THE CASE OF BURNING ARCHITECTURAL DRAWINGS
Since November, 2017, a public issue has been taking place regarding the burning of architectural drawings after digitisation in the Copenhagen City Archive. This issue became polemized with the article by Jes Fabricius Møller on ‘Arkitekten’ online media.16 After this, other media such as ‘P1’ and ‘Politiken’ published criticisms against the City of Copenhagen and the City Archive. Many citizens started to discuss what is the value of architectural drawings, and they also criticise the bureaucracy of Copenhagen Municipality.
Do we need to keep old architectural drawings?
The drawings before using computer-aided design(CAD) have something more than its artistic value. The drawings come from the 19th and 20th centuries, all analogue drawings containing the memory of a period in which thousands of lines from architect’s hand reflect the craftsmanship of construction skills of that time. The lines have remained on paper to allow us re-trace not only the memory of architects, but also the memory of skills, tools, actions and techniques. They constitute an architectural treasure crafted by recent ancestors.
My proposal is to respond positively to the above question: YES! The drawings must be kept. The project of this thesis is then an archive for architectural drawings. This archive should not only be a space for the past which fossilises the memory of our ancestors into latent art pieces, but should also provoke the architectural imagination of future architects.
FORGOTTEN MEMORY AND TRANSFORMED MEMORY
“What is the role of memory in architecture?” This is an overarching question through whole master’s study and led the thesis as an open investigation of a Danish architect and his unbuilt project. With a focused interest in understanding relationships between memory and architecture, it led to diverse theories and became a discovery of the potential of forgotten architecture and analogue drawings, proposing a new space based on memory. Within a depth of understanding an architect, from the theoretical history of his architecture in 20th century, to the existing of his drawings in the present, this project has tried to fill up the historical gap with meaningful examining and dialogue between him and myself. The process of dialogue between the past and the present is the way of research to define the meaning of forgotten memory and to discover the role of memory in parallel.
By using actively the concept of ‘Damnatio Memoriae – Condemnation of memory’ as the method of design, which is the act of erasing, Lunding’s church project has been condemned in the current design, and by doing so, I have brought it to the realm of the remembered. The project enables us to argue that the fundamental elements of architecture act as memories that can be transformed into new thoughts and edifices. It remains an open question the issue of how the latent tradition of architecture can meet the latest technologies. Through the thesis, I positioned myself in between this discordance. The latent tradition can be analogue drawings as a method of design or construction method with such craftsmanship. The latest technology can be CAD/BIM drawings and parametric design corresponding to the complexity of so-called digital architecture.
The thesis is the result of oscillating between the past and the present, between the latent tradition and the latest technology, between the abstract idea and physical architecture.