Author Archives: Ananth2012-13


Trying to provide a static definition for “projection” is a futile endeavour for its power, as a tool, lies in this very ambiguous nature. This is the nature that we must tap into and ultimately use to challenge the design of existing cities.

If we understand that the city is not a singular, static surface, rather that it is a complex tapestry woven together by an array of  experiences, spaces and limits, it is impossible to expect a singular, orthographic projection, in other words, a map, to capture the city’s nuances.  However, the introduction of a third axis can be used to reveal its true form.  Through presenting the space, the third dimension allows us to enter the city differently every time. These acts of entering are made possible through the act of projection, and hence it is vital that we study ways to stimulate and aid projection for it to advocate the transformation and re imagination of cities that we inhabit.


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Conclusion to follow

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The Transformed Suburb

The fields consume the banal, dust the obsolete and break the repetitive form of suburbia. The new limits of the city emerge, one that cannot be bound by the map, endlessly weaving through architecture, never allowing for the disjuncture between the urban and rural to occur again.




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This image would show the relationship between the city and it suburbs. The collapse of views, similar to the first drawing.. Will have text for this soon.

any comments?

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I found some of the comments particualrly important from the Jury.

1. The importance of the intuitive process, and embracing this (rather than denying it). More than building the project, its about building a methodology for projection and the way to read my drawings.

2. The question of introjection, which completes the loop of projection. What we project is from the imagination/perception, but following that what we see, is related to a process of introjection, realting to our experiences. “Introjection involves drawing an object in, but not incorporating it into the body. An introjected object is drawn into the ‘inner circle’, but can still have a life of its own”. If what i have drawn is the projection, then the way we read or perceive it, is introjection. How would this be drawn? or how can this be revealed?

3. I  need to pick moments in my drawing to zoom into. Maybe photographing my model will also give me an idea of what to do? I feel the model has potential but i havent used it enough. Need to also think of a way to use it as part of my presentation (i forgot about it in the last one)

4. Is my project about the limits of the city, and a series of inversions? Its also about ambivalence, which is what the duck rabbit is about, the paradoxes and opposites.

5. Producing a layer in which things that are flawed can be perceived

6. Where does the project sit? in the contemporary or postmodern? What does it mean to draw this way, in a time when we are obsessed with 3d drawing?  Projection is a screen memory. Its not about building the city, but building of the drawing. Building a version of the drawings, that tells many half truths through many broken views.

A historical contemporary way into the city? I need to locate the project in time.


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Model, text and drawing update




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Model Progress

Still a lot to do, since im developing as i work on it it is taking a little longer. I created plinths, to alternate the heights of some of the mirrors, this works as in most of the past drawings the projection room was elevated, looking over the city below..

The 3d prints should be ready tomorrow along with another CNC model



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Im working on a sketch model, to see how i can develop my final model. Im trying to frame my views through using the mirrored interior, to show how I produced my drawings (although this is quite hard for some). As for the mirrored acrylic, im going to have a chat with Tris on tuesday about how to make the joints, and will buy it after! Files to be 3d printed are ready, and i think i’m going to CNC the suburb and urban swamp plates.

Also been thinking of how to complete the rest of the plates, will have a few updates tomorrow. Comments!

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Notes from jury


Need to find a new way of drawing, that is not prescriptive, but ambiguous, paradoxical.. How do we make the viewer project into my drawing?

Piranesi used dots between his lines, that acted as a space of projection, allowing us to connect the figures up.. what my equivalent? Work has to do with romance, we need to be in my world, the textures and stuff need to be there physically.

Duck rabbit, destabilizes objective truth, how do my drawings do that? Maybe I need to come up with something that draws me in, something needs to be paradoxical.. frustrating. What are the two pieces that are in play in the work… there has to be a political agenda.. that’s not coming through, quite enough to destabilize the pictorial aspect of the project.

Cartography is a crucial instrument of politics If I am doing a duck rabbit drawing, its very hard, therefore I need to make 1 or 2 that are convincing.

why is the drawing flat? I need to use the flatness of the plane to make other illusions..  Maybe a drawing that I present as a box, and it flattens out. Play radically with how they play with their method of production.. how do they suggest projection, in a multivalent way?

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Vatican plate update

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Updates- Reformatting and working on plates


Still unsure about the vatican plate. Need to work on them post tutorial. Until then I think its  about making the argument run clearly through my pages.

Iv increased the size of the book to 420X420 and changed the order of the chapters, hope it works!





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And we’re back (with some text for now)

As discussed at our final tutorial, there was a grave need to restructure my presentation, as I spend way too long setting up the thesis and fizzling out when it comes to the project. Im pretty terrible at makig scripts therefore, iv tried to write my scipt in an essay format, setting up the thesis by talking about the Projection and the Rorschach, followed by the Nolli and Roma.

