Why should any 21st Century architect bother to draw by hand? There is, after all, an abundance of readily available digital tools that make pens and pencils seem little more than primeval artefacts. Fondly regarded, perhaps, yet as charmingly irrelevant to contemporary architecture as heavy horses are to today’s farmers or typewriters are to newspaper journalists. And, yet, as the New York architect, historian and conservationist Mark Alan Hewitt is at pains to underline in his studious and polemical new book Draw in Order to See: A Cognitive History of Architectural Design, “Drawing strengthens neural networks and engages cognitive abilities just as playing scales and exercises keep musicians sharp.” Hewitt quotes Nicholas Carr, author of The Glass Cage: Automation and Us who reminds us that “The mind is not sealed in the skull, but extends throughout the body”.
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