Looking at Leonardo: Re-imagining the Figure Ground Problem
Our recent sensibility in architecture highlights multiplicity, transparency, and openness. Design is understood less as the creation of distinct figures, and more as a practice of uncovering the patterns and relationships of inhabited place: its energy and material flows, as well as human activities, needs and desires. Yet our interest in fields need not lead to the rejection of the figure. In this research project I show that the study of Leonardo da Vinci’s drawings as “field” compositions reveals the figure’s essential role as an essential partner to the ground.
I presented this research as a paper at the 27th National Conference on the Beginning Design Student, Lincoln, NE. Titled Field-Making: Re-imagining the Figure Ground Problem, the paper was published in the Conference Proceedings in April 2011. In August 2011, I submitted a more in-depth analysis of this research project to JAE as an essay titled Looking at Leonardo: what beginning design students can learn from the figure-ground problem in art.