Here is a revised version-

This year I have been exploring the process of projection as a way to enter and reimagine cities. The creation of architecture is vastly dependent on the process of projection. As Robin Evans states, “ What connects thinking to imagination, imagination to drawing, drawing to building, and buildings to our eyes, is projection in one guise or the other”. Projection exists as a method of transfer that creates a channel through which we perceive the world. Whether this process of projection is described as geometry and drawing, or through mental forms of projection, such as Projective tests in phycology, it is vital to understand the interdependence of architecture and projection.

The architecture and spaces we inhabit is the marriage between the existing environment and our imaginations, our imaginations being a pictorialized version of our subjective consciousness.   Understanding projection as a transitive process, and as a way to externalize our imagination, it can be said that the cities and spaces that we inhabit are the direct result of projection. However, at times, we trap ourselves in the fabric of what has been historically created and the act of projection becomes a more passive activity, instead of a dynamic changing one.  It is vital to understand the value of imagination, through the act of projection, to enable cities to evolve and survive. To understand the potential of projection, it is useful to examine the Rorschach test. The test involves the reading of an inkblot, an ambiguous form, so empty of meaning that it’s full of possibilities. This unique feature of the inkblot, allows us to see a range of pictures within the same form. If this quality of the Inkblot can be used as an analogy to the way we plan cities, it becomes interesting as a mechanism to enable cities to evolve constantly. However, cities steeped in history are trapped by their past, time-locked by relics and monuments that create a sense of immortality. How can such cities evolve? How can projection be used as a tool to liberate cities from decline?

If we take Rome as an example of an archetypal city, it is interesting to assess the reasons behind its decline. Understanding the Roma Interrotta competition held in 1978 is a useful way to examine and understand a city that was stagnating. Carlo Argan the Mayor of Rome in ’78 along with Piero Sartogo in Italy and Colin Rowe in the USA called for a competition to redesign Rome, naming it Roma interrotta. What the competition intended to achieve, was to interrupt Rome from its period of stagnation that the infamous Nolli map had caused. The 12 entrants were each given a fragment of the map to work with. The Nolli map, drawn by Giambattista Nolli in 1748 was a highly accurate map that surveyed Rome, at the time and amazingly it was used as a planning document for Rome until the late 70’s. Quite naturally, using an archaic document to plan an expanding metropolis is not going to yield good results and this is indeed what happened, as seen with the fascist architecture and other suburban developments around Rome. However, what is ironic is that the competition, that was to interrupt Rome form its stagnation, went back to the Nolli map as a basis for ‘re imagining’ the city. The outcome of this decision, on the architects that took part in the competition, is almost as intriguing as the city itself. Saratogo sliced the Vatican to bits, Stirling, placed his shelved projects on Rome whilst Venturi compared the strip in Las Vegas to the city. The Nolli map was used much in the same way that an inkblot was used in the Rorschach test. The Order of the map, caused disorders in the architects mind, resulting in intriguing and sometimes, senseless results. It’s crucial to understand the importance of a competition such as Roma interrotta, as a form of exhibition, one that allows us to project our subconscious visions into a physical form.

However where we can be critical about such competitions, is that they don’t go beyond the surface. It’s perhaps wrong to even call this exercise a competition; instead, it was an exhibition of ideas. The entries added another layer on top of the Nolli map, rather than intrinsically changing the map. Over millennia, cities have been planned though the use of a planametric projection, however, the city is much more than series of black and white, figures and voids. It’s a complex membrane of experiences, spaces and inhabitants, and the only way to understand it’s complexities, in order to project and transform it, is to enter it, three dimensionally.











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Updates from Preview- Final Plates

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Updates from Preview- Argument Plates


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Plate 4

The catoptric theatre as a way to experience the city three dimensionally, as opposed to a singular, planar projection.

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Plate 3

Roma Interrotta- Projecting on to and not into Rome


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Argument Plate 2/5

This plate shows all the physical forms of projection that relate to the picture and image. Alberti’s window, anamorphosis, camera obscura and Serlio’s perspectives.

Any comments?


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Argument Plates 1/ 5 WIP

Mental projections- This plate would be about the various kinds of mental projections and how that realtes back to the city/ Nolli etc. The falling paper will have more references, (duck rabbit, inkblots ect).

Physical projections coming up..


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Swamp of Ambiguity- Plate 6 WIP


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Plate 2- Corridors WIP

How we project ourselves into an interior is the same as how we project ourselves into the city. In this way the urban and personal spaces are interchangeable.  In this case the interior  corridor and starts to blur into the urban corridor, seen through a window. Another door opens up to reveal the fields (where we entered the city from).

any comments?

