Drawing Digitally Through Classical Means Of Composition
Christian Gansemer @ University of Stuttgart
A Palace for the Republic is the architectural manifestation of a theoretical essay called ‘architecture without content’ which I developed during the six months of my master thesis. ‘In search of lost architecture’, the title of my thesis, consisted of these two parts. A Palace for the Republic – a social housing complex of 2500 units in Berlin Mitte – thematises the differentiation between the two polar spheres of the public and the private, the differentiation between inside and outside.
A spatial relationship where individual and community meet and cause each other. The project evokes an almost lost and forgotten architecture of thresholds and barriers which has always been marking the distribution point from individual to the collective. At the same time it takes a resolute endeavour as its basis to improve the qualities of a meanwhile impoverished public, semi-public and private space. The orientation to the public and the insertion of the architecture in the scope of the urban community, the civitas, marks the very centre of this ‘thematization’. The housing complex is a result of ontological investigations and a firm pursuit of a contemporary universal architectural language. A postulate, which focusses the inverse of architecture, the space, the void, that what happens between the limiting elements. In this context, architecture is seen not as a product but rather as a continuous process. An architecture which is only completed by the always individual occupancy of its users and which is therefore determined by a continuous morphological change. An architecture which begins but never ends.
Who influences you graphically?
I’ve always felt compulsively inspired by a young generation of architects that negates a certain contemporary need of realistic’ representations in architecture where every detail in the image seems to be pre-determined. They tend to propagate ideas instead of perfectly rendered images, visions instead of meticulous defined architectural spaces. 51N4E, Baukuh, Dogma, Fala Atelier, Monadnock, OFFICE KGDVS and OMMX to name only a few them. Other influences have mostly come from creative/artistic thinkers such as Caspar David Friedrich or Karl Friedrich Schinkel, even surrealistic painters like René Magritte and Salvador Dalí. Connecting the latter, the early Rem Koolhaas and the paintings by Madelon Vriesendorp from Delirious New York played also an important role during the educational process of my architecture studies. In terms of drawing as the ultimate tool of critical thinking and the production of architecture I source my inspiration partially from Japanese postmodernism.
What dictated the choice of images through which you choose to reveal the proposal? How important are the views?
To get to the point of my project and theoretical considerations I tried to display a set of meaningful images on different scales – from public urban scenarios and semi-public shared spaces right up to private living conditions – all showing what could be the future of the classical in architecture: non-predetermined buildings as a possible architecture without any content. Universal architectural spaces as social condensers and the ultimate tool for human coexistence.
Finally, the images are dealing with the issue of the ‚common’ in architecture, a genuine proposal of how people could use collective spaces within a housing complex.
What is the effect and purpose of the white frame?
Considering architectural representation, e.g. photographs or collages, as pieces of art – both digital and in print – the white edging is a contemporary interpretation of the traditional picture frame intended to enhance the image, make it easier to display or even protect it.
The white frame was initially conceived for print version only. To a certain extend it might even lack a bit of its effect and purpose digitally, the same reason why you don’t see picture frames in art books. But since it might be interesting to feature and to discuss the difference between the presentation of the work online and in print I kept the images as presented in my university.
Where there any specific parameters and methods of construction for the perspective views?
Most of my images are being built up like a classical painting composition consisting of foreground, middleground and background. Different layers have been stacked horizontally to create a certain depth and complexity within the image. Arranged in a common portrait format and composed as central perspectives, some of them are even built up manually without the use of a 3d model. Another crucial tool was the division of the images into thirds or the golden ratio.