Thursday, January 17, 2008

Comics and Architecture?? Part 1.


What can we learn from comics? Comics have a poetic way of telling a story. A combination of graphic and words wraps its audience in a spellbinding story. Whether it is action, tragedy, romance, comedy or drama I believe that comics are telescopes zooming in on own our inner most secrets and desires and manifesting them in graphic form.


How can comics help architects students learn and create?
The graphic tone and composition of comics can help architects out tremendously! From project conception, to board layout, comics lend hints of good story telling techniques. As architects, displaying your work to others, you have to express and sum up the concept and features of your design. The right balance of words and graphics to successfully communicate a story to your audience is critical. Just like we do, comics have to go through the same constraints; and I must say the discipline of making comics is a profession that understands the many different means of story telling. As architects our relationship towards comics is that we use site plans, section, axons and perspectives as tools to explain the story. I believe comics have shown the world another unique and effective way by using those tools. How comics explains and entice its reader, so must we as architects.

Page layout
In the world of comics the only initial rules the reader has is to start from the top of the page and move from left to right. With the freedom of non-convectional ways of telling a story, comics express the correct movement a reader can take. Hierarchy is one way of summing up the graphic language. The placement and proportion of scenes and text blurbs guides the reader from page to page. A question I raise is why can’t we do the same and if we do can we do better? Why not express your work in a media that best captures the audience while highlighting your design? Comics can and should become graphic precedents. Something that we are familiar with is the nine-square page layout. I am not saying that a box layout only limits your story telling techniques because if the project calls for it boxes can be proportioned to give the reader an easy and secure way of reading. It can say what ever you are expressing is equal in importance and in the sequence of process making. A box set up can give balance to a page and utilize its entire space. So please use that technique when and if necessary.




Then you have pages in comics that disregard the safety net of equally proportioned boxes. As seen in these examples there are little scenes that explain the main tone or idea of a particular event. The cool thing is a reader can have a really good assumption of how and what a character is contributing to the story without ever reading the text. I think as architect students should do the same. Comics display a beautiful understanding of graphic hierarchy. They use a poet language to show the reader what the focus is on that particular page. For example, the graphic of a main event or person spills into other scenes forcing you to referring back and forth when reading the rest of the page. The eye doesn’t wonder that much when one scene overpowers the rest. One can surmise comics show different ways to balance a page. Our projects and designs should do the same!







Environments
They live in our world but don’t follow our rules. Super hero’s go places we normally don’t go to sit and contemplate on life. Whether, Sewer, roof tops or hidden caves they see the world in every perspective and angle. A building or series or buildings become apart of their identity and their super power. There is the always classic contemplation pose that a hero will do on a roof top on the tallest building in the city saying, “Hey, I may be a super hero, but my life is crumbling in front of me.” Whether it is bashing a person’s skull through several walls, or using dark allies for escape, the urban environment lends itself as a prop for epic battles. For example Batman would not be Batman if it weren’t for dark allies and Spiderman survives off of the density of urban environments. Also for Spiderman, the cluster and clutter of buildings acts as his web for him in which he moves from scene to scene. From any architect’s point of view, comics give an imaginative and unique way of how one can move through a city or how a building can be used. Have you ever thought if Hollywood has ever respected architecture? We see more and more building being blown-up; like it didn’t take years and year of time and money for that building. All it takes is 3…2…1 ACTION and your nine-to-five job is over with. Comics do the opposite, yeah there is some buildings being blown-up, and some walls being knocked through, but comics can give a accurate account of how man and building can have peek moments of conscious interaction with one another. Comics can preview the consequences of war and destruction of life. Comics should remind the architect to respect and explore their built environment.





One Graphic One Statement
Comics can have a powerful influence on a culture. Then even have the power to express and personify the concerns of a nation. Comics lend them selves to be tools and vessels for political platforms and statements. Comics have a unique nature of turning death into life and despair into hope. The creation of hero’s and villains become the by product of human nature. They express the “what if” in life, the dreams of little boys and girls, while reviling the depth and truth about morality and justice. To my fellow architects and students use comics as a precedent for expressing beliefs and ideals that lay dormant inside of you. Notice that the most powerful statements and ways of expressing feelings and moods are with one full page. Sometime simplicity says more than congestion. With one look you can surmise what the story is going to be about.
























11 comments:

MARKOS said...

efI still remember buying my first silver surfer #1. Interesting read Brandon. In our Represention class we were to creat a comic using still images of a walk through of the Pantheon. We envisioned our story while capturing the architecture of the Pantheon. It is a great way to state ones story through tactical layouts.You should check out some of Lebbeus Wood's work. Hope to see some sweet layouts on future presentations.

Jordan said...

Ya, this is really cool stuff. While I was reading it I was thinking of another element that comics use that we could benefit from. The way they portray motion. The images are static but there is often a lot of action going on in comics. The artists use different techniques to show movement and life captured in a static image. Buildings are static. Maybe we could learn from some of these techniques to give our buildings or our presentations some movement, or life.

HU4 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
HU4 said...

Very good observation, it would be an interesting ideal, if buildings can express motion on paper? I think a key word that relates both comics and architecture is "expression" just like how comics use facial expression for character dramatizing. We use expression as a vessel to articulate a certain facade, corridor or concept.

David Peronnet, RA said...

Well written.

I always had my suspicions that you had an alter ego.

Keep up this line of thinking.

CLEO said...

This was a very interesting reading. i can easily see how the graphics and the layout of the comics are key to capturing the emotions, often intensified or over-intensified for dramatic effect. The cover of comic books are essential to gravitating ones eyes to facilitate a wave of anticipation. Who's Spiderman going to have that battle with? Has Superman met his match? In architecture, the facades of buildings or entrances to buildings, are geared to a similar level of anticipation. Will the exterior complement the interior? What is the atmosphere inside the building going to be like? How will the combination of materials and color inside make me feel? The same can be said for setting the tone of an architectural experience. Good stuff.

MARKOS said...

Had I known you were thinking about things of this nature I would have sent you this awhile ago. It was written and designed by architecture students An interesting read.

http://www.bigheadpress.com/thearchitect

+i said...

fascinating ... i only looked through it briefly, but i'm bookmarking this to read. (i'm on my way to class)... you should really hit up the comic store in Union Station in DC... small place... but they have some hard to find, classic, and amazing comics.

-krissy c/o '06

jhanu said...

im doin a research on this topic...
it wud be gr8 if i can get more material bout this

thnx :)

Umasamba said...

im doin a research on sequential architecture and this topic seems relevant...
it wud be gr8 if i can get more material about this.

thnx for your response:)

Umasamba said...
This comment has been removed by the author.