Historically, the ability to draw by hand – both to create precise technical drawings and expressive sketches – has been central to the architecture profession. But, with the release and subsequent popularization of Computer Aided Design (CAD) programs since the early 1980s, the prestige of hand drawing has been under siege. Today, with increasingly sophisticated design and presentation software, from Revit to Rhinoceros, gaining in popularity, the importance of hand drawing has become a topic of heated discussion. Even so, when we published the short article “Hand vs. Computer Drawing: A Student’s Opinion” last week, the number of people offering their thoughts in the comments was far beyond what we expected.
Packed full of idiosyncratically meticulous and colorful illustrations, the book provides a whimsical account of Sydney’s architecture and history. From icons such as Utzon’s Sydney Opera House to lesser known gems like Mark Foy’s building opposite Hyde Park, to the terrace houses of inner city suburbs, All the Buildings in Sydney presents each building with care, detail, and an abundance of charm.
See more images from All the Buildings in Sydney, after the break…
In the debate about how architects – both present and future – represent our ideas, it is easy to find a lot of articles supporting both sides. One can read as many arguments as they want and find valid points supporting both hand-drawing and computer production. One could argue that there is nothing prettier than a well done hand-rendering of a project. Another could say that, although hand-drawing is something that catches the eye, it is not practical at all, takes longer than doing it on the computer and does not allow architects to easily modify it.
There is however another facet that does not come up as frequently as it maybe should: how does this discussion affect students? I believe we lie in a cross-fire, between the idea of what architects do and what they actually do.
Astropad, an app for iOS and Mac, transforms your existing iPad into a professional graphics tablet without the need for additional hardware. Having been developed by Matt Ronge and Giovanni Donelli – both former Apple engineers – the app allows for the iPad to act as a extended trackpad as well as work with most third-party styluses.
A version of this article originally appeared on the Percolate Blog.
In spring of 2009, I graduated from architecture school. At the time, the post-recession economy was rough and not much was happening for architects. With an interest in entrepreneurship and technology, I took a risk and decided to try working at a tech startup. Much to my surprise, I fell in love with the industry and 5 years later, I’m now a Product Designer at Percolate in NYC, a company which produces web and mobile marketing software.
Since my career pivot, I’ve noticed many interesting parallels between architecture and product design. Although the mediums are different, it’s amazing to see how many of the design principles and processes are the same. To some degree, even the tools can be applied to both design industries. In this post, I will discuss hand-drawing, and learn how we apply architecture tools to product design at Percolate.
To paraphrase an old adage, “behind every great building is a great architect.” According to Swiss-based Kosmos Architects, a less familiar version of this might say “beside every great building is a perfectly mixed cocktail.” The firm has revealed a scientifically (un)proven link between alcohol and architecture: ramps, for instance, are often built at an inclination of five to seven degrees, a statistic that correlates to the alcoholic percentage of an average beer. Furthermore, a steep forty-degree roof incline designed to throw off snowfall matches the forty percent alcohol content of vodka used in Arctic climates to keep out the winter chill.
Kosmos Architects has published a series of twelve illustrated postcards, linking iconic buildings with their appropriate drink. A Manhattan for Mies, a Blue Blazer for Zumthor, and a Smoky Martini for Herzog & de Meuron all belong to the series ‘Good Drinks & Good Buildings,’ a booze-soaked comparison of architecture and alcohol, just in time to ring in 2015.
What’s inside SOM‘s martini? Find out after the break
Although his name may not appear in most architectural history books, Sir Kenneth Hugo Adam has influenced architecture for over fifty years. Better known as Ken Adam, he has been responsible for the production design of over 70 films in his career, most notably for his work on the James Bond franchise. The architect of Fort Knox in Goldfinger, the Zero Gravity Satellite in Moonraker, and Super-Tanker Liparus in The Spy Who Loved Me, Adam has shaped architectural design in film since the 1940s.
