Date: 2010

Team: Barnaby Bennett and Byron Kinnaird

“Research – as the drawing forth of ideas – has been fundamental to the practice of the architect since the Italian Renaissance. The term ‘design’ comes from the Italian disegno, meaning drawing, suggesting both the drawing of a line on paper and the drawing forth of an idea.”
– Jonathan Hill

Within the discipline of Architecture the drawing is the paramount vehicle of communication and design. Like the word building, drawing is both a continuous verb and noun, it functions both as an act of doing; a process, and an object. So while it has at least two distinct linguistic uses, drawing as a method of expression distinct from written or verbal mediums has inherent characteristics that necessary blur or smudge this tidy definition.

The Architecture drawing has a number of distinct and recognized conditions from the mundane use of legal construction documents to the enigma of the sketch or research drawing, it gathers creative potential from the ability to sit over, between, or upon different functional definitions. Robin Evans writes. “What goes out is not always the same as what goes in,” and that the drawing has “an enormous and largely unacknowledged generative power: by stealth.”

As there are many and varied types of architecture drawing whose definitions conflict and overlap, there are also many competing definitions of what an architecture drawing is.

“To draw means to fill the gap between thinking and making. It is a means to fill the void between what is not there and the building that will occupy the void one day”

“In a manner of speaking… the drawing is the architecture, a priviledged [sic] vehicle for expressing architectural intentions: intentions that are poetic in a profound traditional sense, as poesis, as symbol making.”

“for architecture, even in the solitude of pretended autonomy, there is one unfailing communicant, and that is the drawing.”

While the quest to keep meaning contested around the architecture drawing is fruitful within the discipline, one wonders what damage this lack of desire or inability to define causes between disciplines, and to wider research audiences with their agendas of development, accountability, and outcomes.

The task in this project is not to derive a single authoritative definition of the architecture drawing, it is to use a series of diagrams and drawings to construct a number of ‘constructions of knowledge’ that might guide us to a deeper understanding of the topic, and to models that might better explain the power of the drawing without weakening it through reductive analyses.

Image is being replaced by information. The architecture drawing by its nature carries information that is rich enough to make constructions from, thus is a type of prototypical infographic.

There are a variety of mental constructions that can be used to arrange our selected characteristics into more coherent models. These are used to arrange the lists of characteristics into structures of logic that allow the representations of knowledge to be navigated in a more meaningful way. In this project we introduce 5 of these: the ternary plot, the non-hierarchical list, the quadrant, the flowchart, and the semiotic square.