Abstract

Through referencing ethnographic research among university architecture students, this paper reflects on practices of sense-making that bridge digital and material media (including bodies). Our discussion follows students and instructors as they develop designs that are analytically feasible or “true” in digital environments (i.e. in various rendering and modeling software such as AutoCAD and Rhino), only to be confronted with incongruities of material resistance and problems of embodied skill (or lack thereof) when the design enters the “real” world. The paper explores the sense- making, socio-material aspects of design-based activity, considering how the digital and the analog may be puzzled over before being more or less reconciled in final material objects (physical prototypes and models, drawings, a structure). As various moments of design happen, we note how actors (instructors, students, shop technicians, and building and model-making materials) punctuate and discursively shape the trajectory of sense-making, highlighting the extent to which translation from one form of design media to another (and back again) is much more than a question of technical competency.

Keywords:

architecture education; digital to analog; ethnography of design; multimodality

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License

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Jun 25th, 12:00 AM

Digital, Analog, Discursive: knowledge practices and sense-making in design-build architecture

Through referencing ethnographic research among university architecture students, this paper reflects on practices of sense-making that bridge digital and material media (including bodies). Our discussion follows students and instructors as they develop designs that are analytically feasible or “true” in digital environments (i.e. in various rendering and modeling software such as AutoCAD and Rhino), only to be confronted with incongruities of material resistance and problems of embodied skill (or lack thereof) when the design enters the “real” world. The paper explores the sense- making, socio-material aspects of design-based activity, considering how the digital and the analog may be puzzled over before being more or less reconciled in final material objects (physical prototypes and models, drawings, a structure). As various moments of design happen, we note how actors (instructors, students, shop technicians, and building and model-making materials) punctuate and discursively shape the trajectory of sense-making, highlighting the extent to which translation from one form of design media to another (and back again) is much more than a question of technical competency.

 

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