Carl Lostritto
Drawing Database

Computer-Assisted Drawing
The limits of digital computation are as profound as the human eye is powerful. This work is the result of a hybrid approach to computational drawing that positions the human in two key roles: first, that of programmer; second, that of drawing agent...more
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Computational Hatching
In much of contemporary architectural practice and education, representation is a story of dichotomies: the pixel versus the vector; the direct versus the generative; the digital versus the material; and the two-dimensional drawing versus the three-dimensional model. Among the many varieties of architectural lines, the “hatch” garners little scholarly attention. ...more
Hagerty 1.011
Hagerty House 1.011 is an experiment in architectural versioning and representation...more
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The Value of Randomness in Art and Design
Ask a designer or artist if any aspect of their process is random. The answer will likely reveal a complex relationship between human cognition, digital media, authorship, and even conceptions of reality and the divine. For those of us who work in computational media to make art, the question can be even more focused: When and why do you use a "random()" function when you write code? Randomness is not a new concept. For example, a method for random selection—essentially drawing one lot from many out of a helmet—is explained in Homer's Iliad. ...more
Story of a Line
Five images help tell a cyclical story. It begins with a drawing...more
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Spherically Projected Rooms
These drawings represent rooms using spherical projection and a system of hatching. Each line on paper is informed by its position in (3-D) space and position on (2-D) paper...more
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Animate Frame as Pixel
This project is the result of a study and reimplementation of Wade Hokoda's recursive contrast-sensitive image tiling algorithm, which was used to generate the cover illustration of William Mitchell's book more
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Similarly Different Lines, a Computing Drawing Studio
This RISD advanced architecture studio–the third and final in a related series–explores computer programming as a drawing medium. Programming, defined as the design and execution of algorithms, allows designers to tap into the science of computing in ways that more fashionable approaches to digital media (parametric modeling, for example) preclude...more
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Connect 4 Search Trees
These drawings are a representation of the abstract strategy game, Connect Four. More specifically, these drawings represent not only the Connect Four game space, which is as simple as a grid, or the game being played, which would agin be as trivial as that grid in an animate state, but a computational strategy for playing Connect Four...more
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LeWitt's Drawing 46 Version 2.0
The original "Wall Drawing 46” is constituted by its author, Sol LeWitt, with a single statement: "Vertical lines, not straight, not touching, covering the wall evenly." LeWitt’s proto-algorithmic description was then executed by humans, but these new drawings are computed in the Python programming language and drawn with a vintage pen plotter...more
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In a sense this these drawings are “whole world” simulations, but with accurate “real world” forces “incorrectly” applied. The space of the world is two- dimensional, and corresponds to the extents of the paper...more
Slow Plotting for The Draftery
The Draftery is amid the production of their next edition of Figures, which is titled "That then Disappear in the Building of It...more
Surface Drawing Software
This drawing apparatus is part of a large and ongoing project, which aims to explore the role of drawing in architecture outside the confines of convention and representation. An interface was created in the Python programming language between humans and a pen plotter...more
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Cute Little Drawings
First, let’s consider, is such a thing even possible? “Drawing” and “little” don’t usually go together. Drawings are naturally big. The precision and control that distinguishes them from sketches (which are almost always little) tends to require a certain size. There's also the matter of density. If the character of lines are to be read and measured by the eye or any other instrument, some space is required between lines. ...more
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The Definition, Necessity, and Potential of Drawing Computation
Drawing and computation are both loaded and open terms. Separately, they're hard to leverage toward new ideas for design–let alone define in a robust and accurate, and universally acceptable manner–but together, they offer new insights and research paradigms. This essay explores the implications resultant from a consideration of computing and drawing together. The conceptual arguments are presented along side a computing drawing project, which entails the activation of a vintage pen-plotter. In this project, the pen plotter is controlled directly with the Python programming language. The drawings produced are distinct from the image-heavy culture of digital design media. ...more
Rendering Drawing and 3-D Motion
While it is out of the conventional order of operations to render a line drawing, such an operation projects rendering into a conceptual role. If light, optics, and perspective can inform the translation from line in to form, computational knowledge might, at least partially, be emancipated from the need to directly manifest into constructible form...more
Rendering Drawing
Rendering with digital modeling software is now standardized to the extent that it can signify a degree of completion, resolution and digital prowess. Rendered content is easily overshadowed by the cultural implications of rendering. Ironically, what was once a territory in which the “hand of the author” could manifest prevalently, is now serving as a kind of convention, replete with broad disciplinary consistency. This render-as-proof paradigm is unfortunate. Images can express meaning, but only if they don't all look the same. Fortunately, this trend can be subverted without resorting to willed technophobic ignorance. ...more
