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H. Giro

Fac. Architecture - Delft University of Technology (NETHERLANDS)
Architects and other designers make use of many different techniques to develop and communicate their ideas. For the most part, this communication process makes use of images.
Images are therefore indispensable during the whole process of design. This includes thus also the beginning phases of this process.
At this stage, the design ideas have not even been conceived yet. The designer plays here primarily the role of researcher. He is a collector and an interpreter of information. He tries to understand and unveil qualities and relationships.
Hereto, mostly through an own subjective approach and making use of different media, the designer documents the urban space. Media such as freehand drawing, film, photography and sound, generate the indispensable notations of the city needed to document, understand and analyze a site.

Our Department of Media Studies of the Faculty of Architecture at the Delft University of Technology (the Netherlands), allows students to look into urban space making use of these different media. Except for freehand drawing, an essential tool for designers, other media such as film can help training and developing our observation and perception skills.
The program Media Studies is arranged along the faculty curriculum based also on the different approaches towards the exploration of space, like a more qualitative and expressive way of description and documentation of space.
Media Studies has offered in the past, an elective based on the idea of the exploration of urban space inspired on textual fragments. These book fragments were selected in accordance with the different feelings they might stimulate. In line with this, our Department also participates now in the Master MSc1 Urbanism “Analysis and Design of Urban Form”.
In this paper we comment the outcome of one of the workshops the Department of Media Studies offers within this Master. During this workshop, the different groups students, of two students each, are all asked to follow the same pre-established itinerary, They are requested to document the urban spaces along the route making use of a digital film camera. In this case, every group is asked to select the shoots they take, according to a specific film genre, such as thriller, comedy, horror, romance or science-fiction. In this way, a different visual portrait of the same route is being produced according in each case, to the proposed ‘filter’.
This technique facilitates the documentation of urban sites and details according to their characteristics, qualities and atmosphere. This all develop into an essential and useful qualitative catalogue of public space.