Virtual architecture: reconstructing architecture through photography
Germen, Murat (2007) Virtual architecture: reconstructing architecture through photography. In: Em'body'ing Virtual Architecture, The Third International Conference of ASCAAD, 2007, Bibliotheca Alexandrina, Alexandria, Egypt
Official URL: http://www.ascaad.org/conference/2007/home.htm
The concept of construction in architectural design process is a temporary action that exists for a while and transforms itself into another product; i.e. the final building to be inhabited. Construction site can be taken as a podium where a play-to-remain-incomplete is being staged. The incompleteness causes us to dream, due to the fact that a complete building loses its narrative potential as it informs us about all the necessary pieces that constitute the whole: There is no puzzle to solve... Construction in this sense is like a historical ruin; Paul Zucker asserts that "ruins have held for a long time a unique position in the visual, emotional, and literary imagery of man. They have fascinated artists, poets, scholars, and sightseers alike. Devastated by time or willful destruction, incomplete as they are, they represent a combination of man-made forms and of organic nature." Architectural photography has the potential of re-creating this puzzle back again in order to bring an alternative representation to architecture. The architectural photographer is sometimes offered the freedom of reinterpreting, reconstructing architecture in order to be able to present a novel virtual perception to the audience. The idea here is to get some spatial clues that can later be used in other architectural projects. I was personally invited to two different concept exhibits in which I was given the freedom of inventing a virtual architecture through photography. The concept text written for one of these exhibits goes as follows: “I went, saw, stopped, attempted to grasp and enter it, looked at construction process and workers with respect, tried to internalize, wanted to claim it for a while, dreamed of creating a microcosm out of the macrocosm I was in, shot and shot and shot and finally selected: The created world, though intended for all, was probably quite a personal illusion...” Virtual architecture is a term used for architecture specifically created in the computer environment and never used in the realm of architectural photography. People like Piranesi, Lebbeus Woods, M.C. Escher, Marcos Novak, etc. previously dreamed about architectures that could exist virtually on paper, screen, digital environments. This paper will try to prove that this practice of (re)designing architecture virtually can be transferred to one of the most important realms of visuality: Photography. Various digital processes like stitching multiple photos together and mirroring images in image editing software like Photoshop, allow this virtual architecture to take place in the computer environment. Following this, I propose to raise the term “snap architecture” to connect it to the frequently referred concept of “paper architecture.” Keywords: virtual, (re)construction, snap architecture, paper architecture, illusion, puzzle, incompleteness, representation, perception, reinterpretation, microcosm vs. macrocosm, fictional architecture, metaspace, narrative space, generative architecture.
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