Can an image tell a story?  No doubt.  Photographers do it all the time.  If you recall, this is why I wanted Josef – our in house professional photographer – to present at common hour last Fall.  When David and I presented at the Royal Geographic Society in London, David set up a meeting with photographer become master-teacher Jonathan Worth.  Jonathan has developed the largest on-line photography class phonar nation.   Phonar?  Yes, that is photography + narrative.   In our conversation, he compared an image to communication, but a photograph to narrative.  An image might show, but a photograph tells a story.  If you wish, you can follow some assignments on Phonar on story telling through photography here and here.  What I love about the second link, is it suggests a way to start: make a picture that describes something you wish you could fix.  Isn’t that similar to what we are up to?

Perhaps you are thinking, “but we are not taking pictures”.  Exactly.  And photographers don’t just take pictures either.  They tell stories through their medium.  I think there is also great depth in understanding how image is to communication and photography is to narrative.  Diagrams, as an image, are about clear communication.  They simplify complexity so others can understand.  But where are renderings in this?  This is a pretty hot debate these days moving a long the positive to hyper-negative spectrum.  So let’s not get caught up in the semantics of the word, but what we want it to do: understand (architectural) design as a spatial problem.  So this is a two part problem: 1. Got Space? and 2. Got Atmosphere?

Spatial Expression

This week is time to put spatial expression as the top priority.  I very much appreciate Cole’s thoughts that his process has been to a large degree an “organizational” one.  This is part and parcel of a large and complex program.   But in the end, this is about projecting a vision of Open Source Learning.  One needs just enough organization to get all the right parts in play, but now it is time to focus on spatial integration and expression.

What are the three key spaces that project your vision of Open Source Learning?

In the most simplest terms, and following Emily from LPA, how do you demonstrate flexibility, variety, and choice? 

Consider: focal spaces, peripheral spaces.  Extraverted spaces, introverted spaces.  Spaces of movement, spaces of calm?  Boundaries (surfaces) that invite, boundaries (surfaces) that enclose.  Most of all, think in terms of volume (space), not area (plan).

Some of you have already done precedent searches to help trigger your imagination.  This can help.

You have to design with space in mind.  Use what works for you: physical models, sketching over digital wireframes, and/or working digitally.  Yes working with plan is part of this, and hopefully the plan will evolve, but let experience be the driver.  Design through the section, design through the model (digital or physical).  Don’t be shy about cutting floor away even if that interrupts some of your organization.  Its the experience that matters.

In the end, I am asking for 3 immersive views so this tends to bias the digital…but doesn’t have to.

Developing Atmosphere

In talking about renderings and atmosphere, photoshop is probably the first thing you are thinking of.  But not so fast.  What makes atmosphere: environment, artifacts, and people.  Environment is both the place (site) and the place your are making.  Artifacts are the things people interact through and with – this could include furniture as well as tools and most certainly the artifacts students are creating (just think of studio atmosphere).   Lastly, and most significantly, people don’t only exist in an atmosphere – people produce an atmosphere.  While you cannot control this anymore in a rendering than you can in a building, what you can develop are the variety of spaces that allow multiple people to co-construct / co-exist in a space.  Understanding the entanglement of people, artifacts, and environment to develop atmosphere is a spatial opportunity, its not just about photoshop.

So here it is:

Friday, 2pm studio Pin-Up

3 (minimum) immersive perspectives that tell the best story of your Open Source Learning Academy.

Please focus on the space, not simply the representation.  This is intended to aid in design development, not presentation.  You will need to hack, draw, sketch, plan, erase, modify, cut, and situate yourself into the your project.

In short, this is akin to pre-visualization in film.

Focus on Friday should be on SPACE, people are essential to these images, but do not have to be photoshop crazy.  Focus on design, not photoshop.  The point is not to spend an all nighter on photoshop.  The point is to design with space in mind developing your spatial qualities so that when you do do an all nighter on photoshop (next week or week after) it is worth your effort.