A competition proposal by Alexander Culler and Danny Travis, placed second in Blank Space's recent Fairy Tales competition, is now the subject of a Kickstarter campaign asking whether there is "a way to use architectural drawing to tell a story that was easy enough for everyone to understand?" The team behind the Beautifully Banal comic-zine are now seeking to transform their competition entry into a full-scale publication in order to "combine the intricacies of architectural drawing types with a form of story telling that allows those outside of the field to gain a new appreciation for the buildings and structures that occupy the world."
The project celebrates the beauty of the ordinary (when mixed with a little whimsy) and follows the journey of Phineas the fly. The end product aims to produce an alternate reading of the 'everyday,' in order to showcase how through the correct lens of thinking even the most banal of environments can become a fairy tale. It is a fantastical zine that merges story-telling efforts with rigorous drawing technique, the end result being a product we think that both architectural enthusiasts and story-connoisseurs will love.”
The format of the project is easy enough to follow, as the story progresses through three major architectural programs: residential, commercial, and industrial. Each program is tied together by our protagonist, Phineas, a housefly trying to find his place in the world. Each page is grounded in its own architectural drawing convention, from plan, section, axonometric, to the more obscure drawing types such as the developed surface drawing or dress making pattern. If all of that sounds a bit too academic, the story itself is much more light hearted and easy to follow at a surface level, though the story does make a lot of inter-textual references for careful readers.
We see drawn instances of site plans, floor plans, ceiling plans, elevations, sections, plumbing sections, axons, exploded detail drawings, developed surface drawings, info graphics, multi-view projections, and more. Working in this way uncovers a variety of scales and vantage points to enhance the story, all injected with elements of narrative and character. Knowing more about a place, and all of the nuance that comes with that place, is useful in telling a story that might otherwise be focused on character development only.