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How are current contributions to theoretical design discourse advancing our ways of thinking about our professions?

THE PLAN JOURNAL LOOKS AT THEORY

How are current contributions to theoretical design discourse advancing our ways of thinking about our professions?
By Editorial Staff -

We are presenting some compelling concepts from The Plan Journal’s section on Theory. In the first contribution “The Act and Art of Architectural Critique: A Drawing, a House, and a Sign,” the author Andreea Mihalache examines “Saul Steinberg’s drawing “Doubling Up” (1946), the Splitnik (the American model-house showcased at the American Exhibition in Moscow, 1959), and Robert Venturi’s sign for the Grand’s Restaurant (Philadelphia, 1961-1962).” In the second contribution “Building Portraits,” the author Elena Manferdini shares a collection that “plays with the graphic potentials of woven grids and scripted vector lines, while exploring the canonical relationships of shape vs form, ground vs figure, pattern vs coloration, orientation vs posture.” In the third contribution “Digital Line: Architecture’s Expanding Thread,” the author Johan Voordouw argues that “the line remains critical to architecture.”

Finally, we share some thoughts about Without Content.

>> We encourage you to browse The Plan Journal and explore for yourself.

 

Thinking about Theory

In the essay “The Act and Art of Architectural Critique: A Drawing, a House, and a Sign,” the author Andreea Mihalache explains that Venturi’s Grand’s restaurant sign: 

“on the façade does unify the two parts of the building while being itself cut in two by the oversized cup, which, in turn, marks the original dividing bearing wall (rather than the entrance), thus completing the story where it started.”

 Andreea Mihalache, Robert Venturi’s Grand’s Restaurant (1961-1962). © The Architectural Archives, University of Pennsylvania by the gift of Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown.Andreea Mihalache, Robert Venturi’s Grand’s Restaurant (1961-1962). © The Architectural Archives, University of Pennsylvania by the gift of Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown.

 

Mihalache suggests that “Venturi’s rhetoric” … “argues for a type of architectural narrative that leaves the story open to interpretations the same way the punch-line in a well crafted joke reshuffles, at the very end, the anticipated meanings of the story.” 

 >> The essay is available in THE PLAN Journal vol. 2/2017, no. 1 (in English)

 

In the article “Building Portraits,” the author Elena Manferdini explains:

“The building facade is attached to a blank parking structure serving the newly constructed Hermitage housing project in the city of Saint Petersburg. Interestingly, parking facades are designed to a necessary degree: their appearance is often straightforward, earnest, and most important of all, non-exclusive. They are underestimated as anonymous. Nevertheless they also own a strong identity that inadvertently imposes itself.” 

 Elena Manferdini, Hermitage Façade Drawing. Visualization of ongoing Façade for the Hermitage Garage in Saint Petersburg Florida 2016. Courtesy of © the Author.Elena Manferdini, Hermitage Façade Drawing. Visualization of ongoing Façade for the Hermitage Garage in Saint Petersburg Florida 2016. Courtesy of © the Author. 

 

Manferdini continues: 

“The applied facade will introduce a new and contemporary sensibility to the structure through graphic, colors and shallow depth. Simultaneously, it will give a sense of human inhabitation to the parking garage.”

>> The article is available in THE PLAN Journal vol. 1/2016, no. 1 (in English)

 

In the essay “Digital Line: Architecture’s Expanding Thread,” the author Johan Voordouw writes:

“The contemporary architectural line, however, now falls within a larger tool kit in developing architectural ideas. From the digital and topological turn we start with the lines from models, and its importance in developing lines in space.”

 Johan Voordouw, the extensive set of cross sections for the Yokohama Ferry Terminal, 2000. Diazotype, 59x42 cm. © Farshid Moussavi and Alejandro Zaera-Polo. ARCH272478.417. Foreign Office Architects fonds, Canadian Centre for Architecture. Gift of Farshid Moussavi and Alejandro Zaera-Polo.Johan Voordouw, the extensive set of cross sections for the Yokohama Ferry Terminal, 2000. Diazotype, 59x42 cm. © Farshid Moussavi and Alejandro Zaera-Polo. ARCH272478.417. Foreign Office Architects fonds, Canadian Centre for Architecture. Gift of Farshid Moussavi and Alejandro Zaera-Polo.

 

Voordouw explains: 

“The etymology of the word “model” comes from the late sixteenth century, and means a set of plans for a building, from the French modelle, and the Italian modello. From modello it links further back to the Latin word modulus as a unit of length or “to measure.” At the origins of line and model we find an inversion. The digital line as “thread” is actualized as a figure in space, and the model as modulus collapses as a length of measure. It is from this reversal that we explore the interrelated histories of the architectural line in space.”

>> The abstract is available in THE PLAN Journal vol. 4/2019, no. 1 (in English)

 

Without Content

In the text Without Content (2021) the author, architect Kersten Geers has composed a collection of essays that cover a divergent array of architects throughout history, from Donato Bramante to Robert Venturi, in a theory of architecture.

Without Content

Format: Paperback | 144 pages
Dimensions: 145 x 215 x 15.24mm | 230g
Publication Date: 20 Jul 2021
Publisher: Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther Konig
Publication Country: Germany
Language: English
Illustrations:
ISBN10 3960988877
ISBN13 9783960988878

To learn more, check out: Without Content

 

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The Plan Journal i
s intended to disseminate and promote innovative, thought-provoking, and relevant research, studies, and criticism related to architecture and urbanism. The journal grew out of an awareness that academia is all too often engaged in research that’s disconnected from the real-world challenges that face different professions, and that research is only possible for a small number of professional organizations, and, even then, with limited platforms for its dissemination. The overarching aim of TPJ is therefore to enrich the dialogue between researchers and professionals so as to foster both pertinent new knowledge and intellectually driven modes of practice.

 

How does it work + why does it matter?
Prospective contributors are encouraged to submit proposals or complete manuscripts to the Editor-in-Chief. Subject to positive feedback, proposals can then be developed into complete manuscripts and submitted for review, using the dedicated portal on the TPJ website. 

After preliminary approval, manuscripts will be forwarded to suitably qualified people for commenting. TPJ is committed to following a rigorous double-blind peer review process using at least two reviewers. The Editor-in-Chief may also occasionally invite recognized academics, critics, or professionals (including members of the editorial board) to contribute to the journal without going through the peer review process, if warranted by the author’s reputation.

 

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