Communication Within Architectural Projects – Questions of Utopia

This study analyses the communication processes of architectural projects – that is, image as a key element and direct expression of thought as form. Buildings are the synthesis and product of thought represented through symbolic forms, which in most cases recall images, thus they materialize what lives in the imagination. This research questions the aesthetic concepts that often treat the communication aspect of the project as merely a kind of beautification, decoration or packaging of the final constructed product.
The first part will study the rules of representation and its crisis. Here, the planning process will be analyzed, where the artifact - intended as image and produced form - is conditioned by technology. The research will focus on the significant role of tecnoscienza and how this influences invention and creation, often neglecting aspects of the mental process of the planning stage.
The second part of the paper deals with the discourse of reality, which nowadays could be considered digital, simplifying virtual reality, or as Deleuze states – an extension of everything that is real. Even though it is hard to imagine a virtual architecture in terms of construction, architects use virtual technology as a tool for the creation of projects, and hence virtuality becomes a sort of extension through which architects view atrophic reality.
The final part of the research attempts to illustrate an experimental scene, where the image of architecture and architecture of image are confronted through a process of analysis and elaboration using different tools of representation - digital, traditional and hybrid – in order to demonstrate that whoever deals with the communication aspect of an architectural project is the“director” of a complex process. The project will show examples of architecture, in particular Yona Friedman’s project for the Ville spatiale, which only exist in the virtual realm of imagination.

project description

The idea of realizing a utopia, in other terms, of trying to locate utopia and give it life, from Friedman’s book Utopies réalisables, 1974, according to which utopia is a place where it is possible to fully offer the distance between the project of one desired reality and its production, between desire and satisfaction. Yona Friedman, courtesy the artist

The elaboration of Ville spatiale applied onto the city of Venice, which Friedman have been working on for over fifty years, and which proposed as the theme of a workshop held in Venice in 2009, form the basis of this research project developed from Friedman’s sketches, images and models.

The research aim is to rebuild and animate the virtual model using 3D software. At this moment, the initial sketch will be compared with the virtual model in an attempt to represent the passage from idea to realization, via animation.

In 1958 Friedman stated that the Spatial City (Ville spatiale) is not a frozen form, but rather, in his drawings and models, is an instant image, which extends from a long and indeterminate process. Impressed by his discovery of the enormous potentiality of presenting the idea of Spatial City through video, the final part of the project will be presented in the form of a video. A montage of the virtual model and the video representing reality will create what Deleuze calls crystal-image, that is, the indivisible unity of the virtual image and the actual image.

The video explaining the project is divided in two parts. The first section shows the evolution of an idea toward an in situ project (footage along Ponte della Libertà), where the video is slowed down, thus images are captured in slow motion.

framing study

If imagination is something unperceived by the human eye, something that exists solely in our minds, a reproduction in slow motion shows us things that are hidden. The same thing occurs while looking at the visual spectrum in which our eyes are limited between infrared and ultraviolet. According to Ammar Eloueini, who considers this space as a sort of virtual space - a kind of prosthesis - which once applied may permit us to see what was previously unperceived. By seeing images again in slow motion, where one second can be extended over ten or fifteen minutes, the missing frames (skipped by the human eye) may also be considered as virtual spaces. In the second part of video, two different types of framing - one panoramic and another static – show the object inserted into the real situation, accompanied with the actual background sound and surroundings. Thus, hypothetically, utopia may take form and come to life.