Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Visual Structure

We have a responsibility for what the visual language should include today. We are used to learn in our profession a tradition where we consider the fewer things – or one by one. We need a visual language that talks about the greater number, to make all people and situations visible. The Visual vocabulary; Individual “marking” ,and develop a personal language. It is our signature in the landscape. The totality is more then adding up the different pieces into one.

Here at our school we are operating with a term called DAV (Den Andre Verden = The other World) – DAV is the key to visual understanding. “Visual Structure” is included under this umbrella. Visual Structure is built upon the teaching of form, at the artist academy in Warszawa, by the professor Oskar Hansen*.

We teach visual structure as an introduction to the 1th year students, then more advanced courses throughout the 2th and 3th year, and as group courses in our 2. part the 4th class students. Professor Svein Hatløy who teaches is in collaboration with the other teathers. We will also build one of our courses in part 3, the post-graduate program on our visual structure methods.

Here are some examples from the teaching prosess:

visual structure–drawing:

It could be useful to work on a drawing over a longer period – to learn to see. As one of the traces this is row of practicing, from simple expressions of a few elements in a closed space, to complex expressions in open form with various objects.

visual structure–“form of space”:

As professor Oskar Hansen taught it – Looking and Seeing, this is training the ability of seeing. As with most of the practices in visual structure, this refers to a situation already given, or which is created during the process. Looking and seeing – what makes you choose what you do? Show it!


It is important to create a reflected and controlled relationship between person and object, seeing the object walking around it.

visual structure–contrasts:

Concrete qualities of form characteristics–different types of contrasts between objects. Of size, of shape, of heavy and light, all presented visually.

visual structure–the concept of pressure and tension

visual structure–open form, dynamic expression, continuity and simultaneity.

visual structure–by the great number of elements:

Making a great number of identical elements legible by adding more elements in a visual structure, not taking away existing elements.

The richness in this expression lies both in the number of elements and in their individual identity. To make this comprehensible more elements are added artistically. The readability lies in an expanding order by a visual structuring. The quality of all the forms, as well as the richness of the whole, would get lost if we take away elements to make it readable. An open form as this will loose its qualities if the elements were restructured into a geometrical order.

Oskar Hansen, Architect and artist, professor at the Art Akademi in Warzow (ASP) gave name to the theory ”Open Form” in 1959 on the TEAM X-congress in Otterlo, Nederland. Oskar Hansen have worked directly from this scheme on the different prodjects he and his wife Zofia Hansen has developed. He evolved and clarifyed the visual language through his didactic work, and through his engagement at the sculptural classes by the Art Akademy in Warszawa. He has advanced the subject visual structur and worked in order to make a dialog in between and to incorporate together the different subjects -space/ landscape/ and sculpture. Oskar Hansen had introduced the topic, visual structure and taught the subject Visual structur at BAS.

Line Frøyland, Bergen School of Architecture, 2005