This PhD proposes Sfumato practice as an open work; as a practice of drawing. The research seeks to extend drawing’s poiēsis to practice, to the things it draws, draws with and draws from. In doing so, architecture is shifted to something indeterminate and fleeting, and as such, a mode of discovery with productive uncertainty. This potential for open-ness is explored through close reflection on my body of work.
The research does not assume that architecture rests solely in a building, or in drawings, but within the continuum of materialities and actions that exist between them. This places emphasis on practice as a dynamic process that distils architecture from the complicated conversations drawing and building have with one another. In practice, they are in
chiasmatic relation; they inflect each other through a crossing of their respective media. In this blended view, drawing and building are both part of the practice of drawing.
Drawing is inherently open. It is non-totalising, formative and constantly beginning. This research speculates on how practice can also be open, through being an extended version of drawing. An open poiēsis is sought in the dynamic, formative forces that figure practice. I explore the push and pull between gestures, marks and forms in drawing, and find parallel marks and gestures in building. The research coalesces trajectories for a Sfumato practice that draws in an open way, pursuing poiēsis through a hovering between drawing and building.
This re-sketching asks a central question: how can architecture be practiced as an open work? This triggers a concatenation of other questions: how can built space remain a sketch, in a state of potentiality — ever unfolding and generative; how can intensities between drawing and building be materialised; what is the force and presence of marks that cross between them; what is their non-semiotic, poiētic potential? These questions surround a nascent Sfumato practice, evidenced by my body of work.
This research makes an original contribution to the knowledge of practice through articulating Sfumato practice as an open work. Past work from my practice is reflected upon and new work, completed within the academy, extends questioning surrounding practice’s open potential. The findings of the PhD are evidenced through a combination of built work, installations, curated exhibitions and academic writing. This evidence is imagined as a cloud of relations. The PhD dissertation is organised as a series of movements through this cloud of practice which chart its internal dynamics, distilling formative forces in and between disparate phenomena, as elements in an open work of drawing. Sfumato Variations are distilled from the cloud that point to capacities of open-ness: Marks, Scale, Form, Jolts and Lensing. These build an image of practice as an open work, with drawing and building in sfumato relation to one another.
Examiners: Ms Esther Anatolitis, Dr Sam Spurr Supervisors: Dr Michael Spooner, Dr Anna Johnson