Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Architectural Sketches

Even before Vitruvius, architects have needed to sketch in order to explain ideas.  Today?  Not so much.
sketch by le Corbusier

It's one of those generational complaints: older architects moan that younger ones can neither hand-letter nor hand-draw...  The computer making both skills less necessary.  Notice I say "Less."  I believe (and many artists would agree) a designer thinks using their trained hand, that when you sketch, you're not just recording information - as a photo does - but analyzing and internalizing your understanding.  It's the same mechanism that makes writing your own notes more memorable than photocopying someone else's, but added to that is the effort to really look.  To see.  The sketch needn't be pretty - that's a bonus.

Perhaps the only advantage of the terrible job situation right now for young architects and interns may be that they have time to look, sketch, photograph, and think.  Many good architects will leave the profession - go where there IS work.  But it wouldn't surprise me if, when building resumes, a new generation rises of very thoughtful, dedicated, and determined architects.  Some of which can sketch.

The art of architecture could use that energy.
sketch by Andrew Lewis

I love the economy of this sketch of the Alamo by Andrew Lewis.  You can see the artist thinking through the proportions, the symmetry, the geometries of the building.

ESP at work - my set design apprentice just called to discuss his sketching.  He's at the stage where he's looking for exemplars and is studying Edward Gorey's technique.  And here's an example:
image by Edward Gorey courtesy of Mental Flea Market

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