Adam is the recipient of two British Film Academy Awards, including one for Dr. Strangelove, and in 2003 became the first film production designer to receive a knighthood. He has been at the helm of some of the world’s most well-known and influential films – from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang to Crimes of the Heart – and his drawings are now on display for the first time. In 2012, Sir Adam donated his entire body of work to the Deutsche Kinemathek in his home city of Berlin, where the first retrospective of his work is now on display, entitled ‘Bigger Than Life: Ken Adam’s Film Design.’
Find out more about Adam’s vast body of work after the break
“Cyberspace, filled with bugs and glitches – the components of its natural habitat – will form a completely new and previously unknown location when released into a real city – Cybertopia,” says Egor Orlov, a current student at the Strelka Institute in Moscow. According to Orlov, the physical world is on the brink of a major technological breakthrough that will revolutionize the way architects conceive of space – closing the gap between analog and digital.
Cybertopia - completed while he was a student at the Kazan State University of Architecture and Engineering under tutors Akhtiamov I.I. and Akhtiamova R.H. and nominated for the Archiprix Madrid 2015 - exists as another dimension for Orlov, where fairy tales come to life and science harmonizes with engineering and architectural design. “Future of an Architecture Space. Cybertopia. Death of Analogous Cities,” delves into a fantasy world where the “possibility to fly or walk from one planet to another” becomes an illustrated reality using a combination of drafting-based techniques and a wild imagination.
Enter the hybrid technological-analog world of Cybertopia after the break
For its annual Charity Christmas Auction, this year London‘s Anise Gallery is planning to raise money for Maggie’s, the cancer care charity which has commissioned high profile buildings from architects such as Frank Gehry, Zaha Hadid, OMA, Richard Rogers and Snøhetta. The Anise Gallery’s auction features works by both artists and architects, including four architects who have contributed Maggie’s Centres themselves: Ted Cullinan, Chris Wilkinson of Wilkinson Eyre, and Piers Gough of CZWG, responsible for the Newcastle, Oxford, and Nottingham Centres respectively.
Others featured in the auction include architects Alison Brooks, Peter Murray, Jack Pringle, Christophe Egret, Rab Bennetts Je Ahn and Stuart Piercy, alongside artists including Ben Johnson, Norman Ackroyd and Jeanette Barnes. Until the auction on December 6th, all the works are on display at the Anise Gallery, however online bidding opens on November 26th here - alternatively, check out a selection of the available lots after the break.
With their “Past as Prologue“ symposium – a day of lectures celebrating fifty years of Michael Graves‘ career - approaching tomorrow, the Architectural League of New York is taking a look back at one of its seminal exhibitions which heavily featured Graves’ work. When “200 Years of American Architectural Drawing” launched in 1977, New York Times critic Ada Louise Huxtable said “By any definition… a major show,” adding “here is architecture as it comes straight from the mind and the eye and the heart, before the spoilers get to it.” In memory of the show, the Architectural League has published a selection of essays and images from the accompanying book, including the work of Graves, Peter Eisenman, John Hejduk and Richard Meier.
Check out the Architectural League’s collection of 200 Years of American Architectural Drawing here, and don’t forget to tune in to the livestream of the Past as Prologue symposium here at 9.30 EST on Saturday.
Drawings have long been used as a method for architects to represent their projects. However, architects sometimes make drawings to communicate a sense of space in a deeper and more meaningful way – in a manner that begins to venture into the realm of art. A new exhibition opening at London‘s V&A Museum this Saturday entitled Architects as Artists examines the overlapping relationship between architecture and art, and documents the many ways in which it is used and created.
Pier Vittorio Aureli’s collection of thirty ‘non-compositional’ drawings, exhibited as part of a series entitled The Marriage of Reason and Squalor, will open at London’s Betts Project architecture gallery tomorrow (8th October 2014). The drawings, in development since 2001, are part of an ongoing investigation into “what, in the absence of a better definition, Aureli has described as ‘non-compositional architecture’.” This term, referring to the work of art historian Yve-Alain Bois who was himself prompted by the ambitions of the constructivist artist Alexander Rodchenko, is used to describe works that “aspire to the abandonment of composition and even the self of the artist.” This will be Aureli’s second recent exhibition in London following Dogma: 11 Projects, which was presented at London’s Architectural Association in 2013.
