ARCH: homeland miniatures: a collective digital travelbook

CONTENT / In architectural education, one of the most common and universal representation technique is central perspective which was discovered during Renaissance period. The rational world that Renaissance offered us helps to create a universal language in the field of architecture and enables to represent our thoughts on space so as to create a dialog between ourselves and others. On the other hand, some other techniques like iconography or miniature drawing reflects another understanding of the world and space per se that could be a new way of representation in our era.


The understanding of perspective in miniature drawing is different from the European Renaissance painting tradition. The scene depicted usually includes different time periods and spaces in one picture. Thus, we may say that miniature drawing is a multi-layered representation. Miniatures are always a part of book, not like a standalone work of art and because of that they are closely related with the context of the book they were included in.


In our “Homeland Miniatures: A Collective Digital Travelbook” workshop, we will make a collective travelbook that represents different cities/countries through miniature drawings of those homelands. Each student will draw a miniature drawing of his/her homeland or the city where he/she is living at that moment and write a short reflection paragraph that is related with his/her drawing. By putting all these drawings together, we will create our collective digital travelbook at the end of the workshop.


AIMS / To introduce a new way of looking and understanding the world around us. To start a debate between “Western” and “Eastern” thoughts. To think on how to represent a city/country through one drawing. To discover the textures, important landmarks and cultural artifacts of a city/country. To discover the multi-layered world of miniature drawings and their fragmented but yet wholistic spatial characteristics. To discuss on the emancipatory character of architectural representations. 


METHOD / The tutor will give a lecture on miniature drawing and travelbooks (seyahatname) and introduce the drawing techniques through various examples. Each student will make one miniature drawing and write a short text about it. The process of the workshop will be as follows:


1st > Introduction of the history and technique of miniature drawings and discussion on different cities

2nd > Each student will start to draw fragments of spaces, textures that are related with their homelands

3rd > Each student will propose a draft layout of his/her miniature drawing

4th > Each student will apply all the fragments and textures to his/her miniature drawing and finalise it and write a text about it.

5th > The tutor will put all drawings together to create the collective travelbook and each student will present his/her page in it at the final crits session. 


SCHEDULE / 2-Week Workshop. Weekly 4-hour class arranged with the students:


March 12th, 2020 (Friday) – 30 minutes – Introduction

March 15th, 2020 (Tuesday) – 2 hours – Fragments of spaces, textures

March 18th, 2020 (Friday) – 2 hours – Layout of his/her miniature drawing

March 22nd, 2020 (Tuesday) – 2 hours – Finalise the miniature drawing and the text

March 26th, 2020 (Friday) – 2 hours – Final crits


EVALUATION / The following will be considered in the evaluation process: 


  • Active participation in discussions and production of drawings
  • Precise drawing in his/her own way
  • Writing a critical reflection text


Bibliography / 


  • Sener, S., (2007). “A SINGULAR ART: A Theoretical and Artistic Survey on Miniature and Hybrid Possibilities of Traditional Arts in Contemporary Art”, Master of Fine Arts in Graphic Design Thesis, Supervisor: Assist. Prof. Dr. Mahmut Mutman, Bilkent University.
  • Avci, O., (2016). “Rethinking architectural perspective through reverse perspective in Orthodox Christian iconography”, ITU A|Z Journal of Faculty of Architecture, 12(2), p. 159-171


MEF University Istanbul (TURKEY) / Ozan Avci (