The main aim of Figuration courses is to make students proficient in using the tools that will enable them to define in material terms an idea for architecture and transmit it. The teaching lays down the theoretical bases and goes on to introduce the working techniques. In other words, students gain a scientific knowledge of the history of art and at the same time, indissociably, the habit of continual practice in using the tools of expressive image-making.
A fundamental element of the teaching of representation in architecture is Gestaltung, which is the discipline that studies the definition of ‘form’, the ‘depiction’ of an idea or a concept. The principle basis of Gestaltung is that ‘the whole is other than the sum of its parts’. This axiom, which expresses an anti-mathematical concept, defines a dimension at the edge of the scientific and objective fields, a dimension in which the most important thing is that which is perceived, not that which is real. Perception is the overall idea of an object and not the object as a physical entity. It is the emotional and cultural dimension that permeates the physical material of an architectural object. This dimension is conveyed, in the field of representation, through the artist’s expressive capacity to employ means of depiction. The artist is capable of transferring a larger amount of information, not necessarily linked to the dimensions or the features of and object, than direct observation of the object itself can achieve.