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Which view?!

Trying to frame a view for Plate 3 which is about the corridor and the urban and personal relationship in the city.


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Updating White Book

Been tracing diagrams and formatting the book..

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Projected fields and the Urban swamp WIP




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starting to compose the plates WIP

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End of fields, enter the city

Still trying to work out the scale of the box, and its relationship to the city. The huge map gave me some clues. But it also scared me, hence its been  folded up for now, until I muster up the courage to open it again.

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Table of Contents and Captions

Iv gone back to do a little bit of organising by updating my table of contents and also working on captions for my images to allow them to speak for themselves..(the captions are yet to come)

While doing so, im also going to set up the next set of drawings (once i wrap up the study of the fields) The next set will probably be entry into the wall.

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The Drawing Room- WIP- Thoughts- Brainstorms-

The Nolli map created a flawed reality of Rome. It was reductive in nature, abstracting the city into a planar, one-dimensional projection. Its these very qualities that did not allow one to enter the map or project upon it. The Roma Interrotta entries were an example of what the effects of such forms of cartography were. Whilst some entries such as Colin Rowe’s attempted to work with the city, others rejected it and used it as a testing ground for their own thesis and personal experiments of the time. The entries further fragmented the map, creating 12 individual cities and microcosms of identity within the city.

The project will attempt to enter the map of Rome, interrupting the period of stagnation by creating perspectival and non-planar entries through the city. Addressing the city as a unified whole, instead of fragmented parts, the project slowly and gradually consumes the city and reincarnates it through multiple and endless visions of itself.  Through this process of crafting unique three dimensional spaces within the map, the project will encourage the viewer to be immersed within the city and project within its new spaces. In this way we can begin to inhabit the city, and enter the map.

Side note:

Today I visited the Geffrey Museum, which traces the evolution of domestic spaces in Britain from the 15th C till present day. Probably the most interesting space was the ‘Drawing Room’ what we now call a hall, living room etc (funnily though, in India, we still use the term Drawing room). A drawing room is a room in a house where visitors may be entertained. The name was derived from the sixteenth-century terms withdrawing room and withdrawing chamber, which remained in use through the seventeenth century, and made its first written appearance in 1642 . In a large sixteenth- to early eighteenth-century English house, a withdrawing room was a room to which the owner of the house, his wife, or a distinguished guest who was occupying one of the main apartments in the house could “withdraw” for more privacy. It was often off the great chamber (or the great chamber’s descendant, the salon) and usually led to a formal, or “state” bedroom.

Iv been interested in the space of the Living Room or DRAWING ROOM (a room you draw out in your mind? project?) in the house. It exists as the largest, un-programmed and centralised space within the interior. Its a transitional, connective space, as well as one that is inhabited, temporarily or even permanently. It can be private or public, arranged in anyway and occupied at any time.

Just brain storming.. How this realtes to the Nolli map, I dont know..YET hah! No seriously, i have no idea.




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Imaginative maps and References

Above is a printed board game called “New Game of Hymen”. The game consists of 90 squares arranged in a rectangular circle, with the rules in the centre. Many squares simply have text inside, several have scenes of little putti representing Love and other allegorical and mythological figures showing different aspects of Love.e

This map maps the importance of the city of Jerusalem, but more importantly places its significance in the histories of the number twelve, centering on the city itself and the twelve tribes of Iraeli, and then branching out in more creative listable ways.

I quite like the strange perspective plan view here, definitely allows for entry into the map.


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Trying to montage my view of Rome on Nolli

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Few more views of the fields- WIP

Iv just been posting images, but ill soon follow up with some text and update the argument with the idea of the living room and other things we’ve been discussing over tutorials last week. Right now i wanna keep the intuitive-ness going, i think  its helping me figure out the argument slowly, through image making.

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When the projection is broken-

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Projecting Nolli’s Fields- WIP

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Im drawing pretty intuitively, taking hints from the Nolli map, but also constantly questioning, why and how the spaces that i am drawing  add to my argument about the ambiguous city and projection.

The architect’s house is the most extreme form of a projective space. In the form of objects, memories and spaces, it holds the architect’s identity. If the house then is a manifestation of the city, the architect is indirectly sculpting the city in the most personal and unique manner. (Probably why a lot of psychiatric’s clinics look like domestic spaces, this allows the patient to feel more comfortable, in order to be more open about their problems)

Note: “Wright, Corbusier and Rossi believed that the familiar presented certain assumptions about truths that were no longer historically relevant or appropriate. The familiar also projected certain liberations and obstructed the possibilities of the free play of life (projection). As Nietzsche suggested, by allowing only certain kinds of behaviour and certain ways of seeing and thinking; as Derrida puts it , “some political authority is embodied in architecture”

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Towards projection..

