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7 Early Drawings by Famous Architects

Superstudio, New-New York, 1969. © Superstudio. From the Collection of the Alvin Boyarsky Archive. Image Courtesy of Collection of the Alvin Boyarsky Archive
Superstudio, New-New York, 1969. © Superstudio. From the Collection of the Alvin Boyarsky Archive. Image Courtesy of Collection of the Alvin Boyarsky Archive

Drawings from the private collection of Alvin Boyarsky, Chairman of the Architectural Association (AA) from 1971 to 1990, will be on display as part of Drawing Ambience: Alvin Boyarsky and the Architectural Association. Hosted by The Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture of The Cooper Union from October 13 to November 25, 2015, the free, public exhibit will also feature panel discussions with Nicholas Boyarsky, Joan Ockman, Bernard Tschumi, Anthony Vidler, Michael Webb and Dean Nader Tehrani. Read more about this event and the drawings exhibited after the break.

Open Call: Drawing of the Year 2015

Aarhus School of Architecture, schmidt hammer lassen architects, VOLA, and the Danish Arts Foundation have announced their collaborative competition, entitled Drawing of the Year 2015, which calls for imaginative student drawings, and aims to “celebrate the oldest tool of architects.”

Students worldwide are invited to submit drawings “that inspire, communicate, and engage” with the theme of Sustainability Through Architecture. Thus, drawings “should focus on sustainability and architecture’s ambition to take an active part in the change of our society,” and “should address architecture’s ability to contribute to a sustainable environment on all scales—concepts, utopias, buildings, landscapes, and cities.”

What Does Germán Samper See When He Draws?

Hiding out from the gentle Bogotá rain, a cat with turquoise eyes and a black and white coat prowls along the ledge of an office hidden in the midst of lush vegetation. A large window with a wooden frame filters the light and illuminates the interior: a desk, hundreds of books, manila folders, and backlit pictures. Sitting comfortably in his chair, 91-year-old Colombian architect Germán Samper takes a pencil, presses it to the surface of a sheet of paper, and begins to explain everything he is saying by drawing for us in the most clear and simple manner possible.

Whether he's giving instructions on taking a taxi in Bogotá  or explaining the recent modifications to the historic Colsubisdio citadel, Samper -- a master of Colombian architecture -- can express ideas on paper with an ease that makes us think that drawing might be very simple, but it's really just a great trick.

Perseverance is key and Samper knows this from experience. "I don't understand why architects don't draw more if it is truly a pleasure," he ponders.

After the break, a conversation with Germán Samper and a series of unedited sketches by the Colombian architect.

What Is Sketching in the Digital Age?

Every good design should start with a sketch. The problem, as everyone knows, is that computers are killing sketching. Or are they?

To begin with, it’s questionable whether there really has been a decline in sketching, given the conviction with which so many architects defend the importance of hand drawing. Even for the most technologically savvy architects, many simply don’t see an alternative to the humble pen and paper.

However, this doesn’t mean that all is well when it comes to sketching. Often the hardest part of the design process is to maintain a great concept - usually discovered through a sketch - when translating a design into programs such as Revit which are necessary in modern architectural practice.

Sketching for Architecture & Interior Design

The following is an excerpt from the introduction of Stephanie Travis' book Sketching for Architecture & Interior Design. The book features over 45 sketching and drawing exercises across three chapters (Furniture + Lighting, Interiors, Architecture). Below we feature sample exercises for sketching transitional spaces, building materials and foreground + background. We're also giving away copies for two lucky readers, so read on to find out how to enter! 

Video: Pat Vale's Drawing Time-Lapse Brings NYC to Life

Back in 2012, we found "Empire State of Pen," an amazing video of London-based artist and animator Patrick Vale’s drawing of Manhattan from the perspective of the Empire State Building. Now, Vale has taken a different perspective of the city, this time traveling a bit farther uptown to the Rockefeller Center area. Vale’s new drawing looks south, with the Empire State Building in the center, and the Freedom Tower in the background. To the east you can see the Chrysler Building, and to the west lies the Bank of America Tower in the Times Square area.

Vale started the drawing in December of 2014, when he spent an afternoon in -15 degree weather sketching and taking pictures, which he then took back to his studio to create the piece. The whole process took over a month to complete. Watch Vale's drawing come to life in the time-lapse video above, and view images of his illustration after the break.

