MIT Architecture – the beginning

Hello all. Thus begins a new chapter of education. Most of you know the back story here, and this isn’t really written towards those who don’t already know what I’m up to. That said, I would love to hear from you if you haven’t been in touch in a while – just send me an email. As is already clear at day three in the program, the pace here is ridiculous. I must begin to seriously prioritize my life, and one of the activities (which has never been very high on the list to begin with) that must fall behind is writing about my work. I would, however, like to be able to provide visuals to interested parties.

This, then, will become a primarily visual resource documenting mostly the end results of our projects in the curriculum here. I’ll try to give enough information that the reason for the graphic is apparent, but I would love to engage in further conversation, or provide further clarification on particular projects, as time permits.

Enough intro, on to the first project. (I might as well mirror the intro-to-content ratio that I have found here, i.e., very low.) Here’s the first assignment. I included the full prompt so you can get an idea of the language. I’m still reeling a little from the new ways of using words. (At least, usually they’re words.)

4.151 Architectural Design I, Fall 2011
MIT Department of Architecture
Instructors: William O’Brien Jr. (Coordinator), Filip Tejchman, Skylar Tibbits
Teaching Assistants: Moa Carisson, Carl Lostritto, Mavis Yip

A Crisis in Representation

While previous modes of representation included some degree of work – the physical act of construction and development of a material analog technology and software have, like the printing press, problematized the purpose of the architectural drawing. In critical terms, the image has become exclusively rhetorical and its ability to measure, reference and describe is dependent on the degree of rigor and accuracy with which it is produced. In this way, the language of modem mechanical production tolerances, proximity, accuracy, paths and limits has become embedded within design terminology and found some limited presence in drawing. As historical cycles go, the adoption of new terms of critiques, culled from practices and processes that are conceptually and materially adjacent to the discipline, speaks to the fluidity with which Architectural thinking evolves.

Composite Drawing

In The Projective Cast, Robin Evans argues for a conceptual displacement in the relationship of Plan, Section and Elevation – traditional plan+section logics are problematized by 3D modeling software. While previous generations had engaged this issue through the deployment of the generative drawing, their experiments were often situated at the beginning of the design process and served to produce a formal syntax and image, rather than develop criteria for


When axonometric and trimetric projection first began to be advanced by Architects, it was for the explicit purpose of adapting plan and section to the contemporary demands and restrictions of mechanical fabrication and reproduction. This eventually led to the rhetorical use of axonometrics as pure image, though the conceptual underpinnings and processes were by then heavily changed by the spatial logic the axo brought with it. Similarly, as new terminology has crept into the design process, so has a rear-guard ethic
in regard to the supremacy of fabrication within the design process. This has led to certain formal tropes – the multi-section form, laser-cut origami, the continuous surface or lattice 3D print, and the grooved surface – all of which represent massive leaps in form making logics.

How can the novel re-deployment of the architectural drawing extend the spatial understanding of contemporary form in the same way that the axonometric augmented late 19th-century and early 20th-century design? You may be familiar with the lack of
information that is represented in a section taken through a computer model, or the absence of fabrication drawings from the final object. These glaringly disparate images and disjointed logics are the contemporary challenge to representational techniques – how
can the development of novels systems and the creation of a composite drawing go beyond rhetoric to address measurement, description, reference and instruction?


Your task is to document the surface, sectional and operative condition of a found spherical object, using a digital camera, a knife and photoshop. Particular emphasis on the reciprocity between interior and exterior skin, and the relationship between surface area
and volume, is encouraged. The representation of poche will also need to be addressed.

  1. The destruction of the object is not relevant to the composite drawing. However, the relationship between volume and surface area is critical. To clarify entropy and process of unmaking are irrelevant, unnecessary and avoid the question
  2. The composite collage drawing must introduce an internalized system of reference and measure, without retreating to the use of a grid, Cartesian Coordinate system or other external references.
  3. Establish criteria and rules that differentiate plan from section and that articulate the correspondence between them.
  4. A clear origin and position are necessary.
  5. Some degree of instruction is necessary within the drawing – what are the rules that “make” the found spherical object?
  6. Do not add lines, notation or other diagram(s) to the collage.

Deliverables for Tomorrow at 2:00PM

1- 24×36 color print


Anyways, here’s my response. Not profound, and not perfect, but I believe it works, and that was enough for 18 hours.

From here on out this will be mostly visuals. Enjoy the slideshow, and email or call if you want more detail. Be well!


Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>