Reframing Representation

Architects, unlike most artists and sculptors, rarely get to work directly on their buildings. The design and creation of architecture is typically mediated through the representation that is used to describe and instruct. Drawings and models, the methods of representation most commonly used by architects are not neutral transmitters of fact; rather they form an opaque media with their own conventions, possibilities and limitations. Students, theoreticians and architectural practitioners draw and model their work in order to better understand and develop it but also to describe, convince or cajole. Drawings and models, films and photos are not merely technical facilitators of the process of design; they undoubtedly help shape the results.

The aim of this session is to explore the implications of architectural representation in both the development and dissemination of architectural ideas- built and theoretical. Representational tools are an obvious necessity in explaining the implications of design decisions to clients and the public before construction. As such, drawings and other forms of representation can play an important social role in either including or excluding people from genuine engagement. How can architects effectively communicate with a public largely untrained in conventional representation?

With the rapid expansion of digital dissemination, drawings, photos and models have overtaken buildings as the primary ‘artefact’ in architectural discourse. Iconic architectural drawings such as those by Van Doesburg, Hadid and Superstudio have played a powerful role in the trajectory of architectural design. How may new forms of digital media and the expanding consumption of the drawn artefact affect architectural development and debate?

Session chair: Miriam Delaney, Dublin Institute of Technology, miriam.delaney[at]

Call for Papers