One Drawing Challenge 2021: The 100 Finalists (Part 2)

The Finalists of this year’s One Drawing Challenge tell complex, often poetic stories about architecture and life in 2021.

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Explore a further 25 extraordinary architectural drawings, each one a Finalist in the 2021 One Drawing Challenge. Let us know which are your favorites on Instagram and Twitter with the hashtag #OneDrawingChallenge!

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“The Palaver Tree” by Jonathan Nkunku, ENSA Paris-la-Villette

“A gathering place in traditional Africa, the Palaver Tree is a space where individuals from a community come together to express themselves about life in society. It’s under the shade of the sacred tree that good and bad news are announced. In the light of a global pandemic and with the hope of future treatment, a promise of renewal, we are now able to perceive a less obscure future. The times are indeed conducive to gathering. But how do we come together after being so dispersed ? The tree is an archetype of architecture, the ideal form of what founds a place. Through a section representation, this drawing highlights the importance of the « Palaver Tree» in a community. This tree is materializes by a structure shaped by Man. Nature is our best ally in dealing with our situation and architects have their part to play in this rediscovery.”


“On the Hills” by Jenny Jackson, Research Assistant, Ulster University

“On the Hills is a surreal mixture of Renaissance, Baroque and neo-classical architecture surrounded by a high cliffside. Inspired by architecturally-rich landscapes such as Petra, Athens and Venice, this drawing encapsulates a myriad of styles, places and things. Nature, ever the encroacher, has dominated and grown through and around the buildings in the background. Elegant spires rise into the air. A bridge spans the two sides of the piece, connecting the rocky outcrop with the city proper.

Venetian canals are seen flowing into the distance with a gondola moored alongside. Each house has its own distinctive detail; from the roofs, the door entrances to the windows. This imagined landscape has no strict agenda; it is meandering, fantastical, and captures the beauty of nature and the built environment through the lines of a pen. Inhabitants are those who wish to escape into a world of dreams.”


“Jacobs Ladder” by Dennis Allain

“Trying a more cinematic camera angle with this portrayal of an urban environment. All my work is modeled in 3d using Cinema4D and then the Cinema rendering is imported into Photoshop to be ‘painted’. For this view I wanted to examine a rooftop and its relationship to the urban walls of the city. The pigeons, while help activate the activity on the roof, subtly cascade upward and almost point towards the unusual bridge structure in the sky. The bridge intern ‘tumbles’ down the left side of the urban wall. The illustration also try’s to contrast the antiquities of the classic statues with that of the chaotic structure above.”


“The Whale Monastery” by Glory Kuk, The Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL

“Nestled within L’Esperance Rock in the South Pacific Ocean, and cast from the whale bones scattered across the site, “The Whale Monastery” lies at the heart of this graveyard landscape, where whaling practices took place in the mid-nineteenth century, within the island’s central volcanic crater.

A building created for silence, the denizens of this place walk silently and softly across the sand-covered ground to heighten the sound of the surrounding ocean. Elevated space modules snug closely together with a thin membrane envelope, supported by a water desalination roof to turn seawater into freshwater. Sound tunnels weave through the island and into the building, capturing the sombre songs of the whales that swim nearby.”


“The Water Machine” by Brent Haynes, Manchester School of Architecture

“This is The Water Machine. It is a tourist-oriented spectacle that spans from Liverpool to Wigan. It is an attempt to solve a growing freshwater problem faced in the UK due to an increasing population and a changing climate. The project replaces the M58, an underutilized motorway near the sea, creating a landscape-scaled demonstration that collects and treats water from rain, aquifers, fog and seawater through desalination.”


“Death of the Last Tree” by Olivia O’Callaghan, University College London

“At some time in the future, the Last Tree is dying. It wonders why humanity culled the rest of its kind and what is so special about it so as to be spared. The humans deified this Last Tree due to its singularity and constructed buildings in its image. These duplicated images of the Tree are so numerous – as are the years that have passed since the penultimate tree died – that the Tree no longer can recall who or what it is. This drawing depicts the Tree’s final moments as it looks across to a building which mirrors its own organic form and fractal structures, but the Tree can not recognise itself within its own duplicated image any more.

Its image lives on within the collective unconscious of humanity and buildings continue to be erected in the Tree’s image even when humans have forgotten what a tree was.”


