A Techné

Mode of the Axonometric

Speaking with a group of theatre people we became aware of a propensity of the axonometric: that it looks at things from the outside – it constructs this box – very much like a theatre stage. It allows the architect to mediate a City-Machine and its components and parts without participating in it.

— in Dynamics of Meaning and On Typology/Mapping Heterologies

This modelling or illusion of placing, we realised, is not unlike CAD and computer simulations. The axonometric momentarily allows us to think from the outside and one could play with a sense of alienation such that an architect could understand, at once, possibilities of inserting into the immanence – amongst affairs of people, their institutions and the shells constructed to accommodate them. In this relation a projection such as the axonometric sets the stage – the aspect of the city – and it is the apparatus by which one constructs Strong Visibilities or Buildings configured in the eye of the Sun.

Studio for a Musician, from John Hejduk, <em>Mask of Medusa&colon; Works 1947-1983</em>
Studio for a Musician, from John Hejduk, Mask of Medusa: Works 1947-1983 Source: Siegfried Bilker


  1. Foucault defines the Greek word techne as a practical rationality governed by a conscious aim’. Foucault generally prefers the word technology’, which he uses to encompass the broader meanings of techne. Foucault often uses the words techniques and technologies interchangeably, although sometimes techniques tend to be specific and localized and technologies more general collections of specific techniques. [Definition © Clare O’Farrell 2007]