A while ago I was researching material on the internet for a project about representation in architecture, so I started reviewing the websites of different architecture offices. Several passed quickly, without much notice, however, I found some that kept me completely immersed. I explored and appreciated the sensibilities of their authors, whose penchant for drawings and freehand sketches I hadn’t previously known. Within those libraries of mental excursions, I discovered Alberto Campo Baeza’s drawing library; I loved it so much that I decided to share it with you.
More than 100 drawings, organized in a grid system, are perfectly identified with the essential information: the year and place of execution. Through different strokes and colors, the collection discloses the architect’s projects and design processes, spaces and places.
Also the author of the essay "Draw in the Air," where Campo Baeza reflects on the incidence of technology in the trade as an architect. It proposes the use of the sketch as a universal communication tool for architecture.
"Are you aware of the universality of drawing in the air?" From the first moment of your invoice through new media, our drawings, like our written words, are capable of crossing the entire world in a second. Now we have our feet through Google Earth, and of reaching the moon if the opportunity presents itself, and that universality, real, palpable, effective, fascinates me. "
I decided to ask Alberto Campo Baeza's some questions about drawing in an attempt to find out what the sketches mean for him and how he applies them in his development as an architect.
Danae Santibáñez: What inspires you to do sketches/drawings?
Alberto Campo Baeza: Some time ago I wrote a book called "Thinking With My Hands" because, that, exactly, is what architects do when we draw. The sketches and drawings of an architect are the means by which we transmit our ideas so they can be constructed.
DS: What is the contemporary role of architectural drawing?
ACB: Drawings are the formal embodiment of our ideas. Ideas in architecture must be constructible. And for that the drawings are essential.
DS: Do you consider the drawing a design itself?
ACB: Of course. The hand drawing, the sketch, transmits the proportions. The AutoCAD drawing must add the precision and accuracy it needs to be built. The first is more free. The second is, it must be, enormously precise. In the drawings, each and every one must be solved in every millimeter of the project.
DS: How important is drawing to you in the creative process?
ACB: Drawings are fundamental. That's why I have thousands of drawings. Without drawings, you cannot build well. In addition, the drawings serve to analyze the project and refine it, as if it were a musical instrument.
DS: Do you draw when you travel? If so, could you share an anecdote about the experience of drawing a great architectural work?
ACB: Yes, of course, I draw-- a lot-- in my travels. During the trips, I fill my notebooks with drawings and notes. But more about my own works than the ones I visit.
DS: What advice would you give to new generations who work more with digital tools?
ACB: To draw a lot... that they think and draw, that they read a lot, that they study, that they write poetry, and that they play a musical instrument.