Studio Esinam's Limited Edition Prints Capture Elevations from Around the World

Courtesy of Studio Esinam
Courtesy of Studio Esinam

Swedish firm Studio Esinam's new print series depicts "Elevations" of architectural landmarks across the globe. Using minimalist line drawings, the illustrations attempt to "capture the unique feeling of various cities around the world".

Meticulously recreating the facades of landmarks in Berlin, Brooklyn, Copenhagen, Gothenburg, London, Paris, Stockholm, and Tokyo, the growing collection of prints reframes technical drawings as works of art. By distilling iconic facades to their barest and most essential elements, Studio Esinam aims to direct "attention to details that mostly pass unseen."

View selected prints from the "Elevations" series after the break.

Courtesy of Studio Esinam Courtesy of Studio Esinam Courtesy of Studio Esinam Courtesy of Studio Esinam

The Computer vs The Hand In Architectural Drawing: ArchDaily Readers Respond

In the architecture world, there are a handful of persistent debates that arise time and time again: the challenges of being a woman in the field of architecture is one of them, for example; the problems of a culture of long hours and hard work is another. But one of the most enduring arguments in architecture - especially in the academic sphere - is the battle between hand drawing and computer aided design. Both schools have their famous proponents: Michael Graves, for example, was known as a huge talent with a pencil and paper, and came to the defense of drawing in articles for the New York Times, among others. Patrik Schumacher, on the other hand, is famous for his commitment to the capabilities of the computer.

To advance this heated conversation, two weeks ago we reached out to our readers to provide their thoughts on this topic in an attempt to get a broad cross-section of opinions from architects from all walks of life. Read some of the best responses after the break.

What Is The Role Of Hand Drawing In Today's Architecture?

Update: We have now published our follow-up article of readers' responses - see it here.

All the Buildings in Sydney Drawn by Hand

From James Gulliver Hancock, author and illustrator of the All the Buildings in New York book and blog, comes All the Buildings in Sydney, a vibrant guide to Hancock's home town.

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…

Courtesy of James Gulliver Hancock Courtesy of James Gulliver Hancock Courtesy of James Gulliver Hancock Courtesy of James Gulliver Hancock

Hand vs. Computer Drawing: A Student's Opinion

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: Use Your iPad As A Professional Graphics Tablet

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.

The Architecture of Product Design: Cross-Disciplinary Sketching Tools

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.

Drink Like an Architect: Pair your Cocktail with the Perfect Building

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 

Villa Malaparte by Adalberto Libera and Curzio Malaparte / Negroni. Image Courtesy of Kosmos Architects Seagram Building by Mies van der Rohe / Manhattan Cocktail. Image Courtesy of Kosmos Architects Bruder Klaus Field Chapel by Peter Zumthor / Blue Blazer Cocktail. Image Courtesy of Kosmos Architects Palais Bulles by Antti Lovag / Bellini. Image Courtesy of Kosmos Architects

Meet the Film Industry's Most Successful Architect in Deutsche Kinemathek's Latest Exhibition

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

Design of "Zero Gravity" for Moonraker, GB/F 1979, Directed by Lewis Gilbert. Image© Sir Ken Adam, Deutsche Kinemathek – Ken Adam Archive Design of "Launch Complex" for Moonraker, GB/F 1979, Directed by Lewis Gilbert. Image © Sir Ken Adam, Deutsche Kinemathek – Ken Adam Archive Design of "Super-Tanker Liparus and Submarines" for The Spy Who Loved Me, GB/USA 1977, Directed by Lewis Gilbert. Image © Sir Ken Adam, Deutsche Kinemathek – Ken Adam Archive Design of "Maxine Grey Conference Room" for Company Business, USA/D 1991, Directed by Nicholas Meyer. Image © Sir Ken Adam, Deutsche Kinemathek – Ken Adam Archive

Cybertopia: The Digital Future of Analog Architectural Space

"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

© Egor Orlov 6. Housing of the future city. Program section. Image © Egor Orlov 10. Model of the future city. Image © Egor Orlov 29. Postcards from the future. Image © Egor Orlov

Artworks by Architects to be Auctioned for Maggie's Centres

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 BrooksPeter 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.

Untitled by Christophe Egret. Image Courtesy of Maggie's "Cranes at Blackfriars" by Jeanette Barnes. Image Courtesy of Maggie's Untitled by Kyle Henderson. Image Courtesy of Maggie's "Borough Market November 14" by Nick Hirst. Image Courtesy of Maggie's

In Honor of Michael Graves, The Architectural League Revisits 200 Years of Drawing

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.