One Drawing Challenge 2021: The 100 Finalists (Part 4)

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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“Magical Cities” by Abraham Chacon, OCA Arquitectura

“Mexico is a country of contrasts, when you walk through its streets you can see how the architecture is transformed. Cities seem like a magic cube that adapts to people’s needs, this is part of the magic of a country that seeks to preserve its history with a globalized reality. Walking through its streets can be complicated but at the same time is surprising, the interior spaces open up to the streets and become places for everyone.

I see their cities as a riddle that always has to be solved to be understand.”


“Silk Tales From A Concrete Forest” by Stefania Tsigkouni, threshold studio

“The project is an Athens-based architectural fable that investigates the emerging dynamics of the city, focusing on the numerous interweaving lives of a community within the working-class neighbourhood of Metaxourgeio. The magical-realist story plays with cycles of time as a way of drawing out relationships between humans and the natural world within the city.

Magical elements are used throughout the story as a tool to nurture the themes of displacement, labour, craftsmanship and to explore production and mobility within the social ecology. Reality acts as a trickster and, consequently, causality as an illusion. As the characters grow and interrelate, so do the spaces around them. The building becomes a character in itself, engrained with the city’s mythology, and its ongoing repeated history. It re-uses and re-invents the local vernacular, reinterpreting traditional architectural elements through a narrative-based structure. This drawing shows the lives of all involved inhabitants and their architecture.”


“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.”


“The Barnacle City” by YunHan Gao, Young Guns Studio

“This drawing depicts a vertical city that has gradually been eroded by rising sea levels.

Climate change has exacerbated economic inequality, and The Barnacle City aims to display gentrification as a result of these problems and alert viewers to the need for empathy and compassion for the less fortunate.

The centre of the rendering illustrates a device that expands upward, allowing the population to flow from greater to lower concentrations. The structure allows both the rich and poor to “climb” up in order to survive. However, because of the class divide, only the upper class can inhabit higher levels, abusing their privilege and access to precious resources. As a result of this separation, the lower income populations must cluster on the bottom level. The living conditions there are damp, dim, and crowded. The people also live in constant fear of the next flood that could wash their homes away.”


“Errant water machines: “Tejo viviero”” by Laura Garcia Coy

“Guided by the intuition of errors, the architectural project is modeled through two programs that seem incompatible but fundamental for citizens: water and violence, considering that, in an erratic place like the San Bernardo neighborhood in Bogotá (Colombia), these two things unite us.

This project resists with a Punk attitude to the groundless speculations of the city planners. With this idea in mind, the proposal is to build a series of artifacts that are articulated like a “water machine” to promote more democratic and productive spaces that allow erratic behavior in the city.

This axonometric section it’s from one of the artifacts of the project, called “Tejo vivero”, since it mixes two programs, one as a public plant nursery that takes advantage of the waters of the San Agustin river in a sustainable way. And the other as a place to play “Tejo”, a traditional Colombian game.”


“Loreley & Siegfried” by Ansgar Krajewski and Carolin Beuning, HSD

“…close to the expected landing point. As
first thing that comes into view is Loreley. A slender hull of
steel and the disintegrated structure of the attached boom
slowly visible. Today she floats upstream and Siegfried
lets himself drift comfortably with the current.
With a loud roar, the transformation begins. Slowly steel
into steel. The groaning of the material can be heard far into the city.
The graceful cantilever sits leisurely on the pontoon boat that has rushed over.
The roar of the water grows louder as the machines join
it’s like entering the inside of a whale, a world
which is inhabited by no one else and has its own laws.
After I have overcome several levels, the river bath opens in front of me.
On the surrounding platforms the
delicacies of the Rhine are consumed. After a soothing bath
and a little refreshment, I linger a little longer…”


“Heritage Partiality” by Justin Chong, RMIT University

“This project reinterprets the recollection of spaces before, an architectural collage of different outcomes sharing the same envelope. A restaurant at the frontage narrates the ambivalence of inhabitation with a typology that is certain, the Edmond & Corrigan office on 46 Little LaTrobe Street, Melbourne, and the endeavours to manufacture a relationship with it.

It masks true purpose through insignificance whilst being connected to the storage area of a florist, befitting to link to the back-of-house for an always-empty restaurant. The fragmented artefact disrupts its original silhouette, playing on the edge condition that allows for a spillage of boundaries between entities to generate typologies that seemed familiar yet distant.

The viewing room above acts as an unremovable scar despite the inevitability of working alongside an occupiable façade on the other end that portrays curiosity masked through the familiarity of joinery, transforming elements into the opposition of their supposed function.”


“Great Ocean Beast” by Shi PanYingna Sun Jiaao Wang, University of Melbourne

“The Great Ocean Road is crying in tears of plastic.

Growing local population and rising tourism has tipped the balance between human and environment. Brought along with the prosperity in the economy are tremendous amounts of plastic waste that are left wandering in the wind and sea, only to be fed to careless animals.

The Great Ocean Beast represents a new form of life, acting as the mediator between human and nature. The Beasts are collectively intelligent, collecting plastics from both land and sea while recycling these collections into their own inhabitants, cleaning the environment and thriving on doing so.

This image depicts a dystopian future, where plastic wastes that we produced have taken their revenge and formed the Great Ocean Beast.”


“Losing perspective” by hanlie booyens, BE3 Architects

“Losing perspective….

Inspired by Raphael’s The School of Athens seen as the perfect embodiment of the classical spirit of the Renaissance. A time of rejuvenation, enthusiