This course examines the various design logics of projection and proportional systems related to design and the theories that define such applications from the Renaissance until our present condition of hyper-pluralism. To that, we will also consider numerous techniques and motivations of representation in conjunction with the analyses and symbolic interpretation as directly related within their intellectual contexts.
The initial theoretical underpinnings of the course will begin with a thorough reading of Wittkower’s Architectural Principles in the Age of Humanism to establish the conceptual frameworks of form to content relationships prevalent in the 15th-17th centuries. After remaining dormant for a couple of centuries, some of these logical constructs as revived by Le Corbusier will be discussed following readings that outline both an extension and inversion of what may be considered traditional applications of projection and proportion in architecture. Finally, the course will conclude with a contemporary position that argues for a re-consideration of these logic systems as possible primary sources for design production in the midst of destabilization. Simultaneously, we will examine technical publications such as the Wellmann text (see below), that precisely define the classic technical and descriptive rules that organize and index the limitations of various geometrical applications.
Note, that while the readings are assigned in chronological order, their content will be largely considered and discussed relevant to contemporary design production although primarily within the field of architecture and landscape design. However, other examples of art & design will be also be considered and the accompanying exercises encourage explorations in any design field.
Indeed, the limited exercises are intended to demonstrate, reinforce and provide tangible understanding to the theories discussed. While a limited number of exercises will be essentially graphic in nature, it is important to highlight that the student will have the option of performing the graphic exercises by either “manual” techniques--using graphite/ink--and/or a translation into a drafting program and/or a translation into a 3-d modeling program but strictly limited to point/ line operations in two dimensional formats.
The level of investigation will be determined by each student’s level of interest and successful progression. For example, while topological geometries--embedded within many current modeling programs involve such operations as Bezier curves, parametric design, algorithms, non-uniform rational b-splines, etc.--will be briefly discussed, their comprehensive application is not anticipated. However, the extensive material covered in this course is specifically intended to provide a natural extension into such topics.
Lastly, and most importantly, the specific materials considered here is but one valuable grouping of knowledge that may be pursued within the process of design; the larger conceptual techniques and rigorous methods learned in the course can be directly applied to an infinite range of design interests and approaches, which on their surface may appear unrelated.