Paper Space
These plotter drawings involve algorithms that treat the paper as space and ink as object. Part of the larger and ongoing project that explores "Computing Drawing", this work structures line in terms of behavior and appearance...more
Lattice Diffusion
Also known as "lattice gasses," this type of algorithm simulates the behavior of gas and liquid molecules in space. Computing the behavior of a mass, as opposed to calculating the state of individual particles, is strategic from a mathematical modeling perspective...more
Flat Spaces and Deep Planes: Evaluating the Spatial Potential of Two-dimensional Computationally Generated Visual Stimuli
This paper discusses the critical, functional and conceptual implications of a method for evaluating the spatial potential of generative computational drawing as perceived by designers. The method involves the generation of sets of non-representational drawings with common algorithmic structures but different degrees of deviation from a legible order. These drawings are then interpreted by a number of designer-participants who are invited to sketch based on what they perceive. Rather than analyze the results of this experiment, we expose its implicit hypotheses and problematize its methodology. Though this process we provide frameworks for inquiry into the relationship of generative computation and the design process at a time when coding is increasingly pervasive in academia and practice. ...more
Drawn Animations
Architectural representation is almost always static. Drawing by hand with tactile tools is for many architects the ripest territory for thinking. A printed, plotted or otherwise digitally “output” drawing can't engender the same creative behavior. For hundreds of years it has been possible (if not trivially convenient) to mass-re-produce drawings. Only in relatively recent times, however, has digital output become so fast, ubiquitous and complex that the act of committing a design to paper has become a thoughtless and meaningless task. I explore the notion of the durational present–that the moment of perception, our concept of “now” is a period of time rather than a point in time. ...more
Thick Picture Plane
Here's proof that it's possible to be flat and deep at the same time. Given Empson's definitions and typologies of ambiguity in literature, this project seeks to define, using the same qualifiers, a spatial ambiguity of the "seventh" type...more
Collaborative Computation
Four of us (myself, Ben Callam, Matthew Olson, and Luc Wilson), all designers acting as artists, made three drawings with thousands of shared points and vectors. We wrote code to gerate three drawings...more
Threads, Fur, Fabric
The nature of a field of strands allows direct focus on some topics that had been latent in my work and mind for some time. First, representing the individual behavior of agents in swarm (aka "flocking") algorithms, which are usually only perceived in terms of emergent behavior...more
Packing by Searching
In an attempt to move beyond the trope of parametric variation used to describe and explore computation, this short test visualizes the process of searching. Nearly a sub-discipline in itself, searching is far more conceptually weighted and relevant to design than anything that might found...more
Computation Without Computers
This paper documents the implications of using physical media to teach digital design concepts, techniques, values and approaches. With the pedagogy and work of a seminar and studio across two Universities as test cases, this research seeks to prove that a parametric and algorithmic approach to architecture is most fruitfully understood as the connection between logic, mathematics and aesthetics. Students trace the indirect relationships between process and product so as to enable the application of these connections in a non-linear, exploratory and goal-flexible design process. The first phase of student work involves the creation of an image, constructed with ink or graphite on paper, that embodies a parametric aesthetic. Students are tasked articulating and performing operations, such as dividing a curve, packing shapes, and conditional transformations. The hypothesis of this research is tested in more comprehensive projects that follow as environmental forces are resolved through dynamic and ambiguous visual and spatial conditions. ...more
Manual Computation
These posts archive beginning and ending exercises, which bracket a project executed by the students in the Spring 2010 Computer Applications in Architecture course I taught at UMD. Computation at it's most fundamental levels (without computers) isolates the direct affects of an explicitly parametric methodology on design...more
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Quick Screen
This screen was conceived, generated and fabricated with James Han and Joseph Kunkel in 36 hours. Our intention (besides completing the sprint) was to capture and demonstrate some of the inherent tendencies of digital generation and fabrication: variability, part-whole ambiguity, and simultaneous responses to multiple types of forces...more
Parametric Ornament
This project furthers the connection between digital media and architecture through the introduction of historic source material translated to space by parametric and surface-based computational techniques. After identifying an ornamental module students define the geometry with parametric language...more
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Type Space
In the Fall 2009 semester of "Introduction to Digital Media" I designed this project using transformation as the primary device for introducing digital modeling. The role of type here is not superficial: Type is uniquely relevant however, with both literal, metaphoric and historic connections to architectural and digital discourse...more
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Teaching Systems-Thinking with Algorithmic Process
This research investigates how algorithm design and scripting as pedagogy can lead to generalized design ability and understanding. Logical, systematic thinking is considered foundational in developing architectural design aptitude and is explicit when designing algorithms. The course work presented mandates the construction of process rather than product. Scripting is implemented not as a means to an end but rather a medium for exploration. More valuable than formal generator or problem-solver, these scripted designs test direct aesthetic implications. Parameterization is embedded in the exercise and in the outcome. ...more
