Reading the section

In document Diagramming_the_Big_Idea_Methods_for_Architectural_Composition.pdf (Page 147-151)

Diagram 18·1: Plan drawing of quadrant two shows alignments of added elements including enclosure, half-walls and fields.

Figure 18: Plan drawing of subject quadrant shows mea-suring lines and path as toned field (18·1).

West and south section drawings of the subject quadrant show key measuring lines (18·2&3).

Diagram 18·2: West section of quadrant two.

  

As an extension of our ongoing discussion of gestalt, it is appropriate to point out that studying and working from these drawings forms an appropri-ate object lesson in visual balance across the axis of the ground plane. As most sites are not flat planes, the visual proportions continue as implied propor-tions through the ground, and manipulapropor-tions of level using our field addipropor-tions allow us to bring this aspect into our design fiction.

Turning the grid

To make the concept of section clearer, we examine two sections drawn for each quadrant to isolate and refine the vertical and spatial elements in each.

We orient each section pair from directions facing the center of the four quad-rant composition – one from north or south, the other from east or west, depending on the quadrant’s location. This places focus on the individual figure but permits comparison to the whole. Heavier lines mark all visible planes and black poché defines the section cut. We also frame the drawings in a bounding rectangle and overlay the drawings with bounding lines and center axes

The resulting diagrams should reveal proportional relationships between the figure, its constituent parts, the half-walls and the shallow relief of the quadrant. The drawings should also highlight the formal hierarchy of the composition.

Coherent hierarchy is a quality found in pattern. The section pattern should relate to that of the plan. Therefore a successful drawing will capture the spa-tial hierarchy and proportional relationships, as well as demonstrate axial sequence in section. The result should reveal design intent with visual clarity.

It should be obvious.

Reading the section

The sections to the left demonstrate the result of design thinking applied in three dimensions. Order that began in plan now extends across all three axes.

This is the role of any architecture worthy of the name. Even in a simple sche-matic construction, such as our quadrant models, it is possible to observe coherent form. The fiction of the fields applied to the site reflects principles Diagram 18·3: South section drawing of quadrant two.


Figure 19: Isometric showing the section cut through the quadrant to reveal Diagram 18·2.

and decisions that sponsor articulated organization throughout the small con-structed figure placed within.

The overlapping gray fields of the plan diagrams have their counterpart in the sections (·–). The exact disposition of the field elements in section is neither automatic nor formulaic. Instead, the designer’s task is to search for a solution in section that seems related to the general visual balance of the orig-inal diagrammatic drawing. The conclusion reflects judgment and intent.

In the plan diagram, we can generalize the fields simply. The grain field divides the composition into two equal parts. The path field crosses the site and grain field as a narrow shape near the center. The responding field descends from the path halfway to the site perimeter.

In the plan, we note that wall and half-wall elements now further articulate this arrangement (·). The boundary and axis lines of the earlier iteration propose the placement and dimension of these additions. The most notice-able changes begin with the addition of a second cross-grain wall that mir-rors the first. From this, openings follow that allow the path to cross the now defined interior space. The east-west axis sponsors a crossing interior wall while the north-south axis defines both one of its boundaries and the inner-most opening.

The combined axis and boundary points of these figural elements extend orthographically, providing alignments and measure for half-walls within the field. The half-walls reflect the figure’s vertical planes as they define exterior space, their placement in keeping with surrounding surface topography – that is, the articulated fields.

Whereas the diagrams map these relationships on a flat plane, isomet-ric section drawings illustrate them in a volumetisomet-ric context. This important idea often eludes designers as they turn from orthographic drawing to three-dimensional models. Beyond its practical use as a design drawing, viewed as a diagram, section becomes part of a narrative. It pictures the open and closed spaces of experience. It can walk us through a project, showing us both where we go and what surrounds us.

Up to now  has been a little abstract. When we view it as a conceptual path that crosses through multiple sections, we also begin to test for the real-ity of a unified composition shared by all four quadrants. Six sections cut from

Figure 20: Isometric view of quadrant two showing the section cut repre-sented by Diagram of 18·1.

Figure 21: Isometric showing the section cut through the quadrant to reveal Diagram 18·3.

Figure 22: Composite isometric view of quadrant two with both section eleva-tions intersecting plan.


Figure 23: Six sections cut parallel to the east-west axis and moving south to north demonstrate the combined results of articulating the bounding geometries of each quadrant.

Arrows illustrate an interpretation of each encounter as it relates to the visible along the central axis. The gray surfaces identify relevant interior planes, black areas indicate sectioned poché.

Section 23·1: The first section in the sequence shows the initial spatial relationship between opposing figures in quadrants three and four. Note that the figure in quadrant one functions as a backdrop for the figure to the left of the centerline.

Section 23·2: Moving the section further north, the open and closed relationship reverses for the two figures.

Note also the bracketed exterior spaces formed by the half-walls in quadrant three and the overhead featured in quadrant four.

Section 23·3: Deeper into the site, quadrant three’s figure opens to allows passage through itself and quadrant four’s overhead extension. At this point the composition opens completely to its edges.

  

east to west () have a narrative purpose. They record a sequence of spatial hierarchy encountered along the north-south center axis. The arrows and lines call out the extent of the active space encountered along the centerline when traversing the quadrants. Two additional images provide other views of sec-tion ·. The isometric diagram illustrates the forms shown within secsec-tion.

The plan view provides the context of the entire composition.

Drawn sections are formal diagrams. Given the complexity of the overall arrangement, drawing more would capture a more complete spatial narra-tive. Additional arrows would show the constitution of other defined spaces – behind and in front of the figures. Moreover, another sequence might traverse the cross-axis to encounter the quadrants and figures at ninety degrees to this sequence.

However, the purpose is not to generate infinite section drawings. The intent is to identify what a section reveals and to observe the model more completely with that knowledge. Looking at a model of all four quadrants


Section 23·4: The section through the figure in quadrant one shows its continuous visual link across quadrant two, and bypassing its figure. The visible half-walls subdivide the transi-tion space.

Section 23·5: The figure in quadrant two has a command-ing view as well. Along its continuum, vertical elements and the fields modulate the visual path.

Below, an isometric view of the same section – left – and a simplified plan – both showing the path arrow in context.

Section 23·6: The final section in the sequence identifies the space defined by exterior half-walls in quadrants one and two.

A similar condition defines a forecourt for quadrant two’s figure on the right.


  

together should prompt analysis and critique. This prompts yet another set of drawings and a final model for the exercise.

In document Diagramming_the_Big_Idea_Methods_for_Architectural_Composition.pdf (Page 147-151)