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New exhibition showcases impact of technology on architectural drawing
Outpost Office, Another Villa.

NEW YORK, NY.- A new exhibition at The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art explores how emerging design and production technologies impact the ways in which architects engage with traditional practices of architectural drawing and how rules inform the ways the built environment is documented, analyzed, represented, and designed. Presented by Cooper’s The Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture and the Digital Craft Lab at California College of the Arts (CCA), Drawing Codes: Experimental Protocols of Architectural Representation, Volume II, was curated by Andrew Kudless and Adam Marcus, both associate professors at CCA, and features 24 experimental drawings commissioned for the exhibition by firms such as Aranda\Lasch, Höweler + Yoon, and Outpost Office. Drawing Codes runs from January 22 through February 23 in the Arthur A. Houghton Jr. Gallery.

For the exhibition, the curators challenged invited architects to consider at least one prompt that expands on the notion of code as it relates to architectural design and representation. All were asked to conform to a set of strict rules: consistent dimension, black and white medium, and limiting the drawing to two-dimensions. Prompts considered code as generative constraint and how restrictions may instead open up new opportunities for design and representation, rather than hinder them; language and how drawing may engage with architectural classifications; cipher and how drawings might engage with latent meanings and hidden messages; and script and how drawing might explore open-ended processes without defined outcomes.

“This second volume of the show uses the same prompts as the first, and even though there are strict guidelines in the brief, we have found both considerable diversity and common qualities in the drawings,” says Andrew Kudless. “Even when there are constraints and guidelines, there are loopholes and variances that open up new potentials for architectural design and representation.”

The projects include “Double Agent Operations,” a drawing by Marc Fornes / THEVERYMANY that documents an autonomous agent-based scripting process for generating tectonic parts along doubly curved surfaces; “Gestural GPS,” by Heather Roberge / murmur, exploring how algorithmic processes can construct new forms of vision; and “Failure” by landscape architects Emma Mendel and Bradley Cantrell, which tests contingencies between risk and indeterminacy in representational processes.

“We have found through this work that computation and code-based processes are compelling lenses through which to understand the discipline of architecture today,” says Adam Marcus. “These tools now inform many aspects of architectural practice, and it’s a timely moment to step back and explore their impact on conventions of architectural representation.”

“In a discipline that has flourished for centuries by way of the visual medium, it is nothing less than a paradigmatic shift to de-center optics in lieu of a rule-based world view, where the visual is displaced in the first instance, but then radicalized in the second, a direct consequence of the very codes that induce organizational strategies,” says Nader Tehrani, Dean of The Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture. “If ‘code’ has become the new curricular foundation of every K-12 program, it is also a telling moment to interrogate architectural pedagogies through its very agency.”

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