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ACSA Annual Conference - Paper Presentation

Added on by Seher Erdogan Ford.

"You Can Touch This: Temporality through Multi-sensory Architectural Representation"

The philosopher Karsten Harries notes that architects build against the “terror of time.” Jeremy Till, as an architect himself, confirms time as the common enemy for those who want total control over their design, and observes architects to be compelled in two directions: those who deny time and those who aim for timelessness. One way of dealing with time entails considering and representing the temporal scale during the design process. While typical modes of architectural representation yield “frozen” imagery—either by forcing a specific moment in history or by creating a veneer of “newness”—new media technologies offer possibilities for built work to appear on a continuum and to be understood in (the much dreaded) flux. Time no longer poses a threat for architectural production if the tools and methodologies for representing it are implemented. Going even further, the representation of historical artifacts, as projects that are no longer, can offer insights into projects that are yet to be. With that, the critical question arises: how do we draw time?

In response to this question, I focus on stone and masonry construction, which are typically considered timeless in material culture. Based on ideas dealing with the close relationship between drawing and making, I propose a method of analysis that can span the extended history of an artifact. To understand the possibilities of representing stone along the temporal scale, I look at historical, analog examples, and disucuss how digital environments may be better equipped to deliver the tangible and dynamic sense of time. As a specific case study of a building that demands a representation strategy blending the visual and tactile, I discuss a heritage site with a layered and complex history as truly understood through its materiality.