Visual language in architectural design
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Citation:Kiroff, L. (2002). Visual language in architectural design. A thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the Degree of Master of Design Management, Unitec Institute of Technology, New Zealand.
Permanent link to Research Bank record:https://hdl.handle.net/10652/1491
RESEARCH QUESTIONS: Can all domains of visual culture be sources of ideas in architectural design? If so, what visual tools can be employed to represent them? Modern life is mediated through the visual screen. Film and television and the Internet are not just the norm, they are life itself. The new emerging globally shared visual culture becomes the underlying construct that explains and substantiates visual experience in everyday life. According to Walker & Chaplin (1997) the field of visual culture has four domains (fine arts, crafts/design, mass & electronic media and performing arts) and architecture belongs to the fine arts domain. This thesis examines the richness of visual language in architectural design as an expression of the relationships between the domains of visual culture. It explores the extent to which the industry is aware and exploits the opportunities offered. The two research questions developed in this study explore whether all domains within the field of visual culture are sources of inspiration that can influence significantly architectural design through the use of a wide array of visual tools. A qualitative research methodology was selected for the purposes of this study with a range of data collection techniques including: grounded theory, ethnography, case studies, semi-structured interviewing, and action-research. The research results indicate that all domains of visual culture can be regarded as sources of ideas supported by the inspiring designs of the great masters in architecture. McKim’s (1980) graphic abstraction ladder (with the two levels of the concrete and abstract graphic languages) has been used as a base to add the new level of the hybrid graphic languages, which is about storytelling based on all domains of visual culture. This concept has been discussed in the “Synthesis” chapter and further developed and exemplified through the action-research method testing it in an education environment. The “Evaluation” chapter provides opinions and comments by architectural professionals regarding this experimental stage.