Sofia Krimizi is the cofounder of ksestudio. Originally from Athens, So a earned her architecture graduate degree with honors under the 2009 Fulbright scholarship, and later a post-professional master’s degree from the GSAPP in Columbia University. So a has taught at the University of Philadelphia and Pratt Institute. She is currently a Visiting Critic at Cornell University, Department of Architecture. Challenging the conventions of representation, Krimizi explored X-Ray: The Elements of Drawing at Cornell University during the Fall 2014 semester, with a group of students: Ross Amato (B. Arch. ’15), Shixin Chen (M. Arch. 11 ’15), Edbert Cheng (B.Arch. ’16), Jamie Chow (B.Arch.’15), James B. Hoffman (B. Arch. ’15), Tamara Jamil (B. Arch. ’16), Whitney Liang (M. Arch. ’16), Jing Liu (M. Arch. ’16), Isidoro Michan Guindi (B. Arch. ’15), Apexa Patel (M. Arch. ’16), Eduardo Reims Hernandez (M. Arch. 11 ’15), Cole Skaggs (B. Arch. ’16), Akshay Surana (M. Arch. 11 ’15), Sophia Szagala (M. Arch. ’16), Elena Toumayan (B. Arch. ’15), Whitney VanHouten (M. Arch. ’16), and Anna Walling (B. Arch. ’16).
In the 2014 Venice Biennale, Rem Koolhaas reconstructs — with the book/ exhibition Elements of Architecture — the global history of 15 architectural elements: the ceiling, the window, the corridor, the floor, the balcony, the façade, the replace, the wall, the toilet, the escalator, the elevator, the stair, the ramp, the roof, and the door. Koolhaas considers each one of these 15 “essential elements” to be “domains over which architects have lost almost all control, zones surrendered to other professions.”1

What is the representational counterpart to this statement? If architecture’s essential elements have been lost, what are the essential components of representation that need to be identified and protected as our discipline advances? Our representational counterlist might read something like this: the line, the dot, the dash, the hatch, the tags, the blocks, the whites, the blacks, the grays, the orthographic representation of an impossible architectural state of the plan, the section, and the elevation, and so on.

Furthermore, what is the relationship between Koolhaas’ list and ours ― the list of elements and the list of their representations? How have architectural drawings codified and standardized the way we represent, a window? What about their operation? Is there an abstraction taking place? Or is it merely an effect borrowed by the way we learn and use a language ― any language ― with history and precedent; in our case, the language of architecture?
The notion of notation is present throughout this critical questioning: words, numbers, signs, dots, and hatches inhabit the lines out of which the architectural drawing is made. If, perhaps, we are more aware of the conventions embedded in the language of architecture, we may eventually be able to claim the knowledge of their origin and thus their potential redefinition.

Let us play.

1 “Rem Koolhaas blows the ceiling off the Venice Architecture Biennale”, last modi ed on 5th June 2014. architecture-design-blog/2014/jun/05/rem-koolhaas- architecture-biennale-venice-fundamentals.

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