Scripting Animation, Toward the Capture of Computational Topologies and Articulation of Change
Relationships are amplified and collapsed together as animate surfaces in the formal and spatial manifestation of design parameters. Animation is demonstrated as a medium to express topologies, as each frame is the resultant of a programmed serious of computations, the result of which varies with a parameter: effectively, time. Related conditions are parameterized through the design of algorithms as a means of direct translation into animation. Interrelated forces and limits can conversely congeal into statics with animate qualities. Process and product merge to create a language of phenomenological effects and patterns. ...more
Architecture and Mass Media
This project explores the relationships between design media and communication media. Architecture can serve and support broadcast while itself undergoing critical reflection about it's contemporary capacity projection into the public...more
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Computing Forms and Fields (NASA Building)
Computation can be used to optimize architecture with respect to environmental, graphic, logistical, and legal forces. Parametric, relational, and recursive structures allow the design of relationships rather than the design of things...more
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Learning to Code with Variable Fields
Parametric software is, unfortunately, eclipsing what would otherwise be interesting discourse on the role for math and computation in a non-linear design process. In an effort to put aside the notion of the form-generating apparatus I developed this simple coding framework using Processing...more
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Scripting Surface
Conceptually, these two systems reside in the territory between field and surface. Both are inseparable from the spatial order of a building program and are infrastructural as well as formal...more
Algorithms with Dynamic Parameters
When computation affords fields of operations as opposed to linear operations that produce a single outcome, animation becomes a design medium. These animations are intended to elucidate relationships rather than outcomes...more
Animate Education: Early Design Education Pedagogy
This paper presents a novel approach to the introduction and use of animation and motion graphics in foundation design education. Design inquiry and understanding as generated from, and translated by, movement is the focus. This work explores animation as a design methodology in the first weeks of architectural education. The proposed design exercise discussed here will probe the concept/context and spatial/visual literacy of the learned sense of space-time in architectural design education and representation. Here the digital application of animation and motion graphics is intended to be process driven to encourage students to find an attitude about solutions rather than a solution to the design project. The intention is to examine the relationship between form and space through a structured exploration of movement within a kit-of-parts design project that explores a three-dimensional spatial construct. ...more
Introductory Digital Design Seminar: Thinking and Making
“The purpose of architectural education – as of all education – is not alone to train a student for professional occupation, but is above all to stimulate his[or her] spiritual growth, to develop his intellectual faculties and to enable him[or her] to grasp the nature and meaning of architecture. Any educational program of a School of Architecture cannot be based on the mechanics of the professional occupation but only on the intellectual content of architecture. Our obligations to our students are two: 1. To enable him[or her] through education to develop his[or her] powers of selection by the exercise of judgment. 2. ...more
Animate Topologies, Blending media and architecture
This cyclical process is the temporal (as opposed to geometric) integration of the data, literally translating form into time then allowing that time to frame the adjustment of geometric parameters of the original linear condition. The resulting echo reveals as much about the spatial potential of motion graphics as the patterns embedded in the original, recorded data. ...more
CubeExplorer: An Evaluation of Interaction Techniques in Architectural Education
During the early stages of architectural training, tangibility plays an important role in developing spatial awareness. In such contexts, tangible user interfaces are believed to provide a significant advantage as they combine the affordances of both the physical and the digital world. We introduce CubeExplorer, a hybrid 3D conceptual aid that combines physical interaction and digital modeling in an effort to complement conventional architectural space-training tools (such as physical materials and digital CAD programs). Using a digital pen as an input mechanism, CubeExplorer lets users perform subtractive 3D geometric operations on a simple paper based cube model while observing the resulting model on a display. The tangibility of the model simplifies navigation and command execution, while the digital interface makes it easy for users to explore multiple alternative designs. To evaluate the potential of such an approach, we conducted a user study in a normal classroom environment where students were provided with physical (wooden block), hybrid (CubeExplorer), and virtual (FormZ) interfaces to complete the same assignment... ...more
Tracing Motion
Sequential transformations of motion into perception of space. Formal manifestations appear along the way although the goal is to produce a dynamic related spatial condition with a moving image...more
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Film Form
This is analysis manifest as architecture of Bernardo Bertolucci's Il Conformista, (The Conformist). The scene is rich with overt spatial, human, and political dissonance beginning with the role of architecture as mise-en-scene: Bertolucci uses the outdoor assembly atop Libera's Palazzo dei Congressi in Rome as the location for the insane asylum...more
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