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Global Practices: The Art of Sampling—Reflections on Drawing, Data, Information, and Machine Vision

GPN June 2022

Image: Wei-Chun Cheng

  • COST

    Free and open to the public.

  • TYPE

    Knowledge Community



Drawing is not just a representation of architecture, but a form of knowing, a form of discovery. The moment you draw, ideas start to evolve. An act of drawing implicitly displays a person’s mind. The way you draw reflects the way you think. Your drawings will function as a trigger to stimulate your brain to imagine the world differently. However, where exactly did the idea come from? Creativity is an abstract concept. A new idea may come from anything you have experienced, anything you have seen before. When you draw, your hand unconsciously searches for form, shape, color, and texture from your memories. When we design a building, we are always referencing something unconsciously. The style of architecture is distinctly connected to art, politics, economy, or religion in any period of history. Any kind of form, color, or texture could serve a cultural meaning in its visual appearance. In other words, the configuration of the building and the material of the skin contains the spirits of time. Based on this concept, buildings transform into objects that represent something more than an inhabitable space.
Drawing on a computer could be the same as drawing on paper. We could search for forms, envision spaces, and speculate the world through digital space with the assistance of machine vision. AI examines, analyzes, and proposes where your cursor could go next. The imagination is no longer limited by your single past experience, but our collective experience and imagination. A new type of form and space could be created by sampling and remixing from the existing one.

Wei-Chun Cheng is an architectural designer, researcher, and educator. Wei-Chun received his M.Arch degree from Rhode Island School of Design in 2018, where he was awarded the AIA Norton Salk Scholarship for Design Excellence. He has previously practiced in Tokyo, Boston, and Taipei. In addition to his professional experience, Wei-Chun has been an adjunct faculty at the Boston Architectural College, an instructor at RISD, and taught a workshop at The University of Texas at Austin. Currently teaches at Architecture is Free Foundation and AA Visiting School Seoul.
Wei-Chun is obsessed with drawings. His research investigates the role of representation in architectural design, exploring how technique, medium, and technology inform the architect. The research is focused on architectural practices of drawing, drafting, 3D modeling, digital simulation, and artificial intelligence. Wei-Chen is currently working on projects with clients in Taipei, Tokyo, New York, and Los Angeles while advancing his research at SCI-Arc in the MS. Architectural Technologies program.