Dr Ray Lucas: Drawing Parallels: Knowledge Production in Axonometric, Isometric and Oblique Drawings

  • 1pm - 2pm

  • Adam House, Adam House Lecture Theatre
    3 Chambers Street
    EH1 1HT

Led by Dr Ray Lucas, University of Manchester

This talk will discuss the key arguments from my recent book on parallel projection drawings in 20th-century architecture. Examples are drawn from five architects who made extensive use of parallel projection in the design process­ – JJP Oud, James Stirling, Peter Eisenman, Cedric Price and John Hejduk, each of whom uses the drawing convention in fundamentally different ways. Nonetheless, parallel projection can be understood to underpin their thinking at key points in their careers. Intentions including totality, entrapment, occlusion, indeterminacy and theoretical instrumentality will be discussed via the lens of each office or individual architect.

With reference to anthropological thinking including Alfred Gell, Fuyubi Nakamura and Tim Ingold, the research returns to drawing as a key mode of production. Drawings are copied as part of the process of understanding them, with retracing as a kind of performative re-enactment, enabling the researcher to understand the geometry in a more intimate way. Clearly there are limits to copying as a research method, and the conclusions do not extend to a full inhabitation of the work, but drawing as research can take a number of forms, and the affordances of copying will be addressed. Ultimately, a case is made for why, without privileging manual and mechanical drawing over digital, it is important and useful to draw according to conventions. Whilst an isometric drawing can be produced easily from a 3D-model, the problem-solving capacities of working in axonometric are significant, particularly in concert with orthographic drawing and other conventions.


From January 2020, Dr Ray Lucas will be Reader in Architecture at Manchester Metropolitan University, but is presently based at the University of Manchester. He has a PhD in Social Anthropology with the thesis Towards a Theory of Notation as a Thinking Tool (Aberdeen, 2006) and an MPhil by research on Filmic Architecture (Strathclyde, 2002). He is author of Research Methods for Architecture (Laurence King, 2016), Drawing Parallels (Routledge, 2019), and Anthropology for Architects (Bloomsbury, 2020), and co-editor of Architecture, Festival and the City (Routledge, 2018). Lucas contributed to the ERC project ‘Knowing from the Inside’, led by Professor Tim Ingold at the University of Aberdeen, investigating alternative knowledge production practices. His research interests include graphic anthropology, architectural drawing, sensory notation, film and architecture, and the informal architecture of festivals and marketplaces, with recent investigations into the architecture of Sanja Matsuri (Tokyo) and Gion Matsuri (Kyoto) supported by the Daiwa Foundation.

Free and all welcome