Saturday, February 16, 2008

Raw notes and impressions on April Greiman lecture, 02/15/08

The classic triptych of architectural presentation in school consist of;

It is this Bermuda Triangle, where most mishaps happen and underestimating one of the three can lead to unforseen disasters in the form of an aggressive jury's open season on the hunt; you.
It also devaluates your work considerably, which is even worst.

A well thought out presentation is like a well composed music where every note is recognized, timed, defined, so the musical intention and the talent of the composer can be experienced to its fullest impact.
Besides music; writing, architecture, dance, film, graphics and many other art activities utilize these basic compositional guides.
A presentation is really a communique. If you don't communicate your ideas well, your work gets buried and chances are, it might never surface again under the normal circumstances. You don't want to bury your valuable work just because you didn't take the necessary steps to present it well.

This is not to say, everything must be stacked, lined up and buffed.
But, let me assure you, a seemingly chaotic art work is usually a well thought out precision machine under the surface, if that is the method you decide to communicate your project with.
Everything is possible under the sun and on the white walls of Sci arc, as long as some of the basic systems are (again) recognized, timed, defined and manipulated.

Your graphic design mentor, April Greiman, has illustrated some basic use of visual media in her overall commentary, superimposed on your boards.
She has identified some basic tools and gave some examples of their effective applications towards a well communicated presentation.

Like many of you, who attended the studio on Friday, I have made some bullet type of notes on her comments. Before I list them below, I would encourage you to add your takes and questions on this very important issue of ‘graphics,’ which, most of the time for architects, doesn’t go further than some ‘stuff’ on the pulp, to be fast crossed in shortest possible time, before the basswood modelistas and the three dimensional renderlings take the center stage...


Visual communication through pin up boards are best viewed when;

The typeface is simplified.

Using different type of media, such as; drawings, text, photos, sounds and others, quality is more effective than the quantity, edit well.

Hierarchy of images must be well thought out and continuity of story must be considered.

The rule of thumb for typography/fonts is max. 50 characters per line.

Contrast of anything against the background surface must be studied, if you have written the story of your life in light gray on white surface, I won’t be reading it.

Fonts, fonts, fonts; they can communicate urgency, importance, humor and personality.

Use of colors on boards is a critical point and must be well choreographed.

Titles of your ideas and propositions must be done to further your delivery, like, ‘what’s in a title, doc?’

Crop your pictures thoughtfully.

Crop your contents on the board thoughtfully, use a piece of paper to arrange different pieces on board. Remember, things appear proportionally different on computer screen.

Treat your board as a space, articulate your graphic field, study negative and positive conditions.

Manipulate placement of different parts of your ideas and research on the board so they can interact, create tension, relief and breathe (setbacks of elements.)

Graphic space/graphic space/graphic space; explore this concept,

“Space emphasizes what’s in it.”

Integrate different systems on your boards wisely, don’t let them eat each other, be nice...

Look up Edward Tufte to start with...

Wait, this is not all. More will be revealed in time, on; how to develop the concept(s) of your work, while integrating some graphic process into your projects. You will notice that everything in your imaginary triptych is actually turns and turns and turns and broadcasts your music, and graphic design is one of your essential tools to shape that sound.
When you are putting the presentation of your studio project together, remember this; some of the people who will be evaluating the work, have never seen it before and it is your job to make them see the work without a major effort on their part.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Pripyat: the Ghost City

Almost 22 years after the Chernobyl nuclear reactor disaster in Ukraine, nearby abandoned town of Pripyat haunts with its ghostly realness.
In the wee hours of last night, I found myself playing this video over and over, perhaps seeking some kind of poetic redemption to all of our mistakes as mankind.
I concluded that 'modern architecture' is the saddest of them all, when bereft of its occupants.
Flight over Pripyat

Thursday, February 14, 2008

April Greiman on design

Pioneering graphic designer April Greiman will be talking to class on Friday, February 15.
Greiman has authored several books on graphic design and process. She has recieved the American Institute of Graphic Arts Gold Medal for lifetime achievement in 1998 and the founder of Made in Space, Inc.

