Screen: The Intersectional Element of Architecture

Change log
Roimpas, Stefanos 

This dissertation provides an architectural examination of the filmic screen as a newly inscribed and ontologically unique element in the discipline’s repertoire—whose emergence was originally predicted by Virilio in 1983 in his plea for a new Alberti or Brunelleschi to deal with its implications but never studied any further. The aim is to determine the screen’s conditions of possibility and discern its key properties in this encounter of surface and space. In other words, I ask not what a screen means but how it can mean anything of architectural significance. Founded upon architecture’s representational discourse, Lacan’s work on the symbolic and a series of design experiments the dissertation examines the screen’s mode of appearance. Namely, perspective projection, where it traces a series of fundamental notions relating to its logic that the screen now spatially demonstrates and utilises as logic for producing (the image of) space. It begins by positing perspective as being a logical mapping of space instead of a matter of sight. Secondly, it discusses the limitation of pictorial illusion and the productive negativity in the suspension of architecture’s signified equivalent to language’s production of undecidable propositions. Then it proceeds to examine the very nature of architecture’s view and relation to the topological notion of outside between immediacy and mediation—between a framed and recorded view—before providing an extensive analysis on the difference between the point of view and the vanishing point. Last but not least, the dissertation explains how the screen exemplifies architecture’s self-reflexive capacity where material and immaterial components are part of the spatial conception to which they refer and produce. The screen is able to unify the architectural object with its process which usually precedes it and in some extreme cases proposes architecture’s process as object. This exploration on the screen exposes and questions some of the most salient features of the spatial conception to which it is now constituent.

Penz, François
Screen, Perspective Projection, Representation, Meaning, Jacques Lacan, Brunelleschi, Peter Eisenman, Michael Webb, Slow House
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Awarding Institution
University of Cambridge
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (1930730)
EPSRC Cambridge Trust