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From: http://katmcmahon.wordpress.com/2011/04/04/stan-allan-mapping-the-unmappable/

Spatial Experimentations

Stan Allen: mapping the unmappable

Stan Allen’s “Mapping the unmappable on notation” addresses the important interconnectedness between the city and architecture. It further notates the architects role, procedures and methodology when constructing drawings, maps and plans of future projects and buildings. Throughout the essay the author makes comments on the changing roles of the importance of drawings within in the creative process. In the beginning of the design process the architect’s intentions are expressed through notated drawings, which ultimately act as the map to the design, and thus they hold all relevance. Allen states that drawings are “uniquely capable of producing something new from something else”. Thus, drawings mould the future architectural work. Despite this important point, drawings hold no relevance once the building is constructed, as the final material work trumps the construction drawings, plans and notations.

The main concept of the article is centrally based around the overall importance of notation, and how this acts as language in the architect’s world. The author ultimately states that drawings as themselves can’t represent everything- and hence notation is vital in order to address the unexpected and unpredictable in relation to the real and constructed work. Notation can address what drawings ultimately can’t through delivering the precise measurements and aspects of architecture. Drawings would not be complete without notations on materials, measurements and light aspects, and thus Stan Allen makes the point of how notation works as the architect’s language, especially seen on page 35 when he states that “notational language was developed in response rather to the need for participation of many hands in construction”. Allen divides the importance of architecture into separate points. He states that “notations always describe a work that is yet to be realised” meaning that notation promotes optimism and potentiality. “Notation goes beyond the invisible in order to engage the invisible aspects of architecture”, finding relationships amongst the various parts of the city. Thirdly, he addresses that “notation includes time as a variable” addressing the measurement of unfolding time. He lastly states that “notions presume a social context”, which help the designer map the complex and indeterminate theatre of everyday life.

The article also addresses the changing aspects of architecture, and how designers have to mould their works to the new city. Stan Allen juxtaposes the old and the new stating that “historically, architecture of the city embodied collective memory through a structure of finite definition…today the technologies of communication, information exchange and war…have produced a condition in which the urban site is not longer simply geographic”. This hence impacts the designer freedom as cities today are not separate in their entirety, and thus architects need to integrate their designs into the societal context and surrounding.
Allen thus addresses the changing nature of the roles of an architect throughout time.


Written by James Thomas

30/11/2011 at 12:42

Posted in Uncategorized

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