Through his sketches, Renzo Piano communicates the true intentions of his projects, pointing to the specific concepts that will become the protagonists of his works, including concern for the human scale and comfort, solar studies, and dialogue with the immediate environment. We compile here ten projects by the architect accompanied by their sketches, through which it is possible to see how the 1998 Pritzker Prize winner takes his designs from paper to reality.
"How does a thought evolve into a freehand sketch? What is the importance of the interaction between the mind, eyes and hand?“
In the thousands of posts we publish yearly, we have the privilege of seeing a large number of impressive architecture drawings. They are submitted by established practices, architecture students, artists and, occasionally, our readers. From precise, old-school hand drawings to architectural representation that pushes the boundary of collage, photography and digital sketching, drawings hold a particular intrigue in the hearts of architecture lovers.
Since inspiration is at the heart of ArchDaily's mission, we'd like to invite all members to submit their best drawing for inclusion in our 2017 "Best Drawings" post.
Make, the Sir John Soane’s Museum and the World Architecture Festival (WAF) have come together to create a prize for architectural drawing. The Prize recognises the continuing importance of hand drawing but also embraces creative use of digitally produced renderings.
The Architecture Drawing Prize welcomes entries from architects, designers and students from around the world while celebrating drawing’s significance as a tool in capturing and communicating ideas.
If you visit an architecture office today, you may sense a slight change. The days of bulky desktops, ergonomic mouse pads and tower-high stacks of drawing sets are slowly giving way to digital pencils, tablets, and tons of architects’ hand-drawings—both physical and digital. Architects across the globe are clearing their desks, literally, and utilizing emerging touchscreen tools and software for designing, sharing and collaborating. It seems possible that, for the first time in years, the architecture profession could revisit Bernard Tschumi’s “paperless” studio which formed a key part of his tenure as dean of Columbia University’s GSAPP in the mid-1990s. However, this time, “paperless” starts with a pencil, instead of a click.
The ever-growing realm of “post-digital” drawing is currently at the forefront of a healthy dosage of discourse, appreciation and even criticism, as professionals and students alike continue to push the envelope of accepted architectural representation and exchange a waning hyperrealism for the quirks and character of alternative visual narratives. Central to this new wave of illustration is the inclusion and appropriation of specific icons and characters from famous pieces of modern art, selected in particular from the works of David Hockney, Edward Hopper and Henri Rousseau, whose work undoubtedly remains at the forefront of their individual crafts and styles.
Over the following weeks we will be sharing a selection of unrealized student projects, alongside realized schemes by practices who explore representational techniques, in collaboration with KooZA/rch. The aim is "to explore the role of the architectural drawing as a tool for communication" and, in the process, provoke a conversation about the contemporary use, format, and role of drawing.
The representation of architecture is important in the absence of tangible space. Throughout a lifetime, even the most devoted, well-travelled design enthusiast will experience only a small percentage of architectural works with their own eyes. Consider that we exist in only one era of architectural history, and the percentage reduces even further. Many architectural works go unbuilt, and the buildings we experience in person amount to a grain of sand in a vast desert.
Then we consider the architecture of the future. For buildings not yet built, representation is not a luxury, but a necessity to test, communicate and sell an idea. Fortunately, today’s designers have unprecedented means to depict ideas, with an explosion in technology giving us computer-aided drafting, photo-realistic rendering, and virtual reality. Despite these vast strides, however, the tools of representation are a blend of old and new – from techniques which have existed for centuries, to the technology of our century alone. Below, we give five answers to the question of how architecture should be depicted before it is built.
You may know about Lynda.com, the online education platform that hosts thousands of video courses for learning how to use software. But did you know that Lynda also has some great drawing, animation, and design courses? The best part (if you're a current student or local library card owner)? Lynda can be accessed for free from many universities, colleges, and libraries! If your backpack-toting, library-visiting days are behind you, the platform offers a free 10-day trial.
If you're looking to perfect your ability to capture or project building interiors and exteriors, Amy Wynne's hour-long course "Drawing 2-Point Perspective" is a solid option.
This article was originally published by Metropolis Magazine as "Inside The Digital Platform Championing Post-Digital Drawing."
Digital technologies were supposed to kill the drawing. And in an obvious way they did, with CAD displacing hand draughtsmanship long ago. But drawing is more than mere delineation—measured construction drawings—or even the rendering, which has devolved into a mere marketing tool. Indeed, as Sam Jacob writes, it constitutes a fundamental “architectural act” that lies at the core of the discipline’s self-understanding.
Jacob describes a new “post-digital” mode of drawing that incorporates narrative cues, art historical allusions, and software-enabled collage techniques. It recalls Mies’s sparse one-point perspectives and de Chirico’s metaphysical paintings as well as the affected irreverence of Postmodernism. It’s a style popularized by blogs such as KoozA/rch, which was founded by architect Federica Sofia Zambeletti three years ago. We spoke to Zambeletti about the resurgence of architectural drawing and how the style could soon exhaust itself.