Made in Space
April Greiman in Wikipedia

Tons of additional books to consider

Since last year, Archinect publishes a Chinese New Year (CNY) book feature. The feature is a brain child of John Jourden, the chief editor. It contains books selected by Archinect editors and this year's RAT issue is just out today. There are some really good books listed and you might find one or two grabbing your attention. As most writers are also notorious bookies, I highly recommend year of the RAT selections.
Reading for CNY 3

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Film Minute: Isabella Rossellini's 'Green Porno' Explores Insect Sex

Speaking of small vignettes and one minute projects, I have noticed this article in a German newspaper, regarding Isabella Rossellini's latest film project shown at Berlinale.
A very imaginative example of creating short stories from everyday life and use of metaphors in film making. Plus, a great critique of mobile communications and pornography in one minute, which equals a day in a fly's life!

"Isabella Rossellini is showing her short film "Green Porno" at this year's Berlinale. The movie, which was made for mobile phones, shows the actress dressed up as various insects doing what comes naturally.

"If I were a dragonfly," says Isabella Rossellini, "I would have compound eyes and could look up, down, back and forth at the same time. I would have a very skinny body and transparent wings." This simple statement marks the beginning of eight stories dealing with the sex lives of insects. But worse is yet to come, as these creatures usually have to pay for their casual flings -- often with their lives.
This is no obstacle for the actress and director, who plays eight different insects in her "Green Porno" short film and obviously enjoys depicting the coitus of fireflies and other insects. The eight one-minute episodes are both informative and amusing, showing plenty of interesting details on this somewhat unorthodox theme."

Full article, via spiegel online | Interview with the artist including short scenes from the film at Sundance

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

An express commentary on Manuel DeLanda lecture on 02.06.08

Manuel DeLanda: The New Materialism and the Mind

It was an engaging lecture. I specially found DeLanda's comparative presentation of Kant and Hume very informative and enjoyable, using playful illustrations such as; Eskimos' twentynine names for snow, meanings of meaning and life before language. Modern philosophy 'explained' in a nut shell. Last part of the lecture on artificial intelligence was somewhat challenging and fashionably familiar for the audience of architects.

My reading of his conclusions was that, we will be spending a lot of time in this century charting and organizing the unknown, which will bring us many non linear surprises just about anything. Seems like insect level capabilities of present AI technology shall soon grow much more complex and pattern-map out fascinatingly vast plateaus (no Deleuze pun). I will further look up for DeLanda's work. I recommend this lecture for those who are interested in artificial intelligence, algorithmic constructions, pattern associations and linguistics.

At the end of the lecture, die hard Nietzschean Eric Moss' center point opening on Hume as 'sceptical realist,' was met by an hypermodern inspired and seemingly hidden move by DeLanda! No dark matter for him.
(re printed from Archinect school blog entry)

Monday, February 11, 2008

Business of Site Selection Before Going to Sleep!

I know we have our birds to guide us to a perfect site, I know some of us are already set our eyes on empty lots here and there, and I know some of us still contemplating where we go from here to locate our programmatically developing projects.
I have entered a search on google for 'site selection' and, to my minor surprise, discovered that this is a billion dollar business on global scale.
I mean, consultants will find you sites to develop your buildings, tire factories, steel mills, dams, schools, hospitals, there are even memorandums on Mars landing site selections and options!
You name the project, and there will be a site for it appearing soon enough, for a price of course.
There are also public programs to read the titles, if you would, and programs for immigrant communities.
Some of the criteria is useful to us and some criteria we can not apply anywhere near to our projects. Nevertheless, I just wanted to share fine art of site selection for your abstractions and further considerations. I know you will be sleeping good with this material!
Isn't studying architecture great?

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Studio visit; Aleks Istanbullu

This Wednesday, Feb 13, Los Angeles based architect Aleks Istanbullu will be visiting the studio and talking about his Downtown Bisquit Lofts and other projects. He will be addressing economic and design issues of different architectural projects his office is currently undertaking.
Aleks Istanbullu Architects