PLAT 1.5 and 2.0 comprise a two-volume “mega-issue” which seeks to refresh the discourse surrounding architectural representation. This project was motivated by a concern with the discursive apparatus which emerged from the intersection of “paper architecture,” formalist analysis, and structuralism (and later post-structuralism) in the 1960s, ’70s, and ’80s. The legacy of these engagements is that our conception of architectural representation is primarily the product a time when it was at its most socially and economically autonomous. Through nearly 300 pages of essays, interviews, and images, these issues attempt to infuse this discourse with a new set of themes.
In PLAT 1.5, “Mind the Gap,” we sought to update the canonical idea of a “gap” between drawing and building in light of the impact of technology. Have contemporary technologies merely resulted in the evolution of the relationship between drawing and building, or have they fundamentally changed it? The investigations which comprise PLAT 1.5 suggest that the processes of translation have changed – or will change – to such a degree that they demand a critical reassessment. Rather than being the passive recipients of technological advancements, architects must take an active role in discovering how these technologies open up new avenues of social and cultural agency.
PLAT 2.0, “If You See Something, Say Something,” begins to look for answers to this questions of agency. If PLAT 1.5 moves from technology outside the discipline to its impact within the discipline, 2.0 reverses this directionality. Architectural representation is the primary medium of architectural communication: it is how we speak to clients, to the public at large, and even to ourselves. As technology creates new conventions for architectural representation and liberates others to take on different roles, the historical fixation on “translation” is radically disrupted and expanded.
PLAT is available at www.platjournal.com.