AR-529 / 3 credits

Teacher: Khosravi Al Hosseini Hamed

Language: English


Through close readings of key examples, the course revisits the historical evolution of architectural drawing and representation as autonomous entities, aiming to reclaim the agency of architectural drawing as a project.


The tools of assemblage, methodologically developed and theorised during the Dada movement, have long been central to the production of architecture, both drawn and built. From analogue and digital tools of drawing and painting to modelling techniques, and even curatorial projects, the seminars address key projects that use architectural media (drawings, paintings, collages, films, and models) beyond the pure representational purposes but instead as a systematic form of enquiry. The course discusses the use of media in architecture- and in particular drawing- not so much as a tool for surveying, recording, and representing, but as a project in its own right. It undertakes a close reading of artistic and experimental methods and practices, as well as precedents that have historically shaped the foundation of architectural representation and projection. It reads architectural drawing as an assembled form; a mode of thinking and design, that inherently reflects the intellectual, technological, cultural, and political ethos of the time. It aims to bring together various experimental and scientific methods, analytical devices and artistic practices to explore the use of media and representation of space as a form of multi-scalar investigation; one that expands from the scale of the architecture to the territory and the urban as well as collective and individual imaginaries.


Course Sessions:

Sessions 1-2: Drawing as a Project

20 Sep. 2023, 12pm.-16pm.

The session reviews the early experiments with perspectival compositions in Renaissance paintings. The seminar discusses how the perspective structures allowed the painters to assemble multiple spatial and temporal fragments in order to construct complex narratives.


Sessions 3-4: On Abstraction and Organisation

4 Oct. 2023, 12pm.-16pm.

The seminar reviews drawing as tool for codification, categorisation, and projection. From Machiavelli's military diagrams codifying the composition of the army to avant-garde architectural experimentations such as Archizoom's no-stop city, these types of simplification of spatial elements aims to produce systems that are quantifiable and reproducible.


Sessions 5-6: On Collage and Photomontage

18 Oct. 2023, 12pm.-16pm.

The sessions review early 20th-century experimentations with collage and photomontage, from Surrealist photography to advertisement, and cinema. We will discuss the emergence of Paper Architecture through early photo montages by Mies van der Rohe, to Ron Herron's Pop-Art collages, and ultimately the composite drawings of the second generation of Russian avant-gardes.


Sessions 7-8: On Salvador Dalí's Paranoid-Critical Method

1 Nov. 2023, 12pm.-16pm.

The sessions review Dalí's artistic Paranoid-Critical method, introduced in his 1935 manifesto Conquest of the Irrational. They then read Koolhass' seminal book Delirious New York both as a response to and further development of the method applied in metropolitan architecture. We further investigate such innovative narrative techniques applied in poetry, cinema and painting. These techniques are revisited not only as representational and descriptive devices but also as research and design tool.


Sessions 9-10: On the transposed landscapes of Zoe Zenghelis

15 Nov. 2023, 12pm.-16pm.

Inspired by metropolitan structures, landforms and abstract tectonics, Zoe Zenghelis' paintings create an unprecedented imaginary; a form of critique that represents reality as an assemblage of selected spatial, political, social and psychological relations. The sessions undertake a close reading Zoe Zenghelis' artistic practice in order to chart the untold history of her collaboration with OMA, as well as her teaching career at the Architectural Association that brought in massive change, not only in the way architectural representation was thought at the school, but also in how it reintroduced painting as a mode of thinking about space, light, colour, and proportion; a fundamental shift in architectural pedagogy.


Sessions 11-12: On Architectural Model and Spatial Imaginaries

29 Nov. 2023, 12pm.-16pm.

The sessions revisit the history of architectural model making and models as tools for "construction of an imaginary". They review critical, artistic, and spatial prac­tices that engage with architectural model not merely as a representational tool, or scaled replica of a reality, but rather as theatres of imaginaries and counter-imaginaries. From Dutch traditional Doll's houses to Do Ho Suh's 1:1 see-through models, these spaces reject any programmes or clients' expectations; they are autonomous projective devices that foster, enable, or direct collective imaginations.


architectural representation, drawing, painting, axomonetric drawing, diagram, code, score, collage, assemblage, model

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the course, the student must be able to:

  • Develop a methodology in making architectural representation
  • Conduct precedent research and literature review based on relevant conceptual and theoretical frameworks, or technical methods
  • Develop structured and critical reflections in reading the historical precedents
  • Make critical reflection in taking informed and consistent design decisions
  • Formulate a set of hypotheses, critical observations, analyses, and reflections in format of a structured writing
  • Produce a sample work informed by the case studies

Teaching methods

The sessions are organised in person with seminars (first half),  and group discussions and tutorials (second half).

