Drawing Codes: Experimental Protocols of Architectural Representation

Banvard Gallery / Knowlton Hall
January 10, 2018 - 5:30pm to February 9, 2018 - 5:30pm

The Banvard Gallery will host the exhibition Drawing Codes: Experimental Protocols of Architectural Representation from January 10 through February 9, 2018. The exhibit will open at 5:30 p.m. on 1/10 following the lecture by Andrew Kudless and Adam Marcus.


Emerging technologies of design and production have opened up new ways to engage with traditional practices of architectural drawing. This exhibition, organized by the Digital Craft Lab at California College of the Arts, features experimental drawings by architects who explore the impact of new technologies on the relationship between code and drawing: how rules and constraints inform the ways we document, analyze, represent, and design the built environment.


Each drawing engages with at least one of the below prompts that begin to expand the notion of code as it relates to architectural design and representation:

Code as generative constraint. Restrictive codes often govern what is permitted and what is prohibited. Examples of this include building codes, urban codes, zoning codes, accessibility codes, and energy codes. How can such constraints become generative, opening up opportunities for design and representation?
Code as language. A code can be understood as a set of rules, conventions, and traditions of syntax and grammar that structure the communication of information. The discipline of architecture similarly has its own language of typologies, taxonomies, and classifications. How can drawing engage with such architectural languages?
Code as cipher. Encoded or encrypted messages are intended to hide or conceal information. Likewise, architectural geometries, forms, spaces, and assemblies are embedded with invisible organizational, social, political, or economic logics that may not be immediately evident. How can drawing engage with these latent meanings and messages?
Code as script. A code can be understood as a script or a recipe: a set of instructions to be executed or performed by a computer, a robot, or (in the case of theater or film), an actor. Scripts often produce unexpected discrepancies between the intent of the code and how it is executed. How can drawing explore these open-ended processes that may not have a defined outcome?

The invited architects were asked to conform to a set of strict rules: consistent dimension, black & white medium, and limiting the drawing to orthographic projection. The intent is for this consistency to emphasize the wide range of approaches to questions of technology, design, and representation. Yet within this considerable diversity of medium, aesthetic sensibility, and content, several common qualities emerge. First is the unsure link between code and outcome: glitches, bugs, accidents, anomalies, but also loopholes, deviations, variances, and departures that open up new potentials for architectural design and representation. Second is a mature embrace of technology not as a fetishized end game, but as an instrument employed synthetically in concert with other architectural “tools of the trade.” And finally, these drawings demonstrate how conventions of architectural representation remain fertile territory for invention and speculation.


Viola Ago
Kristy Balliet / Balliet Studio
Curime Batliner
Erin Besler
Amy Campos
Central Standard Office of Design / Kelly Bair
Endemic / Clark Thenhaus
Marc Ericson
Heather Flood / F-lab
Future Cities Lab
David Gissen
Andrew Heumann
Janette Kim
Joris Komen
Andrew Kovacs
Andrew Kudless / Matsys
Jimenez Lai / Bureau Spectacular
Elena Manferdini
Adam Marcus / Variable Projects
The Open Workshop
Oyler Wu Collaborative
Rael San Fratello
Young & Ayata

about the team

Presented by California College of the Arts / Digital Craft Lab and the Knowlton School at The Ohio State University.

Curated by Andrew Kudless and Adam Marcus.

For more information on the exhibition, included works and participants, please visit the Drawing Codes page on the Digital Craft Lab website.