Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Project abstract

The activities and expected results of this research project will respectively address and improve the role of perspective in graphical representation of space. The main area of interest is architectural and urban design drawing, its education as well as its practice, to which we intend to bring a fresh contribution by means of a new didactical approach and an improved computational working tool.

A major concern of this team is the way drawing procedures are influential to spatial reasoning and to the decision-taking along design processes. Drawing, either manual or computational, while a means to turn explicit and visible the architects’ ideas and creations, is strongly sustained by the geometry science of representation. Perspective views, by depending on the viewer location towards the objects, express an identity of them that is variable by definition: their visual configuration. Here, the rules of the graphical representation system are directly challenged to match spatial visual perceptions. Yet, every representation is incomplete compared to the complexity of visual perception, so a set of graphical responses as diverse as possible is desirable to perform complementarily.

Linear perspective is a prevalent system, regarding the production of figurations that intend to simulate the direct visual appearance of things. But, despite its effectiveness, it remains basically a code, a set of conventional rules with several limitations. It cannot deal with large fields of view in which raised distortions will, at the limit, compromise the recognition of the represented objects. Alternative curvilinear systems – cylindrical and spherical perspectives – much less known and hardly used, can overcome this difficulty. These systems can graphically translate the result of a viewer’s sight in motion, conveying a sense of dynamic vision, although at the cost of bending the represented straight lines. The three systems - linear, cylindrical and spherical perspectives - despite being distinct theoretical builds do fulfill complementary roles, in terms of representational capabilities.

Architects’ drawing activities, nowadays, merge manual and computational procedures. Although being necessarily sustained on the geometry science, architects’ freehand drawings often escape from its theoretical corset, by hybridizing the representation systems or spontaneously disrespecting its graphical rules. Especially, the presence of graphic lines’ curving in many architects’ perspective sketches seems to suggest a tendency towards a flexible and dynamical visual thinking over the strict geometric rules of linear perspective, which would imperatively keep lines’ straightness. Computational drawing allows the interactive and dynamical manipulation of parameters that has so much improved the previewing and display of architectural concepts and proposals. Particularly, perspective visualization has been turned into an experimental and real-time interactive experience, where dynamical depictions also counterpoint and feedback the reasoning. But the appropriation of perspective science by current CAAD systems is restricted to linear perspective, dismissing alternatives that could enrich computational drawing.

Previous research work by members of the team, engaged on a critical review and a systemic approach to the issue of perspective, resulted in the formulation of a new representational system, called Extended Perspective System (EPS). It gathers the previous perspective systems in a unified theoretical build, stating them just as boundary states inside a broader dynamical system that contains an unlimited set of new in-between states. The result is a significant increase in the variety of perspectival figurations and, therefore, the enhancement of perspective capability to constitute a graphical response to direct spatial perception. The EPS concept is inherently appropriate to perform in a computational environment, since it is based mainly on the idea of a mutable and parametrical projection surface that is to be manipulated by the user, interactively and with real time feedback display of graphical results. The EPS implementation shall provide kinds of perspective representations that are more inclusive, by visually gathering more spatial information, thus expectedly helping on the conceptual cycles of analysis, evaluation and decision.

At this stage, we can suppose the EPS concept shall create a further involvement of geometry science with the plasticity of freehand drawing and sketching. As a key milestone to achieve, the computational implementation of the EPS will attain the specific tasks related to analysis, evaluation and concluding on the system repercussion in the practice and didactics of conceptual drawing. Strategically, this team is a diversified group of researchers, which knowledge and competences comprehend the areas of Drawing, Geometry, Architecture, Mathematics and Computation, as the objectives require an interdisciplinary approach and scope.

No comments:

Post a Comment