The familiar activates association and thus guarantees relevance and meaning. What if the experience of architecture was something that is meant to defamiliarize?

We appear to ourselves only through an experience of space, which is marked by architecture. What happens through architecture both constructs and instructs us. Acting like a mirror, the space of the mirror makes us appear to ourselves, shows us who we are.



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ENTRY into the map- WIP

‘Entry’ was an interesting idea that came up during Fridays tutorial. How do we enter the Nolli plan? until now the Nolli map, or even the entries were seen as purely plan-metric, that you never enter the space. Iv now started to do a few collages how what it might mean to enter the map, into my world of projection.

Entry is through the familiar, but entry is also through what is unfamiliar.


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Repository of Projective Spaces WIP

Cognitive psychology points out that you can only think of things that are like something you have already seen or experienced. In that way it is safe to say that everything starts with projection.

In order to work with time locked or stagnant cities such as Rome it is essential to use the notion of projection. Projection is a process of tapping into the subconscious to transfer the imagination of the mind on to externalized matter. In this way, the project speculates on using the Nolli map as a repository of projective spaces. It allows the observer to wander through its many spaces and project their own interpretations and imagination of that very space, in a way unique and distinct to the viewer. Each space is an incomparable, three-dimensional construction by the person inhabiting the space. The curator is the mastermind, carefully orchestrating the experience so as to allow the viewer to engage with the space and predict the form of primary engagement but even he never fully knows the potential of the room, until it is projected upon.

The use of Nolli map and its portrayal of Rome are primary since Rome after all is an archetype. It was the first city to be built, whose structure and typologies resonate in every city we see today. In that way it becomes valuable to project upon the city of Rome, as what is indeed projected on Rome, is projected on any city.

The repository takes the form of a house, built from the foundations of the Nolli map. The house uses three distinct methods for achieving ambiguity, which then lends to the ability to be projected upon.

  1. Lack of Scale-The lack of scale, creates a sense of estrangement and unfamiliarity that adds to the spaces ability to confound and seem ambiguous.
  2. Material -The materiality of the spaces, or rendering would further create a sense of detachment.
  3. Repetition- The lack of a beginning, middle and end, and the removal of hierarchy and uniqueness in objects and space would create ambiguity.
  4. Lack of Time?
  5. Lack of function and context

The Nolli map is the site for the house. The map is divided into 12 fragments (this was due to the constraints of the engraving material that Nolli was using) however these fragments surprisingly fragment the map into distinct parts, which subsequently become the various spatial elements of the repository. The house, a repository of projection, is formed of the archetypal spaces that constitute the arrangement of any house, once zoomed out of the Nolli map this arrangement becomes clear.

Frame 1. The Shrine

Frame 2. The Gate

Frame 3. The Garden

Frame 4. The Wall

Frame 5. The Core

Frame 6. The Gardens

Frame 7. The Façade?

Frame 8. The Courtyard

Frame 9. The Garden

Frame 10. The façade

Frame 11. The Nameplate

Frame 12. The Façade.

We enter the house through the various gates of Rome. Each time the point of entry is different, the house has no semblance to that of a typical house, and hence it can be seen as an object in space. The house functions as an analogy to the catoptric theatre as it reflects that which is placed within it. What is placed within it now, isn’t anymore the city, but the viewer, the figure. What he sees in the mirror or the spaces within the house is a reflection or projection of himself. The catoptric theatre after all functions like the inkblot, it only seeks form when an object is placed within it. (needs revision)

Once in the space, it can be projected on in a number of ways. The space can be seen in its entirety, the space can be seen in parts, or the space can be seen in detail. Each room will function on the principle of bilateral symmetry, sometimes we will notice this sometimes we will have to look for it, and sometimes we may never know it.

Still a WIP, lots more to clarify, but its getting there (I Think)…Im now going to define what each room does, and how projection will be used in each space..

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The city as an ambiguous form

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Cantafora and Rossi’s scale-less images


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Collages from last week

I made/make the mistake of constantly referring to the catoptric box, and go on to describe it etc etc.. I think from now on it is more important to just describe it as a space which allows for manipulation and iterations. It does what the inkblot could not, that is, to allow projection in a three dimensional space. Unlike the Nolli plan it does not limit projection to one single plane. It creates vast expanses of city, multiplies, exaggerates allowing the architect to enter it differently each time.

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Notes after Tutorial

Projection and the City

The inkblot is not formal nor formless, it is a formless form that allows one to project multiple meanings on to it. It adopts the form that is projected on to it.

What gives it the ability to do this? The symmetry. Nature is full of symmetry and when we see something symmetrical we immediately recognise and associate it with a recognisable figure.

Why is it important to project on cities?

