Architecture 102—Design Studio
ARCHITECTURE WRITING PROGRAM: LANGUAGE/MAKING
CONCEPT BASED PROJECT DESCRIPTION
For your midterm review you are to write a one-page project description. Regard this as a stage in your design which will assist you make important changes, a script for you to follow in your presentation and a handout for you to give to the invited critics. By writing about your design you will solve problems that you couldn’t in any other way. And you will develop an understanding of your design that will enable you to speak about it and to answer questions intelligently.
In some of the studios you have been assigned to produce a recipe of your design. Consider the project description as an introduction to the recipe. Divide the one page description into two distinct paragraphs. The first paragraph will be descriptive and the second paragraph, a narrative that shows your aggregate or landscape close up and from a distance. It is recommended that you base your project description on a central, organizing concept. Webster’s New Collegiate defines concept as “an abstract or generic idea generalized from particular instances.” Usually words with highly charged visual meanings, architectural concepts can express a range of metaphoric and analogical values. Take for example the concepts porosity, exchange and fitness-- three concepts currently employed in design studios—and consider the tectonic, social, cultural and symbolic possibilities inherent in those concepts.
In the essay “What is a Concept?” Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari write that concepts are “…centers of vibrations, each in itself and every one in relation to all others.” While a concept may form a wall, the author’s point out, “it is only a dry stone wall.” While two concepts may be bridged, they are, “bridged by a moveable bridge.” Concepts are mutable, elastic and allow for a multitude of interpretations. Concepts can be expressed singularly or as a taxonomy of related concepts. They can also be accompanied by binarisms which present a dialectical system, such as inside and outside or center and periphery. A concept invites critics to enter a design in a way that encourages a conversation.
Maintain rigor by keeping your analysis simple and precise. You can and should use spatial terms, such as horizontal, vertical, diagonal, zone, edge, boundary and path, to define the parameters of your propositions, as well as more complex formal terms, such as rhythm, hierarchy, flow, sequence, texture, and so on, to further describe and define the aesthetic qualities of your projects.
It is also highly recommended that you assign a succinct title to your project.
To assist you to develop a one-page concept-based project description Jeffrey Hogrefe will be available to meet with students individually or in small groups. You can email Jeffrey at firstname.lastname@example.org.