In "Perspective, its Epistemic Grounding and the Sky" Hashim Sarkis tells us that visual constructs in architectural design, understood as both an architect's conception of the visual experience of a work as well as the visual means of representation that anticipate it, are conceptually like scaffolds: they help us assemble the experience of a building, but may later be removed. Like scaffolds, these temporary constructs leave behind an imprint that persists long beyond the duration of the design process, an imprint which is written into the very spatial structure of the work. This studio adopts Sarkis' conception of the visual construct, and seeks to extend and explore its application to architectural design. Among the questions we address, this studio asks:
If the visual means of representation inevitably leave behind an imprint of their character on the architectural work, then what are the latent biases of our traditional means of representation? What new and more intentional biases may we invoke by more consciously deploying our means of representation?
Many traditional means of architectural representation (such as axonometric or plan projection) purposefully place the viewer in a position outside of the designed work. Is architecture possible without this inherent distance?
What new visual constructs lie hidden in alternative representational modes that we may borrow from other creative traditions?
The visual-spatial constructs explored in this studio are not meant to reduce the design process to a series of perspectival tactics nor the architectural experience to a purely visual enterprise. Rather, our aim is to question the relationship between structures of design thinking and modes of architectural experience.
Recalling the idea of the visual construct, and understanding the previous work of the studio as forming a visual-spatial scaffolding that will allow us to assemble architectural experience, this project tests this conceptual scaffold against the limits and resistances of a design problem. To this end, students propose support structures and storage facilities for the Pacific Film Archive, a Berkeley-based institution affiliated with the Berkeley Museum of Art. Distributing the elements of the program as they see fit, students select a minimum of three and a maximum of five sites from the provided list of gun emplacements situated on the southern coast of the Marin Headlands, and on the Northern coast of San Francisco.
A rumination on space, time, and vision, this project uses a combination of the design of physical mapping devices, the invention of graphic processes, and the construction of sequences of perspective spaces to prepare students for an architectural intervention.