“Grand Central” by Carol Hsiung, fxcollaborative

“No matter how rushed I am to catch my train, when I pass through the many layers and spaces filled with light, ramps, and passageways, surrounded by the energy of the bustling people around me, Grand Central Terminal never fails to impart a magical, uplifting feeling of connection and discovery.

On a typical day, over 750k people flow through the beating heart of Manhattan. They arrive and depart in trains, buses, cars, and by foot. Each individual winds their own path through the terminal telling their own unique story. Often, they’ll pass right by one of the Terminal’s many hidden gems oblivious to the fact of a hovering tennis court above, or a secret Library behind a gray door, or cocktails in the Cambell apartment. For over 100 years, Grand Central Terminal’s thick walls, rich in history and nostalgic beauty, have silently and stoically absorbed the stories into their own.”


“Sutyagin’s house” by Pavel Dikov

“It is a wooden house 38 meters high, towering in the middle of the water. It became the only shelter after the flood that flooded the village. There was enough room in it for all the residents of the village, from time to time the residents try to fix the gradually deteriorating house, but the flood does not go away, and no one knows how long the house will be able to stand.
The first floors housed small farms with animals that were saved. The middle floor was used for craft workshops and a small semblance of a town square. The inhabitants climbed as high as possible. From the top you have a breathtaking view of the endless forests. In such a fragile symbiosis the inhabitants live together with the house, they save the house and it saves them.”


“A(lice) I(n) Www.onderland” by John Clayson, Bartlett School of Architecture

“Using Carroll’s narrative as a tool, the architecture explores how the relationship between the physical and the virtual can be manifested, founded on the notion that humans and machines are beginning to inhabit the world in a similar way.

As an archive of our online interactions, data centres are cultural signifiers of this epoch and provide fertile ground for the study of the physical implications of our online interactions; servers providing a physical metaphor for the way humans inhabit the tower blocks of modern cites. The building is a privatised data bank, the data symbolically stored through VR in a virtual landscape known as www.onderland.

The project acts as a criticism of the way we inhabit cities, arguing that the consumption of 2D images, especially (but not only) through screens, is creating a rift between our physical and online experience of architecture.”


“I’d Rather Be In Wonderland” by Margarita Andreeva, London South Bank University

“Frantically trying to adapt to the current social dynamics due to paradigm shifts following the Covid-19 outbreak remains a challenging task. But what is tougher is facing other inevitable difficulties, like experiencing the negative impacts on our mental health and well-being. These are among the most fundamental issues imposed as a result of the Global Pandemic.
In our collective effort to stay safe and healthy, our ways of interacting and socialising have been affected. We are at risk of inflicting long-term detrimental effects on our mental health, by disregarding short-term negative feelings of disconnectedness caused by those changes.

Keeping the mind stimulated and practising mindfulness during times of forced social isolation and loneliness are important exercises that help alleviate welfare. Art in any form can provide a positive way to spiritually escape to illusory places, where the only limitation is driven by our imagination. Whatever you can imagine is real!”


“Healing Metropolitan” by Sinnie Sinnie, Tamkang University

“The culture of preserving ancient relics in the West District remains unchanged, and the original principle is used to renew it. The entire road between the cities is filled with public spaces. It is not just a story on an urban scale, but a story in everyone’s heart is shown in every corner of the city in a world that is gradually lacking in inner communication. The city that allows people in the city to take care of each other and retain the temperature is displayed in different urban elements.

The sub-cultural space tells the stories in the deep minds of certain people, and when these stories fill the city and form a healing place for an entire area, how will everyone listen to others stories and share their lives in such an open medical space?”


“Inaccurate Reading: Book as House” by Oliver Ansell, London Metropolitan University

“25 Princelet Street, an abandoned Georgian townhouse in Spitalfields, is reimagined as a library of ‘inaccurate reading’, kept by a custodian residing in the attic. Spaces are reorganised to comprise living quarters, an archive, and common room, with vertical vaults traversing and puncturing existing building fabric, utilising architectural discrepancies to frame new readings of space. Each space is to be denoted as a unique character in the reading of the house as book, with architectural qualities lending personal disposition. Proposed routes through trace journeys as if plot lines, devised from narratives of the site.