Drawing on a touchscreen or trackpad can be a huge pain – but when you’re on the go, sometimes that may be your only option to quickly convey an image. To the rescue, Google has unveiled its latest AI experiment, AutoDraw, which uses machine learning to pair your wobbly doodle with a corresponding artist-drawn image – like autocorrect for sketching.
Currently on display at the MoMA in New York is Zaha Hadid's concept painting for her seminal unbuilt project, The Peak in Hong Kong. The piece was made in 1991, on the edge of the digital revolution in architectural drawing fueled at its heart by the popularization of 3D CAD programs. The painting for The Peak arguably came at the end of the period of architectural drawing for its own sake, and the beginning of a period of scalable, scrollable renderings meant to show the real world. It only makes sense that this new software for image creation would usher in a new style of drawing with a function very different to the previous era: tool and process inherently constrain design by imposing a predetermined agenda for the user's interaction with them.
During this digital period, architects like Lebbeus Woods and Michael Graves, known for their mastery in the art of hand drawing, pushed back against the dominant narrative of hyperrealism in architectural drawing. However, according to Sam Jacob's latest article for Metropolis Magazine, we may be entering an age of "post-digital" representation. In the post-digital, architects return to the convention of drawing, but create new methodologies by reevaluating and appropriating the digital tools of the last few decades. Current techniques within this practice have leaned heavily towards the collage, but research into what post-digital drawing could mean continues in firms and universities.
The following excerpt was originally published in Natascha Meuser's Construction and Design Manual: Architecture Drawings (DOM Publishers). With our industry's technological advances, "the designing architect is not simultaneously the drawing architect." Meuser's manual aims to help architects develop and hone their technical drawing skills as the "practical basis and form of communication for architects, artists, and engineers." Read on for ten freehand drawing exercises that tackle issues ranging from proportion and order to perspective and space.
What is beauty? A few years ago, a group of international researchers sought to unravel the mysteries of human beauty. They used state-of-the-art, totally impartial computer technology and a huge dataset to establish once and for all why particular faces are perceived as beautiful, and whether beauty exists independently of ethnic, social and cultural background; in other words, whether it can be calculated mathematically. The scientists input countless photos of faces from all over the world, each described by survey respondents as particularly beautiful, into a powerful computer. The resulting information, they believed, could be used to generate a face that would be recognized by any human being as possessing absolute beauty. But what the computer eventually spat out was a picture of an ordinary face, neither beautiful nor ugly, devoid of both life and character. It left most viewers cold. The accumulated data had created not superhuman beauty, but a statistically correct average.
Architect and illustrator Diego Inzunza has created a new series titled "Architectural Classics," which presents and analyzes 20 iconic architectural works from the 20th-century. Using a graphic technique based upon axonometric views, the style allows each building to be seen from multiple sides, creating a comprehensive overall interpretation of the architecture.
The Villa Croce Museum of Contemporary Art presents the first monographic exhibition on the work of Cesare Leonardi (Italian, b. 1935). In the course of a career spanning more than four decades Leonardi, an architect and photographer, has continuously challenged the boundary between design and artistic practice. In spite of the recognition gained by his early furniture design, most of Leonardi’s oeuvre has remained little known, even within Italy. Cesare Leonardi: Strutture, organised in close cooperation with Leonardi’s archive, sheds light on an intimate yet multifaceted body of work.
Even with the evolution of technology and the popularization of advanced computer programs, most architecture projects still begin with a blank sheet of paper and the casual strokes of a pen. Rather than simply representing a project, the sketch allows us to examine the project, understand the landscape or topography, or communicate an idea to another team member or even the client. Its main purpose, however, is to stimulate the creative process and overcome the fear of blank paper. Sketches are usually made with imprecise, overlapping, ambiguous strokes, accompanied by annotations, arrows, and lack great technical accuracy and graphic refinement.
Sketches of scale figures can be seen as an architectural signature. These miniature stand-ins for human life not only bring scale and understanding to a sketch, they also offer a glimpse into the architect’s personality. Some designers automatically go for realistic, anatomically correct people, while others have more abstract interpretations of the human body. But what exactly do these predilections say about their illustrator? Read on to find out:
After receiving his education at the Repin Institute for Painting, Sculpture and Architecture in St. Petersburg, Sergei Tchoban moved to Germany at the age of 30. He now runs parallel practices in both Berlin and Moscow, after becoming managing partner of nps tchoban voss in 2003 and co-founding SPEECH with Sergey Kuznetsov in 2006. In 2009, the Tchoban Foundation was formed in Berlin to celebrate the lost art of drawing through exhibitions and publications. The Foundation’s Museum for Architectural Drawing was built in Berlin in 2013 to Tchoban’s design. In this latest interview for his “City of Ideas” series, Vladimir Belogolovsky spoke to Tchoban during their recent meeting in Paris about architectural identities, inspirations, the architect’s fanatical passion for drawing, and such intangibles as beauty.