We are reaching a point where there is never a clean slate or tabula rasa, there is always a city to build on. Rome being a classic example of a city layered upon itself. How then does the architect envision and project new possibilites for the city? What if the city could be seen as formless, allowing for multiple projections and variations?

How could this be possible?

Going back to the basic forms of the city- making it more formal to make it more formless.Im beginning to think if of the city as pure form.

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Jury Jan 2013


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Drawing/ Diagrams




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Jury Notes + Drawings

Colin Rowe and Stirling were most successul in Interrotta because they recognised the competition  as a game and played it.

What was really being interrupted?

Architects are constructing an identity and project and career around their relationship to the Nolli map and the historical city. In contemporary arch culture, this does not happen.

Careers of architects have been cartooned into the competition

The reconfigurable eternal city

Roma Interrotta is in contrast to the modernist tabula rasa idea, or singularity. This is a project about the co existence of multiple architectural visions. But is also a hyper narcissistic vision, of re insering the architect, into the city.

Its the Mount Rushmore project.

Duchamp- there are 6 versions of him doing a project

The relationship to each plate is what should change. They way I enter the city as architect and inhabitant. Its an immersive space.

Its about the end of cartography –the idea that the city is simply a map. The end of projection… The history of immersive spaces.

The derivation of architectural careers and our attitude towards the city ends with 3 manifestos (delirious new york, collage city, learning from las vegas).  Those three just killed the topic of the city. The idea that we can recover an attitude towards the city, is what is challenging.

It would be nice to be in the room (box). We imagine the view of the city. Immersive space, we need to be in the city, we got to get into the room. Get away from EUR. Scale-less features, historical vs the modern. Lots of good clues for designing.




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Axo- Catoptric Theatre and notes

Some notes from tutorial with Charles:

The Nolli map was being used up until the 1970’s as a planning document resulting in the stagnation of the city. At which point the mayor asks for the competition to rethink and project forward the city of Rome. There comes the idea of projection.

The competition is an object of urban discourse. It doesn’t change Rome. But challenges the position of the Nolli map as a planning document. The competition did that, more than the proposals. By having the competition we establish that Nolli’s map is a dead document.

Planning now no longer exist in architectural discourse, or rather it’s not as popular as it used to be in the 50’s.Urban planning is a dead topic, much like the Nolli plan is a dead document.

The purpose of the catoptric box, is to have a conversation about the city again. We have conversations about cities as experiences. This project needs to talk about the city’s form. The individual to the form of the city.

The form of the figure is important.

The therapeutic moment is the one with the deepest potential. What if it is an educational moment?  Not sure this should go down the Therapeutic path.

Change the moment of this apparatus. If its not the moment of curing someone, if its actually a course in an architecture school. We can address the fact that planning has disappeared from our conversation.

We work on the architecture of the room and the environment. How the room adapts itself..


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Revised statement

“A strange yet vaguely familiar maze of streets and stairs, walls, columns, towers, and domes expanding in every direction.” -Freud

The Seat of Projection

Architects are given landscapes and upon them, build visions of cities and buildings. These visions are ideally projected on sites that act as blank canvases upon which all creativity is unleashed. But what happens when we introduce external stimuli into this act of creation? What if the site is not a tabula rasa but is an eternal city, locked and steeped in history?

When we are asked to redesign or even add to such cities that already exist, we are unable to unleash our true creative potential. Its only when the reality is distorted, exaggerated and heightened does the capacity to craft something entirely new emerge. Through a process of distortion, representations of cities can shift from concrete forms to abstract ones. This abstraction brings along with it a sense of the new and unknown, through a process of de familiarization.  Through erasing its iconic views, that architect is then invited to engage with the spaces in unique ways. The city then opens itself to infinite possibilities.

Nolli’s map used the figure and ground technique, locking Rome into a two-dimensional view. Ironically the rigid cartography reduced the city to its absolute form, where the figure is the building and the ground is the void. It is this reductive form of drawing that enables us to project our own identities, perceptions and ideas on the city. In this way it becomes valid to recognise the figure ground as a diagnostic tool.

The Catoptric theatre is the architect’s mind removed from the architect’s body. Often our minds cannot obscure reality. As Wittgenstein’s duck rabbit sketch demonstrates, we either see a duck, or a rabbit; both existing independently, what we don’t see is the third form, the ‘Duck-Rabbit’.

Similarly the Rorschach’s inkblot test used Gestalt principles. The inkblot is neither formless nor formal; it is a formless form, so empty of meaning that it allows for multiple possibilities.

It is important to see cities as formless figures; the capacity for a city to exhibit this quality gives it the ability for it to be envisioned the way the architect chooses it to be.


