Architectural Communications II (Communications - Major 1)University of Utah

Drawing is “an act of making rather than an act of viewing.” Cooper, 1992, p.VI “Technical competence is not of prime importance in deciding who is a good drawer, designer, artist . . . skill is less important than awareness” Collier, 1963, p.1 PHILOSOPHY: MAKING AS DESIGN AS COMMUNICATION In ordinary parlance, design is not the same as making. ‘Design’ is usually thought of as referring to ‘idea’, ‘concept’, or ‘scheme’ whereas ‘construction is related to ‘construction’, ‘building’, and ‘assembling’. In other words, design implies a level of mental detachment from the physical act of construction. Furthermore, design and making are normally seen as different stages in the design process, the former preceding the later. Working drawings, CDs, and spec writing assuring the constructability of the design plans. However, although technically accurate in terms of procedural practice, such fundamental differentiation is flawed.

The “design process” is a series of studies in which mind and matter, idea and substance, are under an intense dialogue characterized by their continuous and mutually transformative engagement. In fact, it is through the communication of ideas into some material manifestation that design can take place at all. It is ultimately irrelevant whether such formalization initially takes place as pure geometry/representation (e.g., computer screen or a freehand sketch) or as a physical model. Either way, the goal of design is the communication of an intention (mind) that in that very act must heed to the rules of form (analog or digital). The assimilation/accommodation dialectics that ensues and whose tentative resolutions become recorded in evolving constructions is what we call “design process”. Hence, rather than being an ‘a-posteriori’ effect of design, construction is Arch. 3051: Arch. Communications II Syllabus Spring 2006 2 of 4 the way in which design unfolds at the interface between mind and matter. Indeed, because such constructive communication is intimate, conversational, and dependent on craft, ‘making’ is the term that most accurately defines design. The fact that ‘making’ also means ‘causing or bringing into being’ adds further legitimacy to the creative essence of design.

It follows that design, making and communication are inseparable partners in architecture. The made is design being communicated. Making is communicating whether it takes place through drawings, writings, or physical materials. Arch 3051 will investigate the link between making, design, and communications using three problems demanding progressive understanding and sophistication. To do so, we will engage in a new and exciting collaborative teaching/learning experience that brings together three courses of your first year architectural program: the design studio, materials and construction, and communications. Hence ARCH 3051 is not a “drawing/graphics/computer /modeling” class but rather a study of communications through architectural design and making. The overall strategy will be to approach communication as an act of (1) making (building, construction) and (2) exploration and inquiry (study, ideation, criticism).


Professor(s): Julio Bermudez, Al Smith, Verl Adams

Leave a Reply

  • (will not be published)