Representation is Destiny

As 2017 year comes to a close, the AHBE LAB contributors are taking time to look back at our year’s worth of posts. We are each identifying the most memorable post and sharing what we found interesting, informative, and inspiring. Enjoy the flashback, and let us know which post you thought was most memorable.

Photos by Jennifer Zell

One of my favorite AHBE Lab bloggers is Yiran Wang. Her posts tends to weave together a thesis out of seemingly disparate elements, causing the reader to reevaluate ideas about a subject. Her posts, The Magic of an Isometric Perspective, is particularly memorable. She essentially claims isometric representations – as diverse as traditional Chinese paintings and the obsessively detailed drawings of Architecture Drawing Studio – determine how cities get built.

In a post by Gary Lai titled, Signs from the Beginning, a similar theme is explored, one where representation isn’t the spatial and physical destiny of the city, but becomes the vehicle of his professional destiny. In the process of telling his story of building a model in high school for a design competition, he discovered his professional destiny—sustainability.

Both of these Lab posts reminded me of a model I made in graduate school. In building the model, I was trying to discover how to make something that did not represent the landscape as a surface, but as a whole. Something that could not be viewed from one perspective, but needed to be picked up by hand and studied from multiple angles to be understood.

My grad school model was more interesting in its ambition than execution, but it shares a theme with both Yiran and Gary’s blog posts. As designers, how we represent places, buildings, and landscapes express our world-view, and in-turn the built environment.

The original posts here: The Magic of an Isometric Perspective and Signs from the Beginning