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]