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I attended the Mario Carpo seminar yesterday which was about Alberti as being the pioneer of the digital, and the devices and methods he adopted to solve problems we now, so easily, use the computer for. I asked him if he knew anything about the Catoptric Cistula, or any other forms of projective devices. He asked met to look up Martin Kemp and his book ‘Devices of Wonder’.  Here are some of the amazing references I then found..

‘There were panoramas, dioramas, cosmoramas, diaphanoramas, navaloramas, pleoramas …. Fantoscopes, fantasma-parastases, phantsmagorican and fantasmaparastatic experiences, picturesque journeys in a room, georamas; optical picturesque, cineoramas, phanoramas, stereoramas, cycloramas, panorama dramatique.’[10]


The Kaiserpanorama, 1900

  • Took up to 25 patrons
  • Show a series stereoscopic slides of exotic places
  • A showing lasted around half an hour


The Mareorama at the 1900 Paris Exposition, received 1500 spectators

  • to project the illusion of being on a ship deck cruising to Mediterranean, the Riviera, Venice, Naples etc.
  • with lighting to simulate changes from day to night
  • moving panoramas to simulate the vistas of voyage
  • structure was mechanically agitated to simulate the movement of the ship
  • had multiple inputs (audio, visual, sound, smell, sensation: breeze) to create a multi-sensorial experience


Section of the Rotonda, exhibited in Leicester Square as The Panorama, 1801

  • These ‘embracing views’ of the modern geography and landscape were popular in the 19th century
  • context: spatial expansion, absorption, consumption, mobilisation in colonization and travel
  • they provide visual and spatial pleasure: ‘spatial curiosity and the pleasures of site seeing’[11]


Paintings of American city views used in panoramas

These devices become ‘the projection of an inner world into an outer geography’.[12]


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Some notes

-The box is an internalised utopic world of the architects projections

-The box is a container of the minds projections -It is a three dimensional inkblot

– Begin to draw my world within the bounds of the box

– Sometimes I am the reader, sometimes I am the projector

– The box is the architects Utopia

– The box is self referential

– Rorschach is not a cure, but a diagnostic tool, a method of analysis

– The argument is situated around the idea of Time-Locked cities, and their inability to reinvent themselves.

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Pin-up (and a lot of sugar)

The Seat of projection:

The cistula is a box lined with mirrors on hinged surfaces that can be manipulated.  The mirror-lined spaces create endless reflections of the ornately painted interiors of the box, forming microcosmic landscapes and rooms within. The box in this case behaves like an internalized world; however it only is activated when light penetrate from the outside to reveal what is inside.

Taking the Rorschach test a step further, the box is now used as a means to manipulate an inkblot. Previously the projector played a passive role of merely reading a form that is prescribed. An inkblot is placed in front of the patient, and asked, “What do you see?” However, now the patient is asked to look at the inkblot, manipulate it, and then asked to project. The architect or projector now has the power to adjust the mirrors in order to control the inkblot.

The box is now in the city scale and within it are not objects but chunks of the city itself. In the distance is a small window within which is the therapist’s office. The patient sits on the seat of projection and looks out of the window into the contained world of the box, controlling the reflections by adjusting the sides of the box and constantly projecting on the ever-changing views of time locked cities.


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WIP- Rorschach’s Clinic

Iv situated Rorschach’s clinic at the threshold of the catoptric box, that encases chunks of city. The architect (Read: patient) sits at the desk looking out through the window and projects himself on what he will see as an inkblot.

Interesting questions came up about the scale about the box at the tutorial, right now iv drawn it as 20m X 16m. Does a scaled version of city fit into it? Who is placing the city in the box, me? Who is the mastermind? Where is the door in the clinic leading to?

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Abstract for HTS essay

“ Architecture’s relevance relies on the recognition of what is familiar, Architecture’s survival relies on what will always be foreign.”

The Rorschach test was devised by Swiss Psychoanalyst Hermann Rorscahch in 1921. The test is a method of psychological evaluation, not so much for seeking objective meaning, but to interpret the psychosis of the patient. The inkblot is neither formal nor formless. It is a formless-form, so empty of inherent meaning that it is brimming with potential content. It is a shape that acquires significance according to how it is perceived or used. The inkblot is a rich medium to engage in architectural discourse, as it pertains directly to the issues associated with the figure and ground, projection and ambiguity. The question of projection raises many questions about the way we read and make drawings. On one hand, we take architectural drawing as an objective, geometric construction of form, whilst the inkblot is an ambiguous and subjective assessment of a figure. How can architectural drawing mediate between this juxtaposition? Projection is a way of reading, whilst Rorschach’s inkblots were also a form of reading but to elicit a new viewpoint as a result of ambiguity. Hence what indeed is ambiguity in architecture? Ambiguity in architecture is usually what gives rise to interpretation and misreadings. How could architectural drawing perform the task of having multiple readings? And to what extent should buildings remain ambiguous?




