Question d’architecture: édifices

Practices of Drawing

If architecture is a cultural production, the architectural act is part of the history of its discipline and tools. This disciplinary position is at the heart of the specific pedagogical teaching practices at the architectural studio and the program in History & Theory at UCLouvain Loci Brussels:

– (de) composing and (re) composing remarkable architectural references identified in the contexts under study reveals architectural logics;

– (re) contextualizing historically and geographically the element studied and the composition of which it is part makes it possible to grasp its cultural specificity;

– constructing a repository for cultural production, in the field of architectural theory and criticism, makes it possible to situate the architectural act in a form both of typological continuity and of contemporary urgency.

More specifically, it is a question of interrogating each element according to three graphical tools, leading to a form of understanding of the building:

– geometrical projection produces a complete flattening of the studied object. It gives a pure objective understanding of the composition.

– axonometric projection produces a distance from the manipulated object. This particular point of view illustrates the materiality of the object in a deliberately partial way. The point of view it poses on the object is clearly interrogative about the composition and reveals its contemporaneity.

– collage produces an intimate relationship with the object. It extracts a singular quality which is raised to the rank of principle. It opens up a critical, even prospective understanding of the issues at stake. Each of these tools is part of a history of graphic narrative that is an integral part of the disciplinary specificity. This disciplinary statement produces a catalogue of strictly architectural qualities identified in the selected buildings. This production of knowledge can be mobilized in the act of composing architecture, operating in its contemporary condition.

Cécile Chanvillard & Christine Fontaine

Arrêts sur Image

The drawings shown here are the result of the production of students in their third bachelor year of training in architecture. In the pedagogy of freehand drawing developed at UCLouvain-LOCI, the subject of the drawing is always a present reality, from simple space to complex architectural space. Through the drawing, the student experiences the transposition of the concrete reality observed. Thus, the visual approach of the real world is transformed into a projective approach by the mental operation of representation. The hand, the eye and the spirit are at work together.

In the exercise from which the attached drawings are executed, we have moved the question. The student is invited to propose a representation of an architectural object from the ” stitching marks” that he constructs mentally by observing the environment of the actors of a film. It consists of working from 3 types of spaces: the pictorial space of the film or the image, the frame, the framing, the architectural space or the place, the environment of the shoot, the decoration or real space, the filmic space or virtual space constructed by the viewer.

The experience began with three emblematic films of the transformations of the traditional Indian society: The music room and The great city, by Satyajit Ray and Slumdog millionaire, by Danny Boyle and Loveleen Tandan. This experience was renewed with Alexander Sokurov’s Russian Arch, with a film that presents a unity of place and time. More recently the students worked on Kamila Andini’s Indonesian film The mirror never lies. For Europalia-Romania, we hereby present the drawings for Cristi Puiu’s movie Sieranevada.

The suggested methodology is to take quick graphic notes of fragments of spaces perceived behind the movement of actors in order to construct a global representation of the object. Thus, the successive layers of understanding are added together in a main synthesis drawing. From blur to precise drawing.

The drawings presented here are the result of this process. Drawing is not an end in itself, but a mean of expressing content that is constructed under the eyes of the observer.

Joëlle Houdé