Wednesday, February 18, 2015


By Stephen Tutka

Let’s take a moment away from relating Batman to architecture like my previous few blogs. Here, I’d like to discuss synthesis. At least, I’d like to discuss my understanding of synthesis pertaining to architecture, more specifically, architecture school.
Let’s look at the definitions of two words: Analysis and Synthesis. As defined by analysis is “the separating of any material or abstract entity into its constituent elements (opposed to synthesis ).” While the same website defines synthesis as “the combining of the constituent elements of separate material or abstract entities into a single or unified entity (opposed to analysis, ) the separating of any material or abstract entity into its constituent elements.” I think it important to point out that the definition of analysis is in the definition of synthesis. This may be because in order to synthesize you must first acknowledge the separate elements. Synthesis happens when you pick and choose information from analysis and apply it in another way. Synthesis is design.
I bring this up because in my first review (which I imagine many blogs are about this week) I had this pointed out to me. Analysis is just gathering information but synthesis is applying that information in a new way. In a sense, that is design. An architect is hired for their expertise in synthesis, in design. That thought brings me back to a question that one of my parents friends once asked me, “What is it that an architect does, anyway?” A few long years ago I would have struggled with that answer because I was still learning (and still am learning everyday) what it was that I was doing. I was analyzing the field, the profession, and the schooling I had. Now, I get to look back on what it was that I was (am) learning and synthesize that information. I get to understand it.  I know how to do many different things and, more importantly, I know how to design.
How then, does this pertain to my first review? I showed my analysis, not my synthesis, and not my design. To have a successful presentation it is important to show process, to show the important parts of the analysis that have been carefully gathered and kept. To re-quote Scott Adams “Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Design is knowing which ones to keep.” (I say re-quote because Arkham Architecture II used this quote). There are certain decisions that are made by designers and architects because of the synthesis they have done after analyzing what research they have done, that is what makes good design. An architect’s job is to show that synthesis because that is how they came about the design, those are their decisions. 

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