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CFP: The End of Architectural Drawings? (Rome, 21-23 Nov 18)

"The end of architectural drawings? Representation and construction in the 20th and the 21st century"

Conception and Organization: Tatjana Bartsch, Johannes Röll, Anne Scheinhardt, Vitale Zanchettin

In the last decades, the far-reaching diffusion of electronic data processing instruments seems to have supplanted traditional methods of manual drawing and three-dimensional architectural model making. The capturing, planning and visualization of objects and buildings appears to be positively dominated by digital technologies and semi-automatic production methods, ranging from parametric and algorithmic modelling systems and digital recording tools to interactive animations and automatic 2D and 3D printing.

In view of these extensive and pervasive technological developments which appear to highlight an epochal and seemingly irreversible change, the question arises as to whether these new means of representation also reveal an inherent change in the forms of knowledge or, rather, if they do not simply adopt manual and conceptual conventions derived from the architectural drawing tradition. Notably, in the context of construction sites, the communication between the executing and the planning party continues to be linked to the graphical projection, following practices that have been essentially unchanged for centuries. Even the screen view of the vector-based drawing program AutoCAD, which is operating in layers, points to the method of projection drawing on transparent paper that was diffused throughout the 20th century. Both on-going practice and recent experiences with the combined use of manual and digital drawings in teaching and project planning seem to call into question the superior position of these modern technologies.

The upcoming conference hopes to encourage a reflection on modern forms of architectural representation, starting from a variety of disciplinary approaches and focusing in particular on the following issues which, until now, have been answered only partially: to what extent should the new technological instruments be viewed as based on a substrate of practices consolidated in the course of centuries? In which sectors does the drawing practice continue to use traditional materials and techniques? What is the role of recent phenomena which seem to reveal a renewed importance of manual drawings for project planning, capturing and architectural representation? In which context do interaction and contamination occur between the digital and the manual?

By comparing different drawing practices (from specific individual experiences to traceable tendencies, projects in different scales and for various architectural purposes), the conference intends to focus on the role of architectural drawing within a historical context that appears to challenge both manual dexterity in its daily use and the concept of intellectual authorship. Talks should not exceed 30 minutes and focus on either specific case studies or theoretical questions pertaining to the methods of modern or contemporary architectural drawing and their relation with the past.

Interested speakers are invited to send a short CV and an abstract of their proposed talk (c. 300 words) to by June 30 2018). Languages: English, German, Italian. The Bibliotheca Hertziana is willing to cover the costs for both travel (economy class) and accommodation, in accordance with the provisions of the German Travel Expenses Act (Bundesreisekostengesetz).


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