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Paul Emmons

Lecture at the Welsh School of Architecture

Date: 18th November
Time: 6pm
Location: Birt Acres Lecture Theatre, Bute Building

The Mirror of Design:
Embodied Imagination in Architectural Drawing Practices

Inscribing a mark, the architect vivifies a drawing surface in order to divine in its depths the conception of a future edifice. Drawing, as a mirror of design, is itself a fertile wellspring of ideas that emerge from within the effort of drafting. The current dominant rationalist approach to drawing overlooks its double act of embodiment; which includes both the drafter’s visceral engagement with a drawing under construction as well as the imagined bodily projection of inhabiting a future building. Hand drawing practices developed to make palpable this imaginative bodily connection. Three elements of manual architectural drawing exemplify this condition: dashed lines, scale measures and material symbols. Rationalist approaches treat architectural marks as conventional symbols, while embodied approaches reveal the process of vestiture as a material practice. Now that we are at the close of the era of hand drawing, it is critically important to engage these significant aspects of manual drafting in the development of future electronic representational modes.

Paul Emmons is a registered architect and an Associate Professor of Architecture at the Washington-Alexandria Center of Virginia Tech where he directs the Ph.D. program in Architecture and Design. He received a Ph.D. in Architectural Theory from the University of Pennsylvania and a Masters of Architecture from the University of Minnesota. Dr. Emmons lectures and writes on design and representation.