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a catalog of difference

by Andrew Lucia

A Catalog of Difference is a study of change across material and perceptual environments, be they images or objects, calling attention to those differences which make a difference. Through a series of visualizations this body of work explores formal diagrams that have been meticulously extracted from the gradients of surface curvature and ambient light within their respective environments. The resultant diagrams that make up this catalog are an interrogation into the underlying form of their respective systems. Herein lies a speculation into the role of structured ambient light as a dynamic force, not as artifact, but as having agency within the figuration of objects, environments and images thereof. 

The catalog is divided into three distinct yet related subsets examining planar ambient light, surface curvature, and spherical ambient light. Each of these groups questions a priority given to form versus its appearance. 

Architecture, through its representational tools and design workflows, has predominantly favored the former of these distinctions, in turn giving primacy to line and geometry at the expense of intrinsic capacities of energetic phenomena. The work presented here challenges this bias while deliberately paying favor to formal potentials inherent within the energetic realm, specifically those relating to structured ambient light.

Each visualization in the collection can be thought of as a derivative—a study of the rate of change across a given environment and a shorthand of its character. This body of work operates through an informational framework, with a non-geometric attitude towards space and material within. 

The research conducted for this exhibition was undertaken and supported through the Cass Gilbert Visiting Fellowship in the School of Architecture, University of Minnesota and generously funded therein. A Catalog of Difference was originally exhibited from February 2 – April 30, 2017 at the HGA Gallery of the Goldstein Museum of Design.


Andrew Lucia is a designer, artist and academic currently holding the Cass Gilbert Visiting Assistant Professorship in the School of Architecture in the College of Design at the University of Minnesota. Lucia’s work, research and teaching explore issues of representation, information, geometry and aesthetics with outputs spanning the domains of architecture, design, multi-media, installation, data visualization, formal analysis, image production, and writing. 

Prior to his current academic appointment as Cass Gilbert Visiting Assistant Professor, Lucia was a visiting lecturer and critic at Cornell University, AAP (2011-2015), faculty in Visual Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, School of Design (2008-2011), and was a founding member and Senior Researcher within LabStudio (now the Sabin Design Lab, Cornell) from 2008-2015. Lucia received his Master of Architecture from the University of Pennsylvania (2008) and his B.A. in Architecture from the University of Minnesota (2001). Prior to starting his own practice, Lucia worked on several prominent projects in the offices of Ruy Klein Architects, su11 architecture+design, Keller Easterling, Barkow Leibinger Architects, Yunker+Asmus Architects, and M+A Architecture. 

Lucia’s collaborative and independent works and writings have been published widely including in The Cornell Journal of Architecture, World Architecture, Leonardo Music Journal, Science, Wired Magazine, The International Conference on Information Visualization, ACSA & CENTER.

Andrew Lucia

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