RISD architecture / seminar / spring 2011
working drawings: the poetics of translation
This course is designed to explore the act of drawing as a means of inquiry and as a means of communication, as used particularly by the architect in practice and profession. The course takes as its object of study the Construction Document, considering its production through a theoretical, practical, poetic and ultimately critical lens.
CD’s, the documents that initiate architectural production for the majority of construction projects in this country, have gone through a change in nomenclature from “working drawings” to ”construction documents” to finally “contract documents” reflecting the changing nature of the profession and the architect’s role in the building process. The class will examine the architect’s relationship to drawing as a working process as well as a means of communication and verification. The class will be taught as a seminar with a studio component. Students will read texts on the theory of drawing, and will complete an initial experimental exercise in drawing to explore the nature of working-through-drawing. They will then learn the conventions and methodology behind professional contract documents, including specifications. They will meet professionals in the field and review drawing sets and standard practice. They will be exposed to current trends in computer-aided design, including the transition to Building Information Modeling, and these trends’ impact on the production and documentation process. Their final project will be a complete set of “working drawings” that offer both an example and a critique of the professional practice standard.