The Berlage


The Architect’s Image

Stefano Milani

The lecture, entitled “The Architect’s Image,” will venture into the vast realm of architectural imagery and its relation to the representation of architectural design. With a view to the theoretical foundations of architectural representation, the lecture will share an understanding of the architectural image as a form of research. This perspective will be reaffirmed by two contemporary and recent significant phenomena: on the one hand, the overexposure and rapid consumption of “pictures” as part of mass media overcoming and replacing imagery’s cultural dimension; and, on the other hand, by imagery’s progressive “scientification” driven by technologies that are commonly used “by default,” without any metaphysical need to comprehend them. The lecture will consider a series of case studies—from Boullée to Dogma —to identify a series of paradoxes that are also a sign of conceptual problems in contemporary architectural discourse.

The Berlage Sessions, a seven-part seminar series entitled “The Architect’s Manners,” explores the profession through etiquette and manners, the contractual distinction between builder and architect, the graphic conventions of working drawings, architects and their relationship to social media, the stylization of imagery, the masculinity embodied in practice, and other ways “mannerism” is enacted by architects today. This fall speakers will include Mary Woods, Bryan Norwood, Annette Spiro, Floris van der Poel, Stefano Milani, Namelok, and Jacob and Samuel Stewart-Halevy.

Stefano Milani is researcher at the TU Delft’s Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment, where he also teaches architectural design studios and theory seminars in the Borders & Territories Group. His Ph.D. research, entitled Franco Purini: The Drawing of Architecture and the Architecture of Drawing, analyzes the theoretical role of the architectural drawing in Purini’s early work Una Ipotesi di Architettura [A Hypothesis of Architecture] (1966–1968). It postulates an idea of drawings as the primary concept, and tool, for a comprehensive formulation of architecture and for its subsequent development. His research interest includes the analysis of artistic languages, notational systems, and, more generally, the relationship between representation and architectural design theory. He is currently working on a book on the Carceri d’Invenzione [Imaginary Prisons] presenting a compositional analysis of Piranesi’s plates produced by the students of the Experiments in Drawing Theory course.

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