Klaus Jan Philipp Explores the History of Architectural Drawings from the Middle Ages to the Present

Klaus Jan Philipp Explores the History of Architectural Drawings from the Middle Ages to the Present

Throughout history, drawing has been the essential medium of conveying architectural ideas, operating on multiple levels, from the practical application of serving the construction process to the more artistic quality of expressing a vision and providing an impression of what the architecture will be like. The book Architecture – Drawn, From the Middle Ages to the Present, authored by University of Stuttgart Prof. Dr. Phil. Klaus Jan Philipp, recounts the historical development of architectural drawings, exploring all the different inventions, revolutions and continuities spanning eight centuries of architectural representation.

excerpt from Architecture – Drawn. From the Middle Ages to the Present by Klaus Jan Philipp. Image © Birkhäuser
excerpt from Architecture – Drawn. From the Middle Ages to the Present by Klaus Jan Philipp. Image © Birkhäuser

The new Birkhäuser publication is a reference work on architecture's fundamental medium of communication, the drawing, providing a comprehensive image of the history of its core representational modes. Typologically structured and with numerous exquisite examples of drawings, the book is divided into four main chapters, covering orthographic projections, isometric and axonometric drawing, perspectives, as well as the future of architectural drawings in relationship with the new media. Each representational mode is reviewed chronologically, revealing both a congruence between architecture and the illustration style, as well as the unchanged nature of some drawing types.

The author Klaus Jan Philipp has been exploring the topic of the architectural drawing for decades now, and the book is the culmination of years of exhibitions, lectures and essays covering subjects such as the axonometric projection and the history of the floor plan, combined with a particular interest in Medieval architectural drawing. As the author notes in the book's foreword, a synopsis of the history of architectural drawing from Antiquity to the present represents a colossal undertaking, due to the sheer number of illustrations. Klaus Jan Philipp explains the timeframe covered by the book through the fact that the different types of drawings that inform the architectural communication of ideas up to this day, such as floor plans, elevations, sections and perspectives have all been crystallized during the Middle Ages.


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excerpt from Architecture – Drawn. From the Middle Ages to the Present by Klaus Jan Philipp. Image © Birkhäuser
excerpt from Architecture – Drawn. From the Middle Ages to the Present by Klaus Jan Philipp. Image © Birkhäuser

The book focuses on presentation drawings, rather than sketches, and includes illustrations of unbuilt projects, as the author stresses that, in the historical unfolding of architectural ideas, paper architecture is equally as important as the one that got to be materialized. Exploring drawing as a means of communicating a vision, but also as an object of artistic quality, the publication displays a renowned interest in the artistic expression of the architectural drawing.

"I can only hope that the selection of examples presented here is in fact representative of the history of architectural drawing. What is of central importance for me is that they are drawings of high aesthetic quality, the contemplation of which is a source of profound pleasure."

- Klaus Jan Philipp, the foreword of Architecture – Drawn. From the Middle Ages to the Present

excerpt from Architecture – Drawn. From the Middle Ages to the Present by Klaus Jan Philipp. Image © Birkhäuser
excerpt from Architecture – Drawn. From the Middle Ages to the Present by Klaus Jan Philipp. Image © Birkhäuser

While the book traces the history of architectural representation, it deliberately constructs a framework for a conversation around the state of the architectural drawing today, where these traditional representations are called into questions by the proliferation of new modes of communicating architectural ideas. Whichever the next chapter might look like for the evolution of architectural representation, the book provides an excellent background for further inquiries and new forms of artistic expression. 

"I have great confidence […] in the fact that even today architectural drawing – despite computer-aided design (CAD) and building information modelling (BIM) – has not become obsolete and indeed remains as vital as ever."

-
Klaus Jan Philipp, the foreword of Architecture – Drawn. From the Middle Ages to the Present

Architecture – Drawn. From the Middle Ages to the Present book cover. Image © Birkhäuser
Architecture – Drawn. From the Middle Ages to the Present book cover. Image © Birkhäuser

Architecture – Drawn From the Middle Ages to the Present

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Cite: Andreea Cutieru. "Klaus Jan Philipp Explores the History of Architectural Drawings from the Middle Ages to the Present" 18 Oct 2020. ArchDaily. Accessed . <https://www.archdaily.com/949340/klaus-jan-philipp-explores-the-history-of-architectural-drawings-from-the-middle-ages-to-the-present> ISSN 0719-8884

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