Drawing the line: a working epistemology for the study of architectural drawing

by Wood, Peter

Abstract (Summary)
The conventional view of architectural drawing presents it as a paradigm for architectural knowledge based on a visual relationship between an idea and a built work where the drawing operates as a neutral and passive vehicle for the transformation of architectural thought into architectural practice. In this model the drawing is merely a utilitarian convenience for the passage of the architect’s imaginings. Coded into this relationship is the accepted authority of our visual faculties to mediate and interpret the communicative aspects of drawing. This work questions the hegemonic role of vision in the execution and interpretation of architectural drawings, and proposes instead a more complex and discursive model for the transmission of architectural knowledge through a drawn medium. With reference to three case study drawings circa 1980 (Aldo Rossi: Interno con il del mondo, 1981; Morphosis: Venice III, 1982; Peter Eisenman: House X, 1976) this period is identified as the end of a tradition of manual drawing for architects, that has historically defined the practice of contemporary architecture. It is argued that architects have depended upon a visual paradigm for the operation of drawing to organize their relationship to architecture, and that this has in turn prohibited comprehensive analytical critique of the drawing and its place in wider architectural production. Each case study offers a point of departure for a critical reappraisal of the role played by drawing in the relationships that exist between the idea and the work in architecture. In particular the function of touch is proposed as a counter sensory knowledge that is coded into architectural drawing, but whose presence is then repressed as unconstitutional to the idea/project relationship. In making this argument a series of figures are introduced (consisting principally of the hieroglyph, the hand and touch, and blindness) to produce an epistemological framework for further discussion on the subject. It is suggested in conclusion that although the development of digital technologies has shifted architectural representation away from traditional manual practices that this should not be viewed as a representational paradigm shift since the ideological framework that organizes our relationship to the screen is the same one that has existed with the page, and perpetuates the same ideological problems.
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:Mike Austin; Sarah Treadwell

School:The University of Auckland / Te Whare Wananga o Tamaki Makaurau

School Location:New Zealand

Source Type:Master's Thesis



Date of Publication:01/01/2002

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