Expected student activities

Students are expected to attend each of the twelve sessions and tutorials (2 joint sessions every two weeks); to read the key texts provided for each lecture; to develop case studies; and to complete the written and 'drawn' assignment.

Assessment methods

The submission is a digital document including an illustrated essay of a maximum 1200 words accompanied by a 'drawing' exercise.


The course is assessed in a twofold way (weighing 50/50), next to regular participation in the lectures, tutorials, and discussions:


1-The essay (max. 1200 w.) is structured by a approx. of 300 w. introduction outlining the aims and objectives of the enquiry, studied technique(s) of representation, and case study(ies). The main body of the essay sets up the relevant historical and theoretical framework for the investigation, outlines the criteria based on which the case study(ies) are selected, analyses case(s), and develops key critical observations. The text contains analytical drawings€“ made by the students€“ that dissect, decompose, and examine the case(s). The conclusion discusses the key outcomes; a set of principles and methods of assemblage deployed by the artists or architects, which directly or indirectly served the purpose of the drawings and the idea of the projects.


2-The 'drawing' exercise tests some of techniques and tactics analysed in the seminars or studied by the students in making of a composite (assembled) image that could potentially serve the purpose of the students’ projects in their respective design studios. The technique of representation is free and could vary from analogue drawings and paintings, to digital collages, to physical models. The process will be presented and discussed in group tutorial sessions (second half of each session). The process and the final outcome are digitally documented and included in the submission.



Aling, Michael; Morris, Mark, Worldmodelling: architectural models in the 21st century. Architectural Design, 271 (Chichester, West Sussex Wiley, 2021).

Argan, Giulio Carlo; Lassaigne, Jacques, The Great Centuries of Painting, The Fifteenth Century: from Van Eyck to Botticelli (Skira: Geneva, 1953).

Avvakumov, Yuri, Paper Architecture. An Anthology (Moscow: Garage, 2021).

Basar, Shumon; Truby, Stephan, The World of Madelon Vriesendorp (AA Publications: London, 2008).

Birnholz, Alan C., 'El Lissitzky's "Prouns", Part I,' Artforum vol.8 no.2 (October 1969), 65-70.

Buckley, Craig, Graphic Assembly: Montage, Media and Experimental Architecture in the 1960s (Minnesota: University of Minnesota Press, 2019).

Carpo, Mario, Architecture in the Age of Printing (Cambridge: MIT Press, 2001).

Carpo, Mario, The Working Drawing: The Architect's Tool (Zurich: Park Books, 2013).

Celant, Germano, Andrea Branzi: The Complete Works (London: Thames and Hudson, 1992).

de Dreuille, Simon, 'Les Nuits sans Kim Wilde,' in San Rocco 2, pp. 6-11.

Dali, Salvador, Conquest of the Irrational (New York: Julien Levy Publisher, 1935).

Durand, Jean Nicolas Louis, Précis of the Lectures on Architecture, trans. by David Britt (Los Angeles: Getty Trust Publications, 2000).

Khosravi, Hamed, Do You Remember How Perfect Everything Was? The Work of Zoe Zenghelis (AA Publications: London, 2022).

Koolhaas, Rem, Delirious New York: A Retroactive Manifesto for Manhattan (New York, NY: Monacelli Press, 1994).

Lavin, Maud; Teitelbaum, Matthew, Montage and Modern Life 1919–1942 (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1992).

Mindrup, Matthew, The Architectural Model Histories of the Miniature and the Prototype, the Exemplar and the Muse (Cambridge: MIT Press, 2019).

Mindrup, Matthew; Wells, Matthew, 'The Architectural Model as Tool, Medium and Agent of Change,' Architectural Theory Review, 24:3(2020), 221-223.

Scolari, Massimo, Oblique Drawing: A History of Anti-Perspective (Cambridge: MIT Press, 2012).

Stierli, Martino, Montage and the Metropolis: Architecture, Modernity, and the Representation of Space (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2018).

Vidler, Anthony, 'Diagrams of Diagrams: Architectural Abstraction and Modern Representation,' Representations 72 (Autumn, 2000), 1-20.

Ressources en bibliothèque

In the programs

  • Semester: Fall
  • Exam form: During the semester (winter session)
  • Subject examined: Exquisite Corpse: Architecture Assembled
  • Lecture: 2 Hour(s) per week x 12 weeks
  • Type: optional
  • Semester: Fall
  • Exam form: During the semester (winter session)
  • Subject examined: Exquisite Corpse: Architecture Assembled
  • Lecture: 2 Hour(s) per week x 12 weeks
  • Type: optional

Reference week

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