‘Inaccurate Reading’ describes a personal comprehension of space, distorted by bias and experience, legible whilst open to interpretation. Drawing is guided by narration, allowing for both an interpretative process considering plot, character, and the voice of buildings, and a generative process that proposes the device of story-telling as a design mechanism for programme, content and materialisation.”


“Chapel of Laughter” by Luke Kim, University of Melbourne

“The project Chapel of Laughter speculates on the idea of “comedy as a religion” in response to the social segregation present in the city of Lebanon. The project utilizes “ the attribute of stand-up comedy as a catalyst, allowing minority comedians to openly discuss their stories of mistreatment.

Therefore the project is a hybrid typology between a performance stage and a religious building where it aims to empower the minority comedian by providing preparation spaces and rituals that will help one to overcome their fear of sharing their stories. The section depicts the comedian entering the echo chamber- The comedian deposits her script containing distressing stories of her past, which are left behind with the performance. As the comedian is captivated by the awe of the tower, the sound of laughter from the performance hall echoes in. The comedian seats and embraces the sound before ascending to the stage.”


“Apartheid Wall” by Lena Lahalih, Al-Quds University

“Apartheid Wall, which has drawn international condemnation, cuts deep into Palestinian territory and has resulted in the confiscation of large swathes of fertile Palestinian land, the ghettoization of Palestinian towns and villages, and has cut off thousands of Palestinians from social services, schools, and farmland. It left a lot of tragedies, pain and deaths. However It exist in the 21st century today. “It is time to take it off to view the sun,” the artwork explained.”


“Aquifer of Hope” by Ruqaiyah Bandukwala and Alexandra Gordon, Syracuse University

“This drawing is a depiction of the various intertwined systems of the world that architecture can and strives to incorporate. The render portrays a story of an architecture that is deeply inspired by the landscape, and uses technology, built material, and human intervention to enhance the resources of its site with the overall human experience. Based in central Texas, this image depicts a design that strives to rejuvenate the sites’ natural aquifers as a response to the harsh environmental conditions of drought and flooding.

Material intervention is utilized as a means of reactivating the existing resources and connecting human interaction for awareness to the entire process. Despite the specificity of this location, the drawing displays a broader purpose, responsibility, and potential of architecture that must be adopted in order to revive the eroding relationship between the built and unbuilt landscape and conceivably set forth a better trajectory for our planet.”


“Coastal Caretaker” by emerymcclure architectureMichael McClure Sarah Young Kristi Cheramie, partner, emerymcclure architecture

“In Louisiana, the shoreline is not a line but a plain, composed of marshes, cheniers, and estuaries. In its present fragile state, it serves as the natural storm-surge barrier for multiple urban environments. Flat in elevation, increased storm-action and a 1-meter sea level rise will inundate this barrier-plain and place these urban environments in the Gulf-of-Mexico. The COASTAL_CARETAKERS work to reconstruct the inundated coastal plain repurposing the elevated infrastructure that remains after future sea level rise and storm system actions.

The caretakers clamp to the vertical structure of the abandoned and flooded elevated highways, bridges, train trestles, etc. and cast their nets to capture Mississippi River’s sediment deposits. Over time, these deposits are layered, treated, planted, and then re-deposited actuating the re-formation of barrier islands. This environmental adaptation initiates regrowth of the coastal plain, the storm-proofer for these communities. CARING for this plain is the responsibility of the COASTAL-CARETAKER infrastructure.”


“A Room is not a House or Banham’s Latest Nightmare” by Nicolás Verdejo, Pennsylvania State University

“There was no other choice but to draw. In a year enclosed, our interiors began to be more and more our exteriors, our places of interaction with those who were distant, the space of dissolution of the public with the private. Our rooms were our bubbles, the setting for every fiction or dystopia our imaginations could project, and this was as far as we could go. Banham noticed it, even if we didn’t like it. Starting in 2020, and with more force than ever, our lives began to orbit an endless technological device, a technological nightmare, omnipresent and georeferenced.”


“ELLITANIUM city(in praise of naught)” by hosein mosavi, Elmimos Studio

“Transformation of subcultures and disappearing originality of social lifestyle in traditional buildings.
This drawing is trying to illustrate a perspective of isolated native settlement in future decades.
The struggle of finding a border between technology and traditional structures.
The contrast between the pastures ground and single hight-building with white panels, to provide collective housing.
A forest of wooden columns that holding residential buildings in the high level.
An attractive contrast which comes from facing two different contents, technology, and traditional subculture.”


