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The capacity to engage with information held in drawings is vital to the study of architecture. For beginning architecture students to fully participate in this engagement requires the ability to relate to drawings in specific ways through a set of disciplinary conventions. These conventions are not merely about acquiring a knowledge base of architecture. They are also about techniques of reading and interpreting visual information and exercising judgements about that information. The student’s means to ‘find’ architecture in drawing is to learn how to equate knowing with their seeing. This paper concerns the creation and implementation of a set interactive on-line tools designed to enhance learning for beginning students in architecture through the development and practise of skills for reading and interpreting architecture from drawings and images. Already at a remove from the drawing surface, the on-line environment provides a media for critical reflection on conventions of representation and their use by architects – a reflection made possible by the ability of users to manipulate parts of the drawing, dissembling and assembling knowledge in an independently controlled setting. In the making and manipulation of drawings, techniques such as adjustments of scale and reduction of detail perform vital roles in the mobilisation of knowledge. The discussion of these on-line tools and their workings provides an occasion for secondary reflection upon the conventions of architectural representation themselves and the manner in which such representations are not merely products of the discipline but a means of constituting the discipline – a surface situated as a critical juncture between the imagined and the built.
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