(ab)Normal for for ‘drawing space: disclosing architecture’ Exhibition @ Boston Architectural College
Ideas are simpler when expressed by lines rather than words. An idea is blurry by default, and it populates as a foggy entity the mind of whom is thinking. Thus, it becomes a struggle to express ideas by means of texts. Instead, drawing is much more direct at expressing thoughts to bypass easily the barrier imposed from the logical construction of a text. Drawing and writing are complementary activities, often two tools that are exploited to reach the same goal: dressing the Imaginary. Yet, in most cases, drawings and texts are constructed in autonomy, as fragments informing partially about an idea; both are gates that open to parallel dimensions, existing in the moment that a line is traced or a word is spelled. There is a sort a revelatory satisfaction in creating a drawing or generating a text, since it appears that the topic is unveiled rather than created out of nothing.
In the case of Architectural representation the above formulation might be even more evident, since a drawing acquires value of projecting a space into the two dimensional realm. Drawing is instrumental in Architecture more than in any other discipline, and needs to respect a very rigid set of rules. Whether is a plan or a section or any other type of orthogonal projection, or evena perspective, architectural drawing is often about something else, telling the logical or illogical construction of a three dimensional space. For instance, looking to the planimetric scheme of the British castles sketched by Louis Kahn, it is quite impossible to forget about the volumetric masses of the walls. Yet, these drawings are much more revealing than a three dimensional drawing, exactly for the ability to synthesis certain aspect, forgetting about texture and consistency in general. In other words drawing means understanding, analysing and choosing informations about a topic, in the case of architecture about a space. It is so powerful that Architects of the postwar abandoned the activity of building projects and mostly focused on drawing scenarios. Not mentioning the foremost, Costantino Dardi or Maurizio Sacripanti, GRAU had curtailed their actions outside the realm of the physical engagement in order to have the possibility of describing much more compelling itineraries. Archizoom exploited very schematic orthogonal projections to describe an entire society, drifting towards consumerism; the No Stop City was drawn as a scansion of the colourful simplification of life in category of consumption, a city that does not exists and yet, is tessellated in every brick of every shopping mall, and today bricks of every fulfilment centre. To make a comparison, one could say that Archizoom stays to Victor Gruen as Hilbersaimer stays to Mies.
Manfredo Tafuri wrote:
“[ ]Recently, architects have spilled in their projects all the curiosity about problems that they are not called to engage in fulfilling their profession, giving the impression […] of an absolute abstractness and utopism. Nonetheless, Utopia is not a polemical or evasive answer to the blindness of institution regarding the claiming of the architectural debate”
Whether in disagreement or not with the generation of the Radicals, Tafuri expressed perfectly what architecture, and the representation of architecture had become in the unravelling of modernity. A tool to describe societies by means of space.
As a young group, we believe that this is still the ultimate goal of Architecture.
‘Second Generation Graveyard’ will be on show at the McCormick Gallery, Boston Architectural College until January 2nd 2019.