Do you have any book recommendations that may help with operative design?


My studio this semester revolves around operative design. We will be using a verb to construct most of our projects. I was wondering if anyone has had experience in a studio project with a similar objective, and what readings you referred to. I've been having a little bit of trouble composing a model that very evidently represents the verb I have chosen.

Sep 19, 19 2:15 pm
Non Sequitur

What verb did you choose?

This sounds like a pretty fluffy way to approach design and I can see it being very easy to steer almost anything in your chosen verb's favour.

Sep 19, 19 2:56 pm

discombobulate... Please be discombobulate.


Unfortunately I chose compressing, should've gone with discombobulate. My new word for the next critique is abstracting.


The part that I had trouble with was proving that my model was a representation of compression and only compression. I had to make sure that the juror did not see any other verb in my model. Long story short, he had suggested that my model was actually a representation of extraction and I could not prove otherwise.

Non Sequitur

Thanks for confirming my fluffy comment above. Reminds of my first year studio project where we designed something (we were not doing anything resembling buildings at that point) based on a particular hand motion. I chose crumpling paper. It was fun. I got electrocuted (slightly) while building a large model puppet of the space in action as it crumbled like my motion concept.


I had this prompt in one of my studios. We were asked to choose three words/verbs to develop architecturally as our concept focuses, and then at midterm continue on with the most successful word/verb/concept. I know that there is specifically an operative design book online for purchase, but I've never read that one. I did use LTL's Manual of Section though, which made sense to me for my prompt. I still reference this book for designing. Check out both of these and see if they are interesting to you.

I'm also curious to which verb you've chosen, what did you end up with?

Sep 19, 19 3:35 pm



although my previous word was compression


So what specifically are you attempting to abstract or extract from your mass? Your verb is 'abstracting', so you will obviously be doing that in some shape, form, gesture etc... but for what reason?


And I'm assuming this is a mass. Is it more developed than just a conceptual form?


Yes, it is. The new concept of abstracting does not have to be formed through compressing yet. Although the previous sentence probably didn’t make any sense, on another note, thank you for suggesting LTL’s manual of section. We haven’t gotten to the point of constructing a building for this project yet, but it looks like it will be very helpful for when we do.

Sep 20, 19 2:43 pm

Back in the day, I found Bryan Boyer's "viewmaker" script he shared on his blog incredibly useful for creating section perspectives like LTL's. The linework the script created was easily manipulated in Illustrator to highlight the cut plane and accentuate the perspective. Not sure if it is still available for download or if there is a better way to handle this. 


why wouldn't you choose fail? the inherent contradiction in failure as a goal is fascinating.

Sep 20, 19 9:09 pm

This is what passes for architectural education today? Design a building based on a word: Abstract pseudo-intellectual nonsense. Hey - now there’s a word!

On the plus side ... oh, wait, there is no plus side.  

Sep 21, 19 12:00 pm

Block this user

Are you sure you want to block this user and hide all related comments throughout the site?

  • ×Search in: