Are sketches still the first and purest manifestation of an idea, or have hand-drawing skills been irrevocably demoted to nothing more than architects’ points of personal pride? Sketching seems to be a dying art form; job ads that state hand drawing as a requirement are practically nonexistent, and, instead of having architects spontaneously come up with ideas on the spot, clients seem to prefer the efficiency of full digital presentations even at the earliest design stages. Most experimentation happens within the pixel range of the average computer screen, leaving no room for the strokes of genius found in quick contour sketches. The proliferation of digital tools has not only pushed out hand drawing, but has also compromised the significance of architectural drawing in general.
The symposium entitled “Is Drawing Dead?,” held at the Yale School of Architecture in 2012, brought together some of the most relevant practitioners and academics to discuss the way emerging design methodologies challenge the discipline. Michael Graves, Greg Lynn, Sir Peter Cook, Patrick Schumacher, Preston Scott Cohen, Marion Weiss, Juhani Pallasmaa and Mario Carpo presented their positions on the matter, which seemed to boil down to another question: Instead of being used as a generative tool, has drawing become a purely representational medium?
Hand drawing seems to be at an extreme end of that discourse but still manages to captivate our imagination and leave us in awe of its visual and conceptual purity. We’ve compiled sketches by 12 architects whose hand drawings have become their visual manifestos and cornerstones of modern architecture. Your challenge is to identify as many of these architects as you can. Note down your answers on paper and then click the link at the foot of the article to reveal the authors behind these emotive sketches.
Share this with your fellow students and colleagues to see how your architectural knowledge compares! Then, when you’re ready, you can check out the answers here. (No cheating!)