Thesis Idea: Diagramming / Research

Patience. Things are intentionally vague and disconnected right now.  Im intentionally keeping you from designing nor even choosing a material affect.


Purpose.  Have a Thesis Idea /  Question.  This is only a start; don’t be afraid. This will inherently be informed by our work in class and stakeholder conversations.

Method/Approach  Measure.  Map.  Research.  +  Analyze through drawing Create your own language of drawing, ie DIAGRAMMING.

this work is ESSENTIAL to the next step.


Purpose: PDX BCN Attachment, Place Branding and Social Services

ONE Thesis Sentence, with highlighted words:  What is the purpose (idea/question) (you may use or add to the Problems+Potentials), who does it serve and why it is important?   Ex. “The purpose of my project is to_____ for_____  because_____.”  I will respond to each of these ASAP.


We need to move into Analysis.  Your thesis idea/question will guide your analysis research.  You should be so informed and comfortable with the data that your drawings will visualize the data as a tool for analysis.

Consider the analytical diagrams as tools of Seattle Public Library by OMA Koolhaas.  You MUST copy other people’s diagramming methods until you develop your own.  All were stolen from some where.  “A good poet borrows, a great poet steals,” Pablo Picasso.

The thesis idea/question for OMA Koolhaas was “what is in a library?” or “how does a library operate? what does it do?”

The answer was media.  The diagram below lists media types starting with books.  I would like to think that this started as simply an unorganized list of media.

The key step here is graphically starting to differentiate the media (type size) (’2nd degree diagram’) and also helpful is the timeline.  That allows the patterns to emerge later…

this has already entered the phase of 3rd or 4th degree diagram because patterns are being pushed/tweaked.

these were perhaps tests of patterns, relationships.

Casa da Musica similar to escalator at Seattle.  Quality of experience moving between / through the volumes.


Review the Place Branding of Public Space Assignment 01, Barcelona or Portlandcategory posts.  Take ownership of this work and move to diagramming your own analysis.  Start latching on to and extending the research.


Diagramming: Mapping starting with existing conditions

Using your thesis idea/question, what activities for the Soup Kitchen Project (ex. media type for OMA) do you research: sheltering, sitting, the distribution of healthy food, eating, warmth,individuals’ property storage, a recharging station, wifi, and other communication to the public of ‘attachment’ to local identity/branding.


Think broadly and then organize. Print these 11×17 for Friday.   Think of one highlight color with a range of hues/tones.  Repeat ideas/words from your thesis.

‘d’ diagrams (read Zaera Between Diagrams and Matter)– diagrams can lead to NEW ideas in themselves)

– 10 simple ‘d’ diagram hard lined of your thesis idea.

Collage Diagram+Timeline: diagram  texture, plan and time at the site. (Begin to consider your timeline: across day, week, seasons of year, year, decade)

 James Corner

Scenario Diagrams (Art of the Long View) mapping conditions over the site. Catalog of Scenarios of the conditions of your idea (usually verbs ending in ‘ing’): name 3-4; Specific name of EVENT (Tschumi) over day, week or year.  This will lead to your generative diagram for your project!

Foot-Hills, Market Value International Competition, Finalist, 3rd Place, Charlottesville, VA, Speranza Architecture

4th degree Generative Diagram (Lectures 2 and 3 on AAA Server)  Be patient.  This takes time. Go as far as you can.
// 1. “d” diagram (communicate a single relationship)
// 2. differentiate (language of line weight, line type, hue, dot size, line geometry, etc)
// 3. pattern (push differences until a pattern emerges- you should be able to turn off the background)
// …you have a design tool…
// 4. consider something that shifts the pattern (ie, use the tool)

**you may refer to the AAA server for our class where I uploaded to Course Documents/ Week 02/ 222_610 Media Lectures/ Student work_2011 @22 Poblenou_LULU.pdf, especially starting at page 14 to see how Ida Yazdi eventually moved from her question of music/culture as connectivity between workers and residents via sound attenuation as a material affect using vegetation as a medium.  We will get to affect only after we have a purpose. The lecture powerpoints are also found there.

Other diagrams: Think broadly early in the project  (idea from Schwartz in Long View)

Map External forces over time (use the Neighborhood and Urban Room plans as background drawings): Identify, map and diagram existing patterns of your idea over at the site (Latours idea of attachment, Ned Kahn’s identifying wind…)

  • Natural  (wind, light, solar gain, native vegetation, native animals) and
  • Anthropological (history/culture farming and fishing use, manufacturing, residential use, etc **current cultural events in Detroit and the neighborhood including food culture, beer gardens, pop-up art installation, music, etc, see Detroit category)
  • 3 Contextual Images of  local culture. take ownership of images with Photoshop effects.
  • 3 Conceptual Images of your thesis idea/question (abstractly NOT OF PDX BCN)
  • this is important RESEARCH like that done by BIG, MVRDV and OMA Rem Koolhaas.  Include here any bar or pie charts explaining measurable data research for the context or concept of the project.  How is the PROBLEM going to lead to a specific solution for the zone.  Visual RESEARCH!!


Read and write a paragraph for  Zaera, Envelope (reconsider Latour reading)


HAVE FUN. Explore visual communication as tools. PUSH the diagrams. steal methods. Bounce between the types of drawings.  Talk to your neighbor.  Help each other SEE.  Ask them, “what do you see?” without telling them what to look for. This is a way to design an adaptive framework for participation (people).


I promise that a strong idea / project will emerge from this.  The more you put in the more you will get out.  Confidence is a product of convincing oneself of commanding a material of investigation.


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