“Vortex” by endri marku, Polis University

“The drawing intends to represent the fragility of our reality which, most of the time, is too locked in the present. The inherited cities, signs and the superficial order of our civilization gives us the illusion of stability and perennial continuity while our existence is actually only a bubble in between infinite and nomadic spirals of space and time, an urban continuum slowly dissolving, whose orderly structure is incapable to sustain humanity’s descending spiral.”


“The Barnacle” by Dennis Allain

“This is a digital image investigating a chaotic architectural language while at the same time exploring overall shapes that help the viewer understand the composition. The architecture is Leb Woods inspired and is organized in such a way as to help bring the viewer from the top of the mountain all the way down to the exploring character at the water below.”


“Milk Falls: An Architectural Prophecy of Uganda’s Agriculture” by Atim Kilama-Oceng, University of Westminster

“Inspired by Uganda’s natural landscape of hills, waterfalls and agricultural heritage, Milk Falls is a prophecy of what Uganda’s architecture will look like when the country becomes an agricultural superpower.

Milk Falls captures the beauty and the theatrics of processing goats milk. The milk is transported from the milking parlour, down the falls and to the pasteurizers. In the Pasteurizers the cool milk passes through hot tubes. This temperature difference causes the steamed vapour to form also known as Milk Clouds.

It is these Milk Clouds that enhance the landscape views of Milk falls.”


“Propulsive omnibus cluster of architectural dream logic” by Azouz Manachou, University of Manitoba

“This project is an architectural analysis of a passage in Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities – Based on its visual description and spatial organization – to create a city unknown to the eye but subconsciously referencing an architectural world. The outcome is a perspective visual of an expanding world describing an urban order of architectural spaces, to create a reference of spaces that depict real influences in the imaginary description of his journey in a fantastic setting. Each city contains elements of real-world references in an imaginary place and time. The result is a world that is neither in the past nor present nor future. A city that is held in an undefined time and space.”


“Chicago : Drifted” by Gregory Klosowski, Pappageorge Haymes

“This sketch referenced an earlier drawing of Chicago’s Michigan Avenue and reinterpreted it, interweaving a playful range of modular towers, angular flying machines, and drawn out tensile structures that span structures and drift around entire streetscapes. This study playfully imagines a reality that is comparatively nonsensical to our contemporary condition, defying not only gravity but economic and ownership conventions, creating waves of assemblies that blur the historic blocks and obscure the metropolitan grid while accentuating important corridors such as this urban canyon.”


“Darkness on the Edge of Time” by Steven Quevedo, University of Texas at Arlington

““Darkness at the Edge of Time” is an imaginary settlement carved into the surface of an alien planet. The excavation into the ground protects the city from the harsh environment where the upper surfaces of the city reveal heat shields and the spaceship landing docking ports.

The drawing is a series of future architecture based on the dilemmas and challenges facing humankind’s venture into space. The drawing was constructed from a series of collages, developed into a hybrid drawing in Photoshop and then redrawn in perspective to develop the depth. The drawing is speculative in nature in that there are no preparatory sketches but invented in the act of drawing.

The media is graphite on mylar.”


“Garden Atrium” by 寿利 中尾, NIKKEN SEKKEI

“This project’s concept is “water and green of Aso region in Kumamoto, Japan”. I depicted the three-dimensional public space as commercial and garden atrium seamlessly connected, and water flow through entire building. I consulted with landscape architect about plant types and vegetation so many hours and times. It was very hard, but that was shortcut to the correct. The designer evaluated that indoor greenery, including a big wall green, was expressed as instructed and attractive. I think the drawing succeeded in showing the client that every area and floor is valuable and comfortable space.”

Next 25 Drawings →

One Drawing Challenge 2021: Winners Revealed!

These extraordinary drawings form powerful proof that, in 2021, the creativity of the architectural community remains undimmed.

One Drawing Challenge 2021: The 100 Finalists (Part 3)

The Finalists of this year's One Drawing Challenge tell complex, often poetic stories about architec ture and life in 2021.

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