Visualizing Evidence in Architectural Research (from Data Mapping to Explanatory Diagrams)

A special issue of Architecture (ISSN 2673-8945).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 June 2023) | Viewed by 610

Special Issue Editors

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Guest Editor
School of Architecture, University of Montreal, Montréal, QC, Canada
Interests: contemporary architecture; theory; analogical thinking; competitions; awards; inclusive practices
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Guest Editor
Architectural Science, Toronto Metropolitan University, Toronto, ON, Canada
Interests: Canadian modernism; architectural pedagogy

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This Special Issue interrogates the subject of visualization in architecture, and asks whether contemporary visualization falls within the history of modes of representation in architecture or if it represents the beginning of a paradigm shift. As a discipline, architecture contributes to the production of new knowledge, not only of architectural matters but frequently concerning aspects of the built environment that intersect with disciplines in the social sciences and humanities. Studying the history of architecture enables us to correlate the creation of built form and landscapes with the development of other forms of knowledge. As these interactions increase, the presentation of data in a visually understandable format is a growing epistemological and pedagogical challenge. Can architectural ideas—history, context, evolution, or current state—be translated into didactic and accessible visualized formats? Can the visual encoding of these ideas provide new insights into architectural histories and provide the means to discover diversities, commonalities and possibilities found en masse in architectural data? Conversely, can visualizing data provide opportunities for others to decode and access complex architectural ideas? What are the possibilities and potentials for architectural historians of data mapping, force directed graphs, histograms, linear charting or other forms of data aggregation? As we confront growing volumes of data and media-savvy researchers, what are appropriate ways in which to convey information with both accuracy and communicational appeal?

In Beautiful Evidence, statistician-turned-graphic-designer Edward Tufte makes a case for the equal importance of the visibility of evidence alongside the factual proof that is presented. The history of architecture is centred on documenting and representing built form through traditional means such as architectural drawings, models and photographs and, more recently, through computer renderings and virtual reality. Much of this has centred on the object, the type, the maker, the place, or the experience. Attempts have been made to visualize trends in architecture, such a Charles Jencks’ famous diagram in Meaning in Architecture or his Evolutionary Tree of Twentieth Century Architecture. The potency of diagrams has been extensively explored by architects, including Peter Eisenman, Bernard Tschumi and Rem Koolhaas, to the point of creating a new trend called “datascape architecture”. However, it is not yet clear whether these explorations fall within a new concern for visualization or are understood to be a continuation in a long tradition of modes of representation and translation, as identified by Robin Evans. In recent decades, a series of mappings originating from economics, sociology, statistics and political science has mirrored practices in architecture. Does this mean that architecture is at a disciplinary turning point in which “making architectural data understandable” is an imperative rather than a trend?

This Special Issue presents contributions from scholars in architecture, urban design, and landscape architecture who are exploring the potential of utilizing complex data sets to understand architecture’s many histories. We welcome investigations that address approaches to visualization beyond traditional studies in the field of architectural representation and challenge us to consider new ways to make coded data accessible and engaging. 

Prof. Dr. Jean-Pierre Chupin
Prof. George Thomas Kapelos
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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  • data representation in architecture
  • architecture history

Published Papers

There is no accepted submissions to this special issue at this moment.
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