Architects and the creation of images

Ylva Dahlman


The objective of this article is to discuss the architects most basic working methodthe creating of imagesand the untapped, or at least not problematized, potential of knowledge therein. The main question is: What epistemological significance can be claimed for the activity of creating images? The point of departure is provided by the three questions: Why do we create images? What do we create images of? and What happens when we create images? The answers to these questions are illustrated by pedagogical examples from nine courses in various subjects and reflections emphasizing their relation to the architectural profession. The answer to the questions is twofold: enhanced ability to explore and develop new insight, and better communication. The process of sketching proceeds by stops and starts to create visualizations that may require moving beyond the expected. Sketching can exceed mere depiction, and become a way of developing new insight. When architects work to overcome their reluctance it can also be described as letting go of familiar categories. Architects constantly must communicate with colleagues, prospective clients, and other professionals. Proficient sketching can facilitate those discussions in many ways. Through sketching, architects are able to give shape to ideas still in the process of being thought out. In solving verbal problems by creating
images, architects call upon different domains of everyday experience in their quest for solutions. The conclusion is that drawing is a powerful method for problem solving and communication, which ought to be increase and refined.

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