Rudimentary architecture: Photo-graphic design methods

Examensarbete för masterexamen
Architecture and urban design (MPARC), MSc
Kristinsdottir, Anna
PHOTO–GRAPHIC DESIGN METHODS This thesis explores artistic and technological overlaps between architecture, photography, and graphic design. It uses techniques from all three fields as a way to both analyze an existing building stock and develop a particular design process that draws from this analysis. The aim is to enrich architecture with ways of looking and of documenting as well as with particular design sensibilities that take cues from photography and graphic design. My interest in this topic is influenced by a trajectory of work that straddles these fields and by my professional background as a photographer and graphic designer. Graphic design, photography and architecture have a lot in common and create synergies when they overlap in a supporting symbiosis with each other. As architect and theorist Jesús Vassallo recently has noted, architecture and photography share an interest in certain compositional and representational traits, including typology, frontality, and realism. This is evidenced in the work of photographers such as Philip Schaerer or Bernd and Hilla Becher, and in the work of architects such as MOS or De Vylder Vinck Taillieu. Spanning both documentation and speculation, the thesis develops through observing, representing, cataloging, and designing. The thesis begins with a study of the architecture of Ringön, an old district in the former industrial harbor of Gothenburg. The buildings of Ringön have for a century developed a clear graphic sensibility due to the use of colorful industrial materials such as corrugated sheet metal in different profiles and scales. Analyzing Ringön’s anonymous but expressive architecture is akin to discovering and conceptualizing the undesigned - defining and framing symmetries and playful compositions in the expression of the buildings created by accident in the pursuit of optimal functionality. By making observations in this district, I use the collected catalog to define the ingredients that make up Ringön’s character. The character of a place can, in terminology gleaned from graphic design, be translated into a graphic identity or design manual which becomes a framework and a compacted overview of core elements. This manual is used as a design guide through the project. The purpose of the collected observations is to develop a speculative design project based on the catalog of features and techniques, placed on a vacant site in the heart of Ringön. The design project aims to be a building proposal where the character will be in conversation with Ringön’s existing spirit and the intent is to use previously used methods to translate and extend the discoveries and findings I have gathered along the way.
Photography , Graphic methods , Character
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