Drawing as Epistemic Practice in Architectural Design


  • Jan Bovelet




The essay deals with drawing as a genuine form of knowledge in architectural design. Drawing is described as an epistemic practice enmeshed with historically changing, material spaces of knowledge.

Starting with a brief examination of historic philosophical positions on the epistemicity of drawing, the essay tries to sketch out a tentative heuristic of the epistemic features of drawing from the perspective of symbol and media theory.

In the last part, with reference to Nelson Goodman’s distinction between analogue and digital symbol systems, the digitalization of drawing is critically reviewed. The main point is to emphasize that the transformation of drawing into digital drawing formats always consist of a translation.

It is crucial to take the challenges stemming from the indeterminacy of translation (W.v.O. Quine) into consideration in order to understand both the epistemic restrictions and the potentials of drawing under the conditions of the rising digital habitat.

Author Biography

Jan Bovelet

Jan Bovelet, born 1980, is a philosopher (Mag. Phil.) and architect (Dipl.-Ing. Arch.). He is a member of the architecture/urban design collective urbikon.com in Berlin. Currently he is working for different architectural offices in Berlin and organizing the 4th instance of the exhibition series theanxiousprop.org as one of two co-directors.