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Criss, Shannon
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Stripping preconceptions and moving students into situations that sponsor heightened awareness is fundamental to the beginning architecture student. Believing that architectural experience is grounded in the tectonic language of building and the embodiment of materiality and form through our senses--students touch, remember, imagine, and measure a set of objects. By having students directly engage found objects through a series of drawing exercises, students experience themselves in the object and the object exists through their embodied experience. The object and the body supplement and define each other. The student dwells in the object and the object dwells in the student. By having students dim their sharpness of vision and gain a sense of unconscious peripheral vision, they gain the ability to both see the complexity of real form and space while also gaining an ability to imagine the intangible and abstract. This essay will explore the premise that thinking by drawing is the primary way that architects extend their understanding of architecture. It suggests that drawing and translating drawings into form is the architect's unique mode of inquiry and is the place for the student's most basic and crucial speculative endeavors. A collection of work developed by beginning architecture students will demonstrate this premise. Students' interpretations were both precise and particular while simultaneously being abstract and open-ended. This paper attempts to illustrate the repeated, slow and messy path to finding productive working space in the beginning design student. Ultimately, this processing is in pursuit of helping the student find their way towards an architecture that mediates experience fully engaged in the senses.
University of Kansas School of Architecture
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