found digital montage a very convenient way to represent and develop those ideas. Montage does not have to look realistic. Digital montages aims to create the new environment of this concept. We tried to collaborate different parts of the film, photographs and sketches in an effort to reconstruct the new ‘’weaved’’ environment. The oxford Dictionary defines imagination as: The faculty or action of forming new ideas, or images or concepts of external objects not present to the senses. (, 2014)

‘Imagining’ means creating ideas and ‘Imaging’ means creating pictures. Those two words becomes one in terms of the digital montage. Personally, making digital montages were a necessary method to bring my inspiration further.

Figure 12. Digital montage Montages tend to have a similar capacity to stimulate our imagination, as if the various fragments, torn from their initial settings, would beg the viewer to give them back their lost identity (Shields, 2014). The final image will develop further when we learn to understand with the eyes and when we no longer read pictures in order to interpret them. This means that the new drawing not only serves to depict planned, future worlds in an exact, technical and photorealistic way, it can also predict the artistically optional comprehension of spatial perception. (REDI, 2011). So are the hand and mouse equivalent tools for thinking? Doug Engelbart, the inventor of the mouse stated that: I’m trying to find somebody that can work out concurrently the evolution of tools and how you use them. I have been waiting for that decades.

Figure 13. Digital Montage, showing the concept of the Arachne Information Weave John Picacio argues that the computer is best used as a combination of the drawing methods. He combines the realworld paintings and the montage. He makes all his drawings, photographs etc by hand; he scanned them and brings them into the computer. From there he uses the Photoshop to arrange and integrate the different strata in ways that communicate what he wants. This method allows him to get the best of both worlds. In his words: ‘the unique things that only my hands can do in the real world and the infinite compositional possibilities of the digital world.’ (Grant and Vysniauskas, 2004, p 98). Chuck Siebuhr argues that, ‘Digital imaging has no boundaries other than the imagination.’ (Grant and Vysniauskas, 2004, p 114). Andy Simmons states that, ‘Apart from the inevitable computer crashes, digital art lets my creative spirit be free in ways I never imagined.’ (Grant and Vysniauskas, 2004, p 122).

Figure 14. Digital montage. Bodleian library. From the Arachne information Weave Montage enables the reworking of reality, engaging with viewer’s interpretation both physically and digitally while playing with their perception of the project. This form of representation generates a critical narrative of the images and builds up the ideas imagined by the designer and furthermore reflected through the illusions created in viewer’s mind. Architects deal mainly with a constructed and engineered environment. They use digital montage to face issues in peoples lives. In a fundamental sense the digital is different but one can say that regardless of what era this technique is used in, it is still essentially about cutting and pasting, and mixing many different elements together. As long as architects will use this method in the right way they will achieve the most incredible results.

References Ades, D. 1986. Photomontage. London: Thames and Hudson. 2014. Digital Collage by AlteredMixedCollages on deviantART. [online] Available at: Digital-Collage-249322395 [Accessed: 30 Mar 2014]. 2014. ARCHISEARCH.GR - POINT SUPREME ARCHITECTS. [online] Available at: http://www. [Accessed: 31 Mar 2014]. Bentkowska-Kafel, A., Cashen, T. and Gardiner, H. 2009. Digital visual culture. Bristol, U.K.: Intellect. Colson, R. 2007. The fundamentals of digital art. Lausanne: AVA Academia. 2014. Superstudio / Design Museum Touring Exhibition : - Design/Designer Information. [online] Available at: [Accessed: 31 Mar 2014]. 2010. FELD – Extracts of local distance. [online] Available at: [Accessed: 1 Apr 2014]. Giuiliana, B. 2014. Infinite spaces, infinite possibilities: “The Third and The Seventh” as a vehicle for seeing in the digital age | etruxes architecture. [online] Available at: http://www. [Accessed: 31 Mar 2014]. Grant, J. and Vysniauskas, A. 2004. Digital art for the 21st century. London: AAPPL. Huggins, B. and Probert, I. 2004. Surreal digital photography. Lewes: Ilex.

Iwamoto, L. 2009. Digital Fabrications, Architectural and Material Techniques. [e-book] New York: Princeton Architectural Press. [Accessed: 31 Mar 2014]. Jones, W. (ed.) (2011). Architects’ Sketchbook. London: Thames & Hudson Ltd. Lacayo, R. 2009. A Talk With: Thom Mayne | TIME. com. [online] Available at: http://entertainment.time. com/2009/11/10/a-talk-with-thom-mayne/ [Accessed: 31 Mar 2014]. 2014. imagination: definition of imagination in Oxford dictionary (British & World English). [online] Available at: definition/english/imagination [Accessed: 1 Apr 2014]. Piccardo, E. 2012. Superstudio: projects and thoughts. [online] Available at: html [Accessed: 31 Mar 2014]. 2014. PointSupreme Home Page - Nadja 03/14 Renovation and unification of a two... | pointsupreme. [online] Available at: content/ [Accessed: 31 Mar 2014]. REDI, I. 2011. Image and Reality. [online] Available at: [Accessed: 31 Mar 2014]. SENCAR, I. 2007. THE NEW MONTAGE: DIGITAL COMPOSITING AND ITS GENERATIVE ROLE IN ARCHITECTURE. MASTER OF ARCHITECTURE. MIDDLE EAST TECHNICAL UNIVERSITY. Shields, J. A. E. 2014. Collage and Architecture. Hoboken: Taylor and Francis. Slessor, C. 2013. Editorial View: Architectural Representation. [online] Available at: http://www.architectural- [Accessed: 30 Mar 2014]. Walker, J. F. 2006. Painting the digital river. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall. Image Figure References Figure 1. photomontage, The Two Ways of Life, Oscar G. Rejlander Figure 2. Paul Citroen, Metropolis 1923 Figure 3. Konstantinos Pantazis & Marianna Rentzou http://www. Figure 4. Point Supreme Architects, House in Athens, Digital Montage Figure 5. Point Supreme Architects, House in Athens, Digital Montage Figure 6. Point Supreme, montage, Tribute to Madelon Vrisendor Figure 7. FELD Studio, Montage Figure 8. FELD, Montage, Handelskammer Hamburg Figure 9.

FELD Studio montages Figure 10. The Fantasy Writer’s Assistant, John Picacio

Figure 2. FELD Studio, Montage

Fantasizing about Arachne's Information Weave  

Essays that explore different modes of representation and how they influence studio work.