Architecture in Three Inaccurate Descriptions
"The architect is always divorced from his medium."
'Julius II ordering Bramante, Michelangelo, and Raphael to build the Vatican and Saint Peters.'
It has been said that
the architect is divorced from his medium. This is true
insomuch that the architect is unsure of what their medium
actually is. And this can be understood as a consequence of a
fundamental misrecognition on their part. This misrecognition –
in the Bourdieusian sense – is the individual architects
inability to position themselves relative to the disciplinary
project of architecture itself, namely representation.
Architecture is a system of representation, this is its medium.
Because it is through images that architecture is communicated.
The image is the sin qua non of the building. And it follows
that architecture is not the building of buildings but the
imaging of images, which are then – and only then – translated
into built form. Architecture is an idea and not a thing, it is
the formalization – and eventual instrumentalization – of a way
of thinking. Building and construction are not the domain of
architecture but its consequence. And this thing that is the
consequence of the idea is not architecture, it is a building
and nothing more. In this way architecture can truly become a
means and not an end, a purely descriptive conceptually based
Architecture as a system of
representation is composed and communicated through its three
inaccurate descriptions– the diagram, rendering and
construction document. These descriptions are inaccurate
insofar that in and of themselves they are only able to
communicate a particular aspect, or limited range of
information, of the architecture project that their
representation is constituent of. And what is interesting to
note within each of these modalities is that they are each
keyed to a particular register. Each of these discrete images
can in turn, explain, instruct and seduce their appropriate
audience– respectively, fellow architects; the building and
construction trades; and potential clients. But it is only when
viewed relationally – and in accordance with their contingent
meaning – that the finely calibrated affects of these types of
images, as specific modes of address, can create the argument
and apologia for the existence of architecture itself.
The project of drcdservice.com is
to properly address and engage representation on its own terms.
Because these modes of operation - the diagram, the rendering and
the construction document - are taken as a given by standard
architectural praxis they can not be subject to any kind of self-
reflexive understanding. And in so far that there is no invested
interest in these images, in and of themselves, the architect is
disavowed of any critical consideration of what they are actually
doing - they can have no recourse towards criticality. By
beginning to come to a deeper understanding of these 'representations
as architecture' we can begin to explore the latent potentiality
and radical possibilities of these images in communicating novel
forms of architectural meaning. In this way we can begin to devise
strategies through which architecture, as a critical system of
representation, can begin to communicate something beyond its own
production to a sympathetic audience. And our truest hope is then in finding
a rapport between architecture and the world-at-large, in creating a new
relevance that will carry it forward...