Constructing Vision

The course considers the application of means of representation, primarily perspective, in architectural design. It examines how architects have used these means of representation not only to represent their work but, more importantly, to construct architecturally based visual worlds. In that sense, architecture becomes the means by which models of representation are transformed into habits of seeing. The course proposes that a diversity of such \”visual constructs\” has been developed throughout the history of architecture. These constructs utilize perspective and other means of representation in composite ways. They also confound the components of perspective with those of the architecture in order to produce specific types of spaces and types of seeing. Such visual constructs as the picturesque, the panoramic, the prospective, the field, the cognitive, and the virtual, will be studied at their origins (with Karl Friedrich Schinkel, Humphry Repton, Louis Sullivan, Le Corbusier, Kevin Lynch, and Paul Virilio) and will then be observed as they travel and develop from one setting to another and across time (e.g., in the work of Mies van der Rohe, Richard Serra, Superstudio, Steven Holl, and Bernard Cache, among others).The course consists of 18 lectures and 6 seminars. The lectures focus on the six constructs as illustrated by twelve main cases. The seminars focus on studying and reinterpreting some of the central themes of representation in design (geometry, optics, perception, and cognition). Readings from architectural history, perceptual psychology, history of art, and aesthetic philosophy will be assigned per construct on a bi-weekly basis. In addition to the readings and class participation, each student will be required to present either a paper or a design or drawing project.