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Overlooked this before, actually super interesting



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Rorschach’s Office

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What is interesting in these images is how its a pretty banal image to being with, but when the horizon line is made vertical the same image becomes unfamiliar. (my neck hurts though)



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Statement WIP

The project, through the Recon addressed the idea of mental or psychological projections as a way to enter cities. Namely cities such as Rome that have been time locked into one projection and one interpretation, unable to break free from the shackles of its own past. The Rorschach test was a tool that aided the process of projection by using the line of symmetry or mirroring in order to distort an image to make it ambiguous enough to re-imagine it, to re-enter it. A world that is familiar to us, is suddenly de familiarised by the simple act of mirroring. A mirror can create an endless expanse of space, distort images of reality, multiply axis and magnify visions. The simple act of collapsing a piece of paper to mirror an inkblot opens up to reveal a complex and paradoxical world of endless possibilities and projections.

Looking closer at the formation of the inkblot we begin to see how the figure grows out of the spine of the fold. There is a horizontal movement of ink that originates from a vertical axis. While mirrors tend to create infinite visions of vast horizontal horizons, what would happen if the horizon became a vertical line? What would happen if the cities dint expands from a horizontal horizon but grew out of vertical horizon? Would this mean that the entire world would begin to cantilever out?By asking these kinds of questions it opens up an entirely new conversation about how we imagine cities.

The catoptric box (scale undecided) is a device into which we insert cities, plans, objects, perhaps even ourselves, the box would distort, contort the object, city, person, to give rise to an entirely new view of the same familiar object, allowing one to project on the object and seek multiple new possibilities. It’s a form of therapy for ailing cities.



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Catoptric Box

A catoptric cistula, also called a catoptric theatre or chest, is a box with several sides lined with mirrors, so as to magnify or multiply images of any object placed inside the box. Of these, there are various kinds for various purposes, such as magnification, deformation, or multiplication of images.

The most elaborate catoptric chests known from Ancient Rome exhibited detailed scenes, including expansive libraries, forests, cities, or even vast treasures. Another form of entertainment involved placing an animal, such as a cat, inside a chest, and watching it interact with numerous other cats that appeared to surround it.


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sketch models, ideas and more inkblots. WIP

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Campidoglio mirrored

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Campidoglio- WIP

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Birth of the Third space

Just a quick animation to show the creation the ‘Third space’ by mirroring.

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Statement (WIP)

The inkblot is an interesting medium to investigate for describing the creation of the figure and ground. The areas covered in ink, begin to indicate the figure, whilst the spaces around the ink represent the ground. Of course, this relationship is completely reversible, and there in lies the paradox. In a more architectural sense, it establishes the built figure and void. However, what is interesting to note, is the vulnerable relationship that is established here. It needs to be ambiguous enough to allow one to project a figurative meaning on to it, but not too ambiguous that it’s just literally a blot of ink on paper. It works very similarly to the ruin: The ruin must have enough structure left to engage the viewer to rebuild or imagine it, if it remains as just a mass, it does not allow for projection.

In a map such as the Nolli map, what I see as the problem is the meticulous description of the figure and the ground that does not allow for a subjective engagement with the drawing.  In the quest to understand and project myself into the city, I would like to investigate the gradual removal of the figure and perhaps the ground, to distort and begin to create my own ambiguous blots of the city.

Whilst the inkblots allow for infinite number of projections, because of their ambiguous nature, the Wittgenstein Duck-Rabbit, drawn by Ludwig Wittgenstein can be seen as two entirely different figures, a duck and a rabbit, but there is a third object that it also exists as: The Duck-Rabbit.

Using Wittgenstein and Rorschach’s work as tools, my pursuit is to create third spaces; this may be a view, an experience, an orientation, a paradox, a threshold, an illusion. Architecture as a result of removal and reversal is what crafts the third space. The line of the mirror acts as a slit, a portico where all reflections converge to reveal an entry into the project.



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Whats figure and whats ground?

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Patient Report

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Patient Report

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Patient Reports

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Patient Reports

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Another famous example of the figure ground- Rubin’s vase

Edgar Rubin created a famous set of ambiguous or bi-stable (i.e reversing) two-dimensional forms.


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Some interesting references from the Jury


“This is the depiction of the famous “duck-rabbit” figure, described as an “illusion” and attributed to Wittgenstein.

Technically, the duck-rabbit figure is an ambiguous (or reversible, or bistable) figure, not an illusion . The two classes of perceptual phenomena have quite different theoretical implications. From a constructivist point of view, many illusions illustrate the role of unconscious inferences in perception, while the ambiguous figures illustrate the role of expectations, world-knowledge, and the direction of attention . For example, children tested on Easter Sunday are more likely to see the figure as a rabbit; if tested on a Sunday in October, they tend to see it as a duck or similar bird.

