The First Year Architecture Program at Auburn University focuses on the practice of the visual communication of architectural ideas or the art of defining, describing, presenting, representing and re-representing. These objectives are met through the implementation of a year-long Visual Communications course sequence embedded within the architectural design studio and recognizes foundation level design students not only need to understand principles of architectural design but also must understand fundamentally how to communicate those ideas.
This paper seeks to discuss a pedagogy predicated on the understanding that effective communication of architectural ideas is firmly embedded in the design of the representational artifact and not only in the act of architectural design. The primary goal of the course sequence is to foster a learning process where both strains of design (representation and artifact) are intertwined and constantly and consistently evolving.
Presented in this paper is an in-depth look at one project, the anamorphic projection and its representational artifact: the composite unfolded plan and elevation drawing. This assignment is the first assignment in the foundation level unit. this drawing relies on the complexity of the orthographic representation of an anamorphic projection to convey simple principles of orthographic projections.
In such a complex and ambitious project, the students naturally must learn the essential skills of architectural representation: orthographic and freehand drawing, research methods and resources and studio materials and methods. In addition to these fundamental design skills, though this project we seek to invest in the students a higher understanding of these fundamental principles that often cannot be delivered directly, but must be approached in an indirect yet persistent manner. These collateral ideals include both the habits of mind—curiosity, fluid and critical thinking—and the habits of work—reliance on colleagues for an emergent ecology of production, initiative and self-reliance, organized persistence, and work done daily. In other words, explicit, direct instruction about a subject is not the same as the application of ideas during real, problematic situations. This intersection between knowledge and know-how implies an embodiment of knowledge and demands a hands-on approach to learning.