Well, isn’t an architect just an art school online pokie machines drop-out with a tilty desk, and a big ruler?
via Arch Daily
This fantastic scholarly paper by Schawn Jasmann on The Info Tech Revolution In Architecture deftly juggles so many of the quasi-douchebag critical theory notions that are important to the research I’m doing for my book project… Here he is talking about some of the post-Char Davies possibilities for rendering architecture designs as multi-sensory synesthetic experiences:
Using the film as an exemplar, one could illustrate a further line of inquiry into the language/experience relation. This relation is frequently a source of tension within designers’ understandings and definitions of the manufacture of architecture today. However, the film as a cinematic experience is referred to not so much to illustrate that the experience of silently watching is superior to a linguistically-based interpretive moment. Rather, the film itself contains revelatory material that recruits both the viewer’s sensorial and linguistic modes of reception. Hence, the film is a dialogue of sorts between its own ideas (rendered as a set of fluid narrative encounters) and its own experientially-derived moments. That is, the moments that show viewers properties of the flesh-world, of architectural properties such as form, space, and light, and the transformation between these as a parallel to our own linguistic-experience dialogic encounter with the world of things.
It is important to notice that the analytique as graphic analysis of details had its development in a period when architects did not have to prepare working drawings showing the construction of the details. The drawings carried few if any details and dimensions
Sourced from web pages created by R. Mellin, McGill University
The role of detail as a minimal unit in the process of signifcation
Seems to me there”s some sort of meta-critique that can be made (or perhaps has already been made) regarding what Norman observes about attractive things being functionally superior to ugly things, and the conflicting idea in some UX circles that intentionally ugly deliverables might “work better” than high-fidelity comps and prototypes for representing and conveying foundational and structural design intention to our clients.
There”s a prima facie problem with the notion that abstract, simplified, aesthetically-neutral deliverables might be better at conveying design intent and getting durable client approval on specific, complex structural and navigational ideas. Especially if your understanding of Don Norman”s work is that he”s saying attractive things always work better than ugly things. This oversimplified reading of Norman would seem to necessarily stand as an indictment of the traditional approach to IA design, as much of the simplification and abstraction in IA design deliverables is attained by subtraction of visual design elements that correlate with attractive-ness. But hold-up:
[the] pleasure derivable from the appearance or functioning of the tool increases positive affect, broadening the creativity and increasing the tolerance for minor difficulties and blockages. Minor problems in the design are overlooked. The changes in processing style released by positive affect aids in creative problem solving that is apt to overcome both difficulties encountered in the activity as well as those created by the interface design. In other words, when we feel good, we overlook design faults. Use a pleasing design, one that looks good and feels, well, sexy, and the behavior seems to go along more smoothly, more easily, and better. Attractive things work better
In my IA class at UM SI, I talk about how the abstract deliverables we create as information architects can be more effective with client decisionmaking on issues like organization scheme and navigation and labeling because they subtract the highly emotional stuff (photography, color, typography) that “skews” client understanding of the info architecture. Counterintuitively (for some at least), the passage from Norman quoted above strengthens the argument some UX folks have been making with regards to simpler, even ugly deliverables*. The more attractive the deliverables are, the more likely the client will “overlook design faults”.
*NOTE: link to anonymous IA Wiki node with discussion of pretty vs. ugly deliverables is currently offline. I quote this node on a slide in my class, which is viewable here.
Just noticed (now that I’m using del.icio.us again) that at some point last year, Brian Kerr sent me a link to this sobering blog posting entitled Is Librarianship A Profession? Raises some eyebrow-knittingly uncomfortable questions that everybody who’s in or thinking about “library school” needs to read. It’s not all doom and gloom, and I’ll be a spoiler by quoting from Ms. Salo’s conclusion:
For myself, I’m not worried. I’m one of those folks who, based on developments in the research enterprise, is likely to be able to barter my labor individually for a decent price no matter what happens to librarianship as a profession. I’ll still call myself a librarian, no fear there. The question is whether people nod respectfully when I do—or laugh.