Michael Graves: In Defense of Drawing

  • 03 Sep 2012
  • by
  • Architecture News
© , Denver Central Library

In his Op-Ed for The New York Times, called “Architecture and the Lost Art of Drawing,” American architecture legend Michael Graves laments the loss of in our computer-dependent age. While Graves realizes the usefulness of computer technology to present a final product, he maintains that the act of sketching (particularly those first, fleeting “referential sketches”) is vital to the process of design:

“Architecture cannot divorce itself from drawing, no matter how impressive the technology gets. Drawings are not just end products: they are part of the thought process of architectural design. Drawings express the interaction of our minds, eyes and hands. This last statement is absolutely crucial to the difference between those who draw to conceptualize architecture and those who use the computer.”

Do you think the art of drawing is actually lost? Is drawing vital to the work you do? Or has technology become so sophisticated that it has “rendered” sketching unnecessary?

Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Story via The New York Times

 

Cite: Quirk, Vanessa. "Michael Graves: In Defense of Drawing" 03 Sep 2012. ArchDaily. Accessed 26 Oct 2014. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=269529>
  • Jim

    I think Michael Graves start this piece in a good place – drawing is undeniably a critical element of how designers and architects think. By the end, however, he falls into the trap we see all to frequently with the aging generation of starchitects – an unwillingness to acknowledge that the act of drawing could encompass anything more than the classical methodology of making marks on paper by hand.

    What is perhaps even more frustrating is that I know young aspiring architects who share a similar view of the practice and the field.

  • Josh Conrad

    >As I work with my computer-savvy students and staff today…
    Its not clear from the article if Graves has actually ever used a computer before

  • Ralph Martin

    Computers & software are mere tools to communicate & investigate the creative design & problem solving process that is Architecture. So are pencils, pens, markers, colored pencils, pastels, watercolors, etc, etc. That said, if you do not know how to draw & render by hand you are truly not a designer nor an Architect. The public & clients expect that from architectural professionals as a basic, natural skill & talent. You do not always have access to technology to communicate visually, Programming, design concepts, parti, charettes, etc in front of the public or clients. If you cannot draw, you cannot design…period.

  • Martin Hedin

    People do things in different ways.

    Would a blind architect draw? Would she be a worse architect than anyone else?

    Think outside the box.

  • mybazaar

    Computers & software are mere tools to communicate & investigate the creative design & problem solving process that is Architecture. So are pencils, pens, markers, colored pencils, pastels, watercolors, etc, etc. That said, if you do not know how to draw & render by hand you are truly not a designer nor an Architect. The public & clients expect that from architectural professionals as a basic, natural skill & talent. You do not always have access to technology to communicate visually, Programming, design concepts, parti, charettes, etc in front of the public or clients. If you cannot draw, you cannot design…period.
    mobile

  • tim – newark

    Josh: Very inciteful. I’ve met few architects over 50 who know CAD, Revit, etc. There’s a possibility he’s reluctant to accept the new ways but I do believe in the overall premise of what he’s saying.

    Ralph: I think you are right. I’ve met many designers and pretty much all of the great ones draw as a means of investigation and to work out details. In an office where good architecture is produced a designer will create a stack of sketches probably an inch high every month or so. It’s the best way to communicate ideas within the office and work out variations on ideas and details. I don’t believe, though, that pastels, charcoal, colored pencils, watercolors, etc. are that necessary. A talented architect/artist can communicate anything just as effectively with a soft pencil or pen.

    Martin: Blind architect? Not even worth a response. This will never happen because architecture is a visual medium.

    • DwyerArch

      Maybe it should happen. Architecture should be about the space that is contained, and the experience of that space whether sight is involved or not. By focusing on only one sense as our medium, we have denied it everything else that should be impacting our experience.

    • Martin Hedin
    • Martin Hedin

      Have you tried to google it?

    • Martin Hedin

      Photography is a visual medium. Architecture is something completely else, do you not agree?

      A bad example: The geometry of the roofing for the Beijing Airport was designed mathematically. So you did not need any visual capability to design it. This can be done with any space or geometry.

      I think architecture is more a physical medium, or even a social medium. And architecture can be, it is certainly not in most cases, for every kind of person.

      Are you telling me you have never heard of architecture where smell, tactile sensibility or sound is important?

      There are blind architects by the way. It has happened.

  • SKaiH

    I tend to agree that sketching is still vital to the work architects do. No matter what happens to bring it to its final product, it always begins with a sketch of some kind, whether on paper or a tablet or with the tools mentioned in Ralph’s comment. sketching and designing goes hand in hand.

  • up_today_arch

    I do thing drawings are important! I’m still doing a lot of sketches before projects, it’s different things, software and hands.

  • Vera Platt

    Coming from a varsity who teaches hand drawing as a basis and not only design hand designing, even written reports are by hand – it is the only way to engage with design.

    • Chris

      ….really?

  • Will

    Since when is a mouse and keyboard sufficient enough to describe architectural ideas? And supposed 3d software which forces you to compose in each dimension separately? Computers are more expedient in “realizing” a design, but I have trouble seeing how they make better design tools. Yet.

  • http://www.aresarquitectos.com.mx Ivan

    The People who thik about the hand drawing is lost or died is because they don’t have the drawing or conceptual skill in his architectural beheavior

    • Martin Hedin

      I do not believe that anybody thinks that drawing is lost, dead or unnecessary, but I do not agree with that it is absolutely compulsory.