Pitcrit – Alternative Representations


Alternative Representations

Documenting architecture is a seemingly impossible task. While the physical building provides the most direct representation of architecture, other methods such as drawings and text deserve much credit in transmitting architectural knowledge. From the treatise of Vitruvius, the drawings by Piranesi, and the manifestos of the 20th century architects, the medium of architectural thought has adopted various forms. As our palette of possible medium continues to expand with the increasing use of animation, virtual reality, and robots (drones) , we are in a very privileged environment in expressing and manifesting our ideas.

As a platform to document architecture, Pitcrit faces a constant challenge in selecting the appropriate medium of representation as it is such a sensitive and specific issue to each project. Yet, to provide a certain level of objectivity in displaying the diverse body of work, it is inevitable to adopt a specific format despite its given biases. Ideally, the format of images and text should not have any limitation to the ideas of the projects it serves; it is meant to be a transparent medium. The most prevalent mode of representation has been visual, exemplified by orthographic drawings such as plans/sections, perspectival compositions, and physical models. This ‘conventional’ display of images with text work for most projects. But there are projects that demand alternative representations.

The following projects challenge this conventional method of depicting architecture. The scope of these projects exceeds the range in which the image with text format can contain. Since the main idea behind these projects is the larger narrative built around the architectural proposal, a representation of these projects can only paint a fragment of the work even if it chooses to fully document the built form. Eventually, the beauty of these projects lies in the alternative methods of representation the authors chose to capture the essence of their work. The selected projects question the methods of representing architecture since all methods are limiting in showing glimpses of the entirety of an idea. Perhaps this is why Mark Wigley describes architects as storytellers of buildings, empowered with the responsibility of telling multiple stories.1)

1)”Story-Time” Mark Wigley Assemblage No. 27, Tulane Papers: The Politics of Contemporary Architectural Discourse (Aug., 1995), pp.80-94

Invented but True
Trudy Watt (website)
Princeton University School of Architecture
Thesis Project
Faculty: Mario Gandlesonas (website), Elizabeth Diller (website)

Feral City
Seth Barnard (website)
The Cooper Union
Undergraduate Thesis
Faculty: David Turnbull (website), Anthony Vidler (website), Hayley Eber (website)

An Atmosphere Excavated
John Becker (website)
Columbia University GSAPP
Advanced Studio
Faculty: Geoff Manaugh (BLDGBLOG) (website)

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