Andrew Porter and Luke Pearson


MArch Graduate Architectural Design MArch GAD Programme
Director: Prof. Frederic Migayrou
Deputy Programme Director and Coordinator: Andrew Porter


Architects in the modern world find themselves in a quandary. For so long the clearly linear path between sketch, drawing and structure could be seen as a sliding scale. How do we deal with our thought process as architects in a world where the illusion of this progression may well have been shattered? What is the position of the sketch in a digital age where rather than going through a process of refinement, the lines and movements may be translated directly into architectural fabric themselves? Is this a process of concurrent translation, the act of flowing notations and interpretations being constantly fed back and forth – as if it were between multi-lingual aides shaping policies through networks of differing dialects at the United Nations?

We have established frameworks, dialects of drawing that we understand to be reference points for communicating architectures through representation. These have, in most cases, existed for many years. Yet the very idea of a sequential process of architectural resolution hanging from these frameworks is being constantly challenged by new innovations and techniques in software.

It is our belief that there are many questions yet to be tackled regarding the delicate interface between new technologies for representing architecture physically, and how these affect our understanding of what the architectural drawing will become as a result. If architects wield power as professional bodies through their implicit understanding of the notations and codifications of architectural drawings, and how these are translated into built matter – how do we assert ourselves when technology allows a process of translation that can reveal all? Do we hide through a new generation of appropriated codifications (programming, processing and suchlike) or do we develop new hybridised drawn methods that take advantage of the interplay between the haptic and the digital.

The haptic suggests direct manipulation of a material upon a substrate in order to generate a result – how do we continue to function as architects who think through drawing that may be composed of digital materials and simulated substrates? Are there clues in the way these new machines translate our movements into choreographies of milling, gluing and solidifying that may give us new tactics for approaching drawing and indeed questioning the materiality of the outputs of these processes. The ubiquity of the off-white 3d print as digital sketch belies the fact that we already have a wide gamut of tools and materials to express our architectural intentions. How can we question this material itself and how we may manipulate it, to emphasis the inherent difference between a digital drawing and a rapid prototype? One may sketch with an ink pen, or one may produce technical drawings with it – how do we capture these new materials in different ways to suit different speeds of thought?

The potential clarity of translation between gesture – software – hardware has a potential immediacy that returns architecture to a (new) sense of craft. The potential lack of clarity within these translations, or the missteps and misshapes that occur might be avenues of investigation regarding this relationship between the haptic and the manufactured. By approaching the idea of architectural representation as an act of assemblage, you will reconcile and deal with the materialities produced by new manufacturing technologies as part of hybridised drawing methods that encompass and interrogate the architect’s position in our contemporary society.

The process of digital translation may slide back and forth, and apply progressive distortions onto our idea of what it is to delineate space. We clearly need the development of new conventions of drawing to be able to understand this – to allow the architect to reclaim aspects of their field new technology allows them to reappropriate and manifest ways of drawing this.

We as architects often remain these haptic beasts. We do not want to remove the gestural in favour of codifications and generators, but to understand how the idea of the gesture itself, may have changed in the face of these new ways to translate it. Therefore new composite, assembled methods of architectural drawing must meld both traditional and novel models of understanding architectural fabric. One could carve digitally before carving physically into the printed digital output. Or one could sketch in real space, scan this and turn it into a framework for the production of a digital space. How would one go about producing a drawing revealing the many facets of these processes?
We ask you to investigate these processes of translation, how they intertwine, overlap and intersect, and how you may develop new drawn methodologies to articulate these complex spatial conditions. Through investigation into the interplay of physical and digital assemblage you will develop a new position towards contemporary architectural representation, and the direction in which new technologies of manufacture may or may not take us.