D. Eugene Egger, The Paradox of Place in the Line of Sight, showcases the pedagogical sketches of Dayton Eugene Egger, the Patrick and Nancy Lathrop Professor Emeritus, Virginia Tech School of Architecture + Design. To Egger, architectural education is a vibrant vehicle for creating and disseminating knowledge across generations. It simultaneously concerns learning from the past and presents possible futures. Egger points to lessons learned from Josef Albers related to the “criticality of seeing” and displaying information. For Egger, these discursive departure points engage both the place of potential discovery and the act of applying knowledge to a given situation and a given context. The book comprises three parts–Gene Egger’s pedagogy as sparked by travels to Europe and North America and its direct impact on students as evidenced through drawing. Essay contributions by Kenneth Frampton, Dayton Eugene Egger, Steven + Cathi House, Mitzi Vernon, Paul Emmons, Mark Blizard, Michael OBrien, Gregory Luhan, and Frank Weiner bridge these three “chapters” and provide critical insights or personal reflections.
This publication is unique from other sketch journals in that its essays define the role of the architect and educator in the development of the design student by not only capturing the historical precedent but by producing emotive drawings that “find the line to capture the essence of a place.” Kenneth Frampton’s Foreword characterizes Gene Egger’s sketches as images that capture the simultaneity of experience and representation. Frampton describes the graphic content of these images as spatial episodes that visually depict a given place from multiple vantage points. As Frampton noted, these “concatenated Piranesian spaces” are invaluable to the American academic architectural vision.
D. Eugene Egger’s drawings embraced as his medium for teaching students about visualizing the world around them and encourages them by translating our naturalistic world to a two-dimensional rendering through the sketch. Egger states that by bringing students from Virginia to the world narrows the gap between the textbook and the classroom. Egger further describes the experience as an extension of the academic environment that enables deeper learning through sensorial experience, rational objectification, and constructive synthesis. The drawings and notations produced during these experiences not only capture the appearance and significance of a place but also convey its presence over time and offers insights into its reinvention.