No Simple Plan

Sarah Blahut (website)
Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc)
Master’s Thesis
Faculty: Volkan Alkanoglu (website)


This thesis investigates three dimensional qualities of two dimensional plan drawings that are based on techniques and operations that look beyond the default logic of extrusion. The use of color, layers, fabric, and texture as a canvas for these translations, give agency to the drawings and enhance an alternative reading that suggests the projection of these plans can become a malleable and generative design tool. In this project, the focus begins with the use of plans to demonstrate these qualities in digital and physical drawings, as they are a significant communication device within the discipline of architecture.

Through incorporating a series of representation and material techniques, this work speculates on the potentials of orthographic drawings in architecture that could trigger a new authenticity. These techniques begin to explore this notion in their representation through indexing depth with color, gradients and annotation, layering manipulated grids and blended geometric primitives, while combining these techniques with strategies of ruching (cinching and folding the canvas). The drawings and models produced are seeking to generate different kinds of legibility in their translations and geometric complexity (in three dimensional form), in contrast to a default process of architectural drawing and building representation.

Using strategies referenced in the design of Le Corbusier’s Villa Stein, this building and site provide a starting framework for this investigation based on layering information, proportion, and composition within the plans of the building. The new Villa that is produced, through different representation techniques developed in this thesis, is shown in contrast to more ‘traditionally’ drawn plans of Villa Stein. The Villa Stein plans become an embedded visual reference for a default logic of extrusion in drawing conventions while the new Villa plan drawing techniques intend to express different formal qualities within their logic and operation. The physical translation of these drawings into models help to show the means of extracting information into three dimensional form. These drawing and representation techniques borrow from a range of 2D to 3D strategies found in art, garment making, computer graphics, and mathematics, in addition to the rigor and precision that is found in architectural drawings. Plan drawing could now be capable of operating with an updated set of rules or logic from which architects can design and communicate information (spatial, formal, technical, ideological, etc.) that is commonly related to the design of a building orthographically.

These drawings take on a new agency, in pursuit of dynamic ways of communicating the design of a building and landscape. These techniques aim to establish different ways to explore possibilities in the notion of plan drawing projection, how information is embedded in its system of representation, and its capacity to generate and design form from this process.

One Comment on “No Simple Plan

Thomas Friddle
04/27/2015 at 12:31 am

I love this so much!

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