Detail | Perception | Analogy

Architectural details and inkblot.

photo / provided


The detail is an architectural element that is imbued with several traits: it is an idea, a drawing, a specification, a mediator, and a built item, to name a few. Quite literally, it often serves as an intermediary between the convergences of two or more seemingly unrelated physical elements. However, once removed from the context of its harboring project, the detail becomes a generator for new possibility. While still saturated with all the necessary characteristics, the detail inherently facilitates an individual's ability to perceive a "new architecture" from within it.


"The way we experience the world around us depends on how we perceive it."

~ O.M. Ungers

Developed in 1921, Hermann Rorschach generated a series of inkblots as a device to assess personality based largely on what the individual sees in the inkblot (the content). This idea of utilizing "ambiguous designs" to provoke a response, while now widely accepted in the field of psychology for analyzing an individual's personality was not only implemented by human behaviorists. This process was, in fact, first introduced by Italian Renaissance figures Leonardo da Vinci and Botticelli as a means for generating the perception of order and ambiguity in their work.


Analogies are found comprehensively throughout architecture — from Le Corbusier's house as a machine for living to Aldo Ross's city as artifact — which simply help to convey underlying ideas or concepts. Over the course of modern history, the analogy has taken on a far more important role in architecture than that of solving functional requirements or simple technical issues. The analogy allows one to establish a similarity between two elements that are otherwise completely different.


Displayed chronologically moving from east to west, the south wall consists of the original 10 Rorschach inkblots used to analyze an individual's ability of visual perception.

Displayed as a series of 18 plates devoid of scale, context, and conventions, the north wall aims to address the individual's ability to develop new concepts and perceive entirely new relationships between two integral modes of architectonic representation — the detail and the plan/section/elevation.

Detail | Perception | Analogy was curated by Christopher Battaglia (M.Arch. '17) and Dillon Pranger (M.Arch. '15), with installation assistance from Ade Lawrence (B.Arch. '22), Christian Montanez (B.Arch. '22), and Grace Stover.

Also of Interest

Close overlay