But the more important point of this letter concerns attribution: the duck-rabbit was “originally noted” not by Wittgenstein, but rather by the American psychologist Joseph Jastrow in 1899 , when the famous philosopher was probably still in short pants. Along with such figures as the Necker cube and the Schroeder staircase, Jastrow used the duck-rabbit to make the point that perception is not just a product of the stimulus, but also of mental activity — that we see with the mind as well as the eye.”

– John F Kihlstorm

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Notes from the Jury

The Inkblot as Architecture and theInkblot as a Ruin-

The point at which the inkblot becomes architectural is when it begins to be read as a figure. One associates this with the cartographical conventions of drawing a figure ie a building as a black mass.

The blot begins to relate to a ruin as in any good ruin (or restoration) there needs to be just enough ‘ruin’ for the mind to project a figure on to it. Otherwise it reamins a mass. This is the artifice of the ruin.

This raises questions about the inkblot. The ratio of the figure (the blot) to the ground (the space around). Most people see the inkblot as the figure, but what if the distribution of the blot and space is equalised? There is always this vulnerability between the figure and the ground. There is an arrangement that generates  figuring. The same holds true for the ruin as well.

Its very much an investation via the Nolli map and Rorschach as a kind of element of architecture which is about projective reading, which is paradoxical. Projection and incorporation at the same moment.



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Patient files now have a rack!

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Patient Files


Iv finally found some great old files to use for my medical reports. Im now working on formatting the files, and adding more details to my diagnoses of the architects. Tonight i plan to make another set of ink blots of both the Nolli map and competition entries.


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Rorschaching the Nolli plan

Mirroring each fragment of the Nolli plan and highlighting the built up areas to start to reveal the hidden blots in the Nolli plan.

Starting to break the order and read it more subjectively. Im seeing an Inca god.

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A Rorschach costume. Outfit for the jury?

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Plan to Blot

Trying to mirror the plan here to try and create a plan-blot

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My own inkblot tests

These are some of my first attempt at making inkblots. The way I went about making them is by applying ink on the most prominent lines in each of the fragments of the map. For example, in the first blot (Nolli’s map,top row, left) I traced out the Vatican and folded. similarly in the same corresponding fragment in the competition, I traced Sartogo’s crazy lines and folded and the result is completely different.

Still need to define more rules about how I do this, and of course keep asking myself where its taking me. The Architectural inkblot?

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A note about Rorschach

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Sartogo was one of my most interesting patients

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More reports..

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My patient reports (confidentiality is not a clause in my clinic)

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A note about the Re-con

The Eternal City, 12 psychotic architects, and a competition thats based on a map thats frustratingly accurate. The resulting proposals of Roma Interrotta are obviously not going to be easy to read. While some entries drew parallels with Rome’s ancient landscapes and brought traces of that time back, others used archaeology as a device to design their proposals. Some rejected Rome’s history, and some celebrated it. Whatever means employed the projects resonated each of the architects inner anxieties and images of Rome. The proposals were not just symptomatic of the architects personal concerns but also of planning, architecture, and exhibitions in the 70’s.

The Nolli plan is the culprit of Rome’s illness. Along with its outdated ways of defining public spaces, the plan also entirely rejects the topographical details and sections of Rome. The consequence is an entirely one-dimensional view and interpretation of Rome. Just a few years after Nolli completes his map 1748, Piranesi draws Campo Marzio. Its fantastical approach is the first attempt to break away from Nolli’s limited understanding of Rome. It allowed for misreading’s.

The Roma Interrotta competition works in a similar fashion. In many ways it was an effort to cure Rome from the outdated planning regulations that it was ailing from. The competition and the entries acted as a form of therapy for doing so.

The premise for my recon is built around the idea that the 12 architects in their attempt to provide therapy for Rome begin to exercise their own demons and as a consequence reveal their own mental weaknesses. They are also suffering from a series of mental conditions and the competition acts as an inkblot test to prove this. Similar to Rorschach’s test in which a subject’s perceptions of inkblots are recorded then analysed using psychological interpretation. In this case I play the role of Rorschach by analysing their proposals (read: symptoms) to evaluate their mental conditions.The competition performs the role of being a means to reveal the architect’s anxieties as well as a means to study the resulting conditions, brought to light by an examination of the proposals.

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Plan to Perspective

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7 Hills of Rome

“Suppose that Rome is not a human habitation but a physical entity with a similarly long and copious past- an entity, that is to say, in which nothing that has once come into existence will have past away and all the earlier phases of development continue to exist alongside the latest one”

– Freud


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