Moleskine notebooks go as hand-in-hand with architects and designers as the color black. Over the years, these creative individuals have hacked and personalized the simple design of the Moleskine notebook, turning it into wallets, key chains, pen holders, and more. In response to this culture, Moleskine recently came out with their own hack called the Moleskine Tool Belt.
The Tool Belt is an add-on that attaches to the cover of their notebooks. It contains several compartments for storing pens, smart phones, business cards, eye glasses, and more. We also have two Moleskine Tool Belts to give away – check out the article after the break for your chance to win!
Over a year ago, we shared a work-in-progress drawing project that captured our imagination with its combination of huge size and meticulously small details. Now, “The Happiness Machine,” Mark Lascelles Thornton‘s 8-foot by 5-foot, three year long drawing project is complete, after over 10,000 hours of painstaking work.
Lascelles Thornton, a self-taught London-based artist who describes himself as “one of those kids that was drawing before I was talking,” created the artwork as a response to the global financial crisis, focusing on themes of socio-economics, consumerism, globalism, resource shortages, urbanism and architecture. We spoke to Lascelles Thornton about his artwork, discussing the themes of the piece and the commitment – or, as he describes it, “emotional engineering” – required for such a colossal undertaking.
For the full interview – and detailed images of the drawing – read on after the break
The 40th Annual Ken Roberts Memorial Delineation Competition, the longest running architectural drawing competition, is now accepting submissions. Entries can be conceptual or final elevations, sections, perspectives, or renderings and may be produced digitally or by hand – or a combination of both.
Frank Ching, the acclaimed author and illustrator responsible for teaching countless students about basic architectural elements, principles, and relationships, is one of the three jurors this year. The jury panel will be attending the awards presentation and lecture, which will take place on Thursday, November 20th in Dallas. This event will be hosted by the Dallas Chapter of the American Institute of Architects, who have been organizing the competition since 1974.
The competition is open to both students and professionals and there are $11,000 in prizes to be won. Entries are due Monday, October 27, 2014 at 5pm CST. For more details, click here.
In this video from our friends at Spirit of Space, Daniel Libeskind talks about his installation for the Venice Pavilion at the 2014 Venice Biennale, entitled ‘Sonnets in Babylon’. The installation deals with drawing, an act that Libeskind believes is “the foundational art, and the mystery and the magic of all buildings and cities.” To Libeskind, drawings are akin to religious materials, communicating meaning without the use of a fixed language and each with its own power to shape the way we understand the world around us. At the end he gives a hint as to why he is so attached to drawings: ”I drew for many years before I even built a building. But I based those buildings that I built on the drawings I made… Every drawing is also a tool for the future.”
Norwegian architect and Pritzker Laureate Sverre Fehn’s original drawings for the Nordic Pavilion in Venice are to be presented alongside Ferruzzi’s monochromatic photographs of the building in an exhibition at the National Museum of Architecture in Oslo. Venice: Fehn’s Nordic Pavilion documents the incredible task undertaken by Fehn who, at the age of thirty-four, won the competition to design the pavilion and subsequently won international acclaim when the building was completed in 1962.
The Draftery, a printed platform to “discuss the role of architectural drawing today”, brings together a fascinating collection of images and words in a publication on three distinct platforms. Figures, Captions and Archive facilitate a multi-disciplinary conversation about how drawings are made and their role in the built environment. Now approaching their third anniversary, how far have they come and where is the project headed?
January 2013 saw the re-launch of The Draftery and the total reconstruction of the project. Their crisp publications now have a strong editorial thread which compliments the carefully curated collections of architectural drawings. Seeking to “demonstrate that drawing, more than mere representation, is a method of acting in the world”, good drawings provide a moment of visual solice in a fast paced profession.