Mobilis in Mobili Logo
Axonometric Drawings and Early Modern Thought

A style of drawing is a style of representing the world; the choices one makes when they set up a drawing reveals their method of thinking. Centuries ago, the use of axonometry was as a simpler representation system. In modern times, and with more complex ideas, axonometric drawings convention matured into a rule-set for architectural investigations. In short, and in counter-balance to the Renaissance fixation on perspective, axomonmetry has collapsed viewers’ perception of Cartesian space for over 400 years.

It is the position of this essay is that early Modern architectural theory and drawing styles enjoy a symbiotic relationship. Axonometric drawings are not divorced of motivation, and this quick overview of theories cannot be understood without the drawings it references.

For example, one could argues that the subject of Hejduk and Eisenman’s investigation was the nature in which objects related to themselves. Eisenman boldly claimed this was a frontier of Architecture. In contrast Semper argues in Space, Time and Architecture, that Architecture is simultaneous representations of objects, preserving “the characteristic and invariant constant of the object”. Theses are completely different reasons to use the same drawing system.

Perspective projections, lacking the mind’s-eye that axons do, are not as well disposed to address larger conceptual issues. This paper details several reasons why architects are better served using an axonometric drawing style.