From the early Renaissance—from Leon Battista Alberti—to Le Corbusier and the Bauhaus to today’s computer modeling, architects have perennially struggled with the problem of conceiving and executing 3-D structures using predominantly 2-D instruments. Drawings, prints, books, photographs, even paintings have figured among the architect’s most readily used tools. Despite the fact that three-dimensional models (in wood, clay, cardboard, and even turnips) added a corrective to such surface-based instruments, they nevertheless introduced one more layer of borrowed design strategies from yet another “foreign” artistic practice, sculpture, that itself had a vexed relationship with the plane (for example, drawing). In addition, both groups of tools translated architecture into materials (paper, canvas and paint, clay, etc.) that were not those in which it would be ultimately produced.
Yet tools are not transparent devices invisibly and seamlessly connecting the mind with the finished product, but leave significant residues. The object of this book-length project then is to inquire into the consequences of these alternate practices and materials that are inserted between the design of architecture and its production as a full-scale construct. What gestures, prejudices, strategies, distortions surreptitiously invade/contaminate architecture—its making and its reception? Among the many infiltrations from a variety of media, this book proposes to interrogate primarily the consequences of the two-dimensional biases, those that distort architecture’s nature most, starting from Renaissance drawings to photography and computer modeling.