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Aerial visions/ground control: The art of illustrative plans and bird’s-eye views

Abstract

The horizon represents the key datum and perceptual limit within a landscape. As we move, new territories and events cross the threshold of our individual horizons and enter our field of perception. As representations of both the corporeal world and future projections, landscape design visualizations are also conditioned by their horizons. When included in bird’s-eye views, a horizon provides lift and flight; without this critical orienting datum, the viewer may be vulnerable to perceptual vertigo. For the Cartesian projection of illustrative plans, the horizon takes the form of the edges of the page. Here, the frame separates the field of representation from the background world. In analogue representation, the first act was to define the frame before drawing could commence. However, 1:1 scaled digital mapping allows this definitive act to be deferred indefinitely. This results in weak frames that ineffectively decipher the representation of a portion of the world. Because designs are small and landscapes are apparently endless, the horizons of effective illustrative plans and bird’s-eye views are defined with great care. Only then can frames and horizons be graphically transcended.

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