Drawing After the Computer

Visual Studies

Spring 2013

Babak Bryan, instructor

For at least 500 years the articulation of architecture has been through the simultaneous acts of drawing and modeling. With the digitally enhanced virtual environment afforded by the computer, the distinctions between these simultaneous acts have become blurred and their practice integrated into one. Production with the digital tools asks, or even demands, that a cohesive virtual model be made first. The final act of production for either can be best summarized by the single command “control+p”. By printing, either on paper or with material, the act of drawing and modeling is reduced to an output process of information that has been first established in another field.

The values of these historic practices are up for debate. Whether we are translating into the flat, planar mode of a drawing or the tectonic mode of a physical model, the purpose of this act should be more than to merely satisfy an established convention or fulfill an arbitrary requirement. However, in a world in which we still feel obligated to render these constructions after the design is complete, we must ask ourselves why we still bother at all. This series served as a laboratory in which these very questions were be explored. Judgment as to the benefit or detriment of this practice shall be reserved. Rather, the hybrid condition of the drawing/model served as the entry point into these respective explorations.

Starting with a virtual model, this first half‐course explored the act of drawing as more than an act of extraction, reduction and excision. Embedded within the desires of the act of drawing is also an attitude towards exploration, explanation and evaluation. Specifically, through a series of explorations, the student continued to interrogate the artifact of the virtual model in drawn form to question and explore the value of a trace. A record of progress, iteration and evolution of design principles were documented and codified. In the end, an assessment of the value of this production was made and possibly the ultimate necessity for this form of representation was fundamentally critiqued.