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Dynamic digital representations in architecture : visions in motion
As I., Schodek D., Taylor & Francis, Inc., Bristol, PA, 2008. 200 pp. Type: Book (9780415426527)
Date Reviewed: Jun 29 2009

Representations of both built and proposed (unbuilt) artifacts and environments, as abstractions that reduce reality, have been critical in architecture since the Renaissance and are used as a vehicle of graphic communication (that is, as a common design language). In this domain, Euclidean projective geometry--plans, elevations, sections, and views--is traditionally used as a mediator between idea, design inspiration, and production. Traditional techniques of architectural representations are limited to abstract outlines, without the benefit of multimedia--image and motion--and the functionality of the artifact’s inherent meaning.

Nowadays, three-dimensional (3D) modeling and information and communication technologies (ICT) multimedia tools provide representations with new affordances that are available to accommodate not only Euclidean representations, but also a panoply of interpretations, communications, and design and knowledge generation in architecture and design, such as efficiency, control, intelligence, motion graphics, animation and fly-through, predicting design performance, algorithmic design, and digital design cognition.

In this book, As and Schodek demonstrate through the introduction of the concept of motion graphics how ICT, 3D modeling, and animation (video) increasingly influence design and communication issues in architecture, by introducing new dynamic forms of representation (dynamic digital representations) and design knowledge generation. This way, new dimensions of architecture become affordable, such as computer-aided design (CAD) programming (controlled modeling), temporal (4D modeling), experiential design generation (keyframing and animation techniques, in chapter 5), and morphogenetic design (biological living subjects).

As a practical and concise text about new architectural representation methods, this book shows that the dynamic digital representations do not simply offer the same architecture in a new dressing, but rather aim to recast computational design knowledge. Dynamic digital representations suggest new ways of thinking about and practicing the domain, allowing designers and architects to explore new concepts and ideas that were inaccessible or undocumented in the past. The proposed motion graphics representations have greater functionality because they support not only abstract outlines, but also living subjects and the control, intelligent manipulation, and placement within an existing context of a great spectrum of data, information (knowledge), relations, and meaning, inherent in many built or unbuilt artifacts and environments.

The basic theory of digital media, visual perception, art, animation, motion graphics, and digital film composing is presented and accompanied with many figures, color images, and real-world application examples (chapters 4 to 6), in order to enable the reader to understand the introduced open issues in architectural representation.

The book is divided into nine chapters that deal with three main topics: architectural representations (chapters 1 to 3); motion and movement in architecture (chapters 4 to 6); and ICT methodology and digital design tools for architectural representations and digital reconstructions of monuments and historical sites (chapters 7 to 9).

Excellent application examples with detailed descriptions, figures, and images are presented throughout the book, including the unbuilt Kocatepe Mosque in Ankara (Turkey), the cupola of the Florence Cathedral (Italy), and the acropolis of the Baalbek Roman site (Lebanon).

Finally, the book argues that, today, architecture can escape from the traditional visual conditioning and limitations of the projective geometry-based representations. Therefore, the most significant issue introduced and documented in this excellent book is this: in the near future, architectural representations will shift increasingly to 3D models and multimedia-based dynamic digital architectural representations. Hence, from the traditional projective means (projective geometry architecture--computer-aided architectural design (CAAD) tools for just visualizing design aspirations), the issue will be transferred to generative and knowledge means of architecture (design cognition architecture--computationally intelligent tools for generating forms, modeling, and design-inspirational communications).

This advanced book is for academics, (postgraduate) students, architects, and designers who are interested in (dynamic) digital representations and digital design forms and model generations. It is also appropriate for readers interested in appraising the limitless innovations of digital technologies and 3D modeling, not only for communicating architectural information, but also for design, thinking, study, and evaluation (design performance).

Reviewer:  Athanasios D. Styliadis Review #: CR137027 (1006-0573)
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