‘Every Great Architect Is a Great Poet’: A Methodology for Ekphrasis in Studies of Architectural Design in Times of Quarantine and Isolation, and Beyond.

Putra, Yvette ORCID: 0000-0001-8219-1872 (2020) ‘Every Great Architect Is a Great Poet’: A Methodology for Ekphrasis in Studies of Architectural Design in Times of Quarantine and Isolation, and Beyond. In: Crisis and Resilience: Art and Design Looks Ahead, Australian Council of University Art & Design Schools conference, 5th, 12th, 19th & 26th November 2020, Sydney.

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The COVID-19 pandemic has necessitated quarantine and isolation. Such measures have shifted studies of architectural design to be delivered partly or wholly online, thus unsettling and recasting the distinct pedagogical interactions of the studio. Further, through the closure of cultural sites and repositories, architecture and architectural artefacts are practically inaccessible. This leads to two limitations, of which the first is that studio participants can only convey and critique ideas through descriptions, oral and written, and through on-screen representations that are, ultimately, reduced to two dimensions. In this way, an appreciation of certain qualities, such as the ambient and the haptic, is diminished. The second limitation is that students may no longer visit exemplars of architecture and architectural artefacts, which precludes a complete understanding of such precedents. This paper proposes ekphrasis as a method to alleviate the problems in teaching and learning architectural design during quarantine and isolation. Ekphrasis is defined as “[t]he literary representation of visual art”, and one of its first attestations in literature is in Homer’s Iliad (c. 8th century BCE). In architecture, Alberti, through his seminal work, De Re Aedificatoria (1452), engages in ekphrasis, because he circumvented the technological limitations of his time by not including any illustrations. This raises the intriguing notion that ekphrasis can negotiate the constraints of archaic technologies, as much as mitigate present-day experiences of digital ‘overload’, which are particularly acute during a lockdown. This paper puts forward a methodology for ekphrasis in studies of architectural design, by, first, reflecting on examples of architectural ekphrases, from literary and architectural standpoints; and, second, through discussing the applications of ekphrasis, to conceptualise and convey design, and to engage with architecture that is geographically remote. This paper recommends that ekphrasis is a powerful tool in the toolbox of architectural design pedagogy, even as face-to-face studios resume.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Subjects: N Fine Arts > NA Architecture
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Creative Arts
Research Priority Areas: Culture, Continuity, and Transformation
Depositing User: Yvette Putra
Date Deposited: 31 Jul 2023 10:10
Last Modified: 31 Aug 2023 09:22
URI: https://eprints.glos.ac.uk/id/eprint/12995

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