The Worm’s Eye

Nothing shows the Architect’s mentality more than a worm’s eye axonometric. This seems like a bold and brash comment to make but I feel they sum up the approach certain architects take not only in how the portray their design but how they themselves work through their design.

For me the master of this curious drawing type was Mario Botta. Now any architect could tell you that Botta is obsessive in his love for the simple line axonometric, a quick flick through any of his monographs is an education in how to produce them. But every now and then you will come across a worm’s eye axonometric, most likely from his medium scale projects of the early eighties.

I find these examples of commercial buildings drawn in a style which is only really comprehensible by a keen eye fascinating. They don’t actually show you much in terms of a drawing, the ground floor plan and a few elevations if you’re lucky, I mean a bird’s eye or normal axonometric can convey the entire building form, but a worm’s eye cannot really do that.

So what’s the point in producing such a drawing, well I feel they have a value in terms of the thought process behind them. Botta loves nothing more than showing his buildings as toy-architecture, by which I mean representing a building as a simple three dimensional object that could almost be held in your hand. The worm’s eye shows this object being examined from below and giving the viewer an up-skirt view of the design, one that in reality will never be seen.

In this way Botta and others who produce such worm’s eye views are revealing that they see the building as object, the building as simple form. The toy like nature such drawings show is a reflection of the architects own sense of scale, when considering the building as a whole they can be said to observe it in the palm of their hand.

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