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Internal Elevations II

An interrogation of the Interior

AD1 Longitudinal Section by Moe Kheir, 2010

AD1 Longitudinal Section by Liz Tjahjana, 2010

AD1 Longitudinal Section by Cat Doo, 2010

A Section is never just what has been cut, but is also what is behind the cut, namely, the Section’s Internal Elevation.

To interrogate, investigate, elucidate, explain, elaborate, and explicate the implications of the building’s interior through the sectional internal elevation.

To interrogate is to ask questions, to examine, to cross-examine, if not also to threaten and torture. To inquire about the interior of the building. What is it like being inside? What can be seen and felt? As noted in the first article on Internal Elevations, the space behind the section is equally if not more important than the sectional cut itself. To investigate, consider, and explore the activities, the configuration of furniture, the material relationships of the various interior surfaces, the areas and modes of lighting; these very aspects which contribute to the interior experience needs to be elucidated, explained, elaborated and explicated. The section exposes a building and provides detailed information about what is happening inside.

A longitudinal section not only highlights the building in relationship to the ground but can also – making use of the length – elucidate a narrative or journey along the length of the building, taking one through a series of circulation spaces, programmatic activities, views out (panoramic backdrops can be used as the background or sky of the drawing), and overall spatial-geometric arrangement. The longitudinal section, supplemented with the internal elevations, a narrative through the building, a sequence (highlighted in a series of cross sections), or a story, could be unraveled or be revealed within its workings.

Ambiguity of Spatial Depth vs Light & Dark

What is bright comes to the front, and what is dark goes to the distance.

Hence what is cut, that is, the structure, is normally the brightest as it occupies the most frontal of planes, and what is receding gets progressively darker into the distance. This way of drawing and perceiving however may conflict with the brightened and darkened patches of particular walls illuminated by natural and artificial light sources. To allow for this contradiction in what is light and what is dark, the walls, that is, what has been cut can be made brighter than the patches of light on the walls, so as to distinguish the ambiguity of lightness and darkness. The key is contrast and gradation, introduce and articulate shade and tone while keeping the distinction between front vs back and light vs dark.

Such a drawing of internal elevation hence brings about the dichotomies of Reality vs Projection and Realism vs Illusionism. A drawing of reality vs a real depiction of a drawn space, that is, a projection. An illusion of light, dark, and depth of space vs the actual lit conditions of a building.

Such an illusion introduces ambiguities of spatial depth, between foreground, midground and background. A space in the distance may be brightly lit, and could be deceptively pushed forwards towards the frontal picture plane. Likewise a darkened space in the foreground may be pushed backwards from the picture plane creating an ambiguity of spatial depth. These seemingly contradictory moves however can still be remedied through the control and articulation of brightnesses and darknesses, as mentioned previously regarding the use of contrast and gradation to keep things distinct.

It is this notion of the frontality of the picture plane which the illusion of spatial depth and its ambiguities come into play, through the advancing and receding of multiple planar surfaces in relation to the datum.

To further explicate the complications of spatial ambiguity, one can decisively and purposely edit, omit or merge the ground “mass” and/or the structural cut. This omission causes the blurring or dissolution of the “structure” and the “mass” of the ground to give the illusion or impression of the space being pushed back from the page – frontal surface or picture plane. As if the space beyond was three-dimensionally yet illusory receding from the page itself.


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