Architectural Drawing and Representation (ADR2) was designed to bring together three parts of the first-year curriculum: History/Theory, Visual Studies and Core Studio 1 + 2. While the focus of the course was on the production, tools and techniques of drawing, its intent was to provoke an active encounter between the history and theory of visualization, the practice of drawing and the design studio. The connections, although not always direct, were intended to allow first-year students to think about how visual tools have an impact on their design methods. The course explored the hypothesis that the techniques and tools used in architectural drawing and representation are not neutral, and encouraged students to think consciously about the choices we make in drawing, design or pedagogy.
The first two hours of the course each week involved lectures on the history and theory of visualization in architecture since 1900. The second two hours included introductory lectures that framed the drawing assignments, tutorials on methods and practice of drawings and reviews of drawing assignments. We emphasized the distinction between using techniques descriptively and generatively and explore the opportunities that arise because of it. The assignments aimed to make links between the lectures, drawing tutorials and work in studio. Visualization tools and drawing have changed radically over the last century, in both the practice and pedagogy of architecture. The course charted these shifts, beginning with the presumption that there are strong links between old and new media, analogue and digital, production and archives.
The course addressed a range of questions about, and techniques of, architectural visualization, given that its role in facilitating and communicating design ideas has always been indispensable to the methods of design. How have we evolved beyond conventional two-dimensional hand drawing, which has defined architectural production for generations? What do three dimensions mean today? Or for that matter fifty dimensions? How has the proliferation of technology in particular had an effect on discrete software, techniques, platforms and methodologies, but also their use in serial or parallel workflows? Whether designers develop an iterative series of plans, or dictate the precision of tectonic detail or toolpath, or address the complexity of environmental systems, visualization is the crucial interface between designers, disciplinary history, and their clients, consultants and communities.
Visualization in pedagogy continues to radically transform the process of design and its production. It is therefore imperative that we consider the larger implications of visualization for contemporary visual culture, and architecture, in the move from modernity to postmodernity and beyond.