Frascari’s critique of digital image-making

Frascari’s most explicit critique of digital drawing tools so far as I’ve read is that they have a “seductive ‘coolness’”, a fascination often picked up before architecture school. This seduction is, for some, a response to the “striking otherwordliness” of renderings; for others a belief that digital tools expedite and economise on the design process; and

“above all… the belief that digital imagery grants instant legitimacy to architectural proposals through a superficial appearance of completeness without considering that this pseudo-completeness hides a loss of rigour”.

This legitimising effect is tied to the apparent realism of digital images. It’s quite true that, as Frascari writes, we have become acculturated to the veracity of the rendered image:

“photo-realistic representations of future buildings are considered the media of choice that allow architects and clients to make informed decisions. The computer screens that show visualisations of architecture in three dimensions have become powerful ‘crystal balls’ or ‘magic mirrors’ capable of showing ‘truthful views’ of the future”.

While I completely agree that this is the case, and that it’s problematic for good architectural production, I see it as necessitating more intelligent and critical use of digital tools, not as making digital tools innately less useful for the imaginative, “cosmopoetic” tasks Frascari envisages.

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