The Intention of the Visually Based Academic Studio: Communication or Simulation

By Amanda Hufford and Douglas Gittens.

Published by The International Journal of the Image

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

We are awash with images and repetitive information. This affects the study and practice of architecture, which is by nature ocularcentric and reliant on a graphic system for the communication of architectural ideas between designer, builder, and client. The graphic system signifies the possible built outcome by serving as a conduit between ideas, design, and built form. This established system is threatened by the easily produced, reproduced, and consumed digital image. Investigation of this condition is relevant as the educational domain and professional practice of architecture both become stewards of, and servants to, that which is increasingly mediated by and technologically determined. This study presents a modest, but nonetheless valuable, query into the appropriateness of digitally manufactured graphics in the academic studio. Architectural graphics have evolved since the Renaissance. Their principles however remain in tact, relevant, and applicable to the study of the image in the contemporary academic studio. Existing knowledge refers to these images interchangeably as representation and visualization. This naturalized practice needs to be evaluated, as the tangible referent is not so easily recognized in the digitized graphics charged with communicating the buildable aspects of a speculative design. This thesis aims to distinguish between representation and visualization, arguing that each possesses unique attributes as communicators of architectural information. A mixed method approach to discourse research has been used to interrogate digital media in the academic studio. The existing discourse within educational texts suggest that the expectation of graphics is not fixed. Ambiguous perceptions are evaluated in a survey of second year architectural students. Finally, a content analysis confirms the dominance of visualization over representation in graphic presentations. The findings suggest that visualization is inferior to representation to communicate buildable architectural information.

Keywords: Architecture, Architectural Education, Architectural Graphics, Communication, Computer Aided Design, Education, Reproduction, Signification, Simulacra

The International Journal of the Image, Volume 2, Issue 4, pp.111-120. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 777.776KB).

Amanda Hufford

Lecturer, School of Art, Architecture, and Design, University of Lincoln, Lincoln, UK

My professional practice background spans three countries with distinct approaches towards the discipline. This experience has also led to both teaching and further study internationally. I currently lecture in architecture in the United Kingdom. My current research interest is concerned with the opportunities and consequences of emerging digital design and dissemination technologies in the academic architectural studio.

Douglas Gittens

Senior Lecturer, School of Architecture, Faculty of Art, Architecture, and Design, University of Lincoln, UK

My current role as senior lecturer and researcher at the University of Lincoln encompasses the following: Year 2 Co-ordinator, Studio Tutor, and Dissertation Supervisor BA (Hons) Interior Architecture & Design; Studio Tutor and Dissertation Supervisor BA (Hons) Architecture; Admission Tutor BA (Hons) Interior Architecture & Design. My current research interests include: Spatial Theory: absurd space, marginal space, and liminal space; phenomenology of architecture. Architectural representation: contemporary perspective drawing; representation of liminal space and absurd space; documentation of architectural memory and lost space. Drawing: drawing and the creative process; drawing as problem solving; drawing as a research tool. I am also an experienced design practitioner and draughtsman who continues to operate within the creative industries.