“World of particular secret affinities: palm tree and feather duster, hairdryer and Venus de Milo, champagne bottles, prostheses, and letter-writing manuals”
Walter Benjamin, The Arcades Project
To have an “idea,” architects have long experienced, consists of embarking on the adventurous project of letting it emerge through a mode of production that simultaneously entails forms of theorizing practice and practicing theory. Often the possession of an idea is contested by the reality of encountering it, anew, in the unfolding of a project. Giovanni Battista Piranesi’s Carceri etchings, Zaha Hadid’s The Peak calligraphic drawings, Achim Menges’ FAZ Pavilion biomimetic studies, all portray a body of knowledge where the project becomes the very same search and discovery of a and another project. In a state of remaining open but defined, speculative but mnemonic, infinite but confined, projects are tools for thinking before they transcend into other languages. For many reasons, however, the “stuff” that generates the full life of a project is often undisclosed. Drawings, models, startling encounters and discoveries, failed experiments and changes of course, the matter that matters to the signification of a project seems to play a secondary role when the final project is disclosed.
What artifacts and actions have designers explored to discover their projects? Normative drawings and models that are scaled versions of the proposed exist. But what else is there? A series of digitally fabricated plaster casts? A prototypical detail? A registration of material weathering? A production workflow? The ostensibly fleeting nature of everything that surrounds and constructs the evolution of an idea into a building or product comprises the projection of a project, and thus, before a project becomes a noun, it is a verb: to project. This forms a constellation of practical and theoretical actions that perform in all kinds of directions, intentions and encounters. With all its contradictions, mistakes and unforeseen outcomes, the full life of a project includes an architectural story that is rarely told. Therefore, making visible the materiality of an entire project suggests a valuable tool for learning. To project is to go beyond a surface or an edge and it is within this intrinsically transgressive nature that projects are not just things, but active places for discovery.
The Journal of Architectural Education Issue 72:1 seeks Design as Scholarship and Micro-Narratives that critically examine and expose the project and projection of architecture as a tool for thinking. This may include work that engages with experimental forms of projection, processes of material and speculative translations, drawings and artifacts that consciously make a project, as well as unexpected instances and narratives that disrupt a project towards other explorations. Submissions may also include projects of projects, and projecting and projectable works that intersect the practice of architecture, pedagogical methodologies and critical demonstrations of what may constitute an architectural project. This call seeks to uncover the side of architectural projects that is always there, but rarely seen.
Please note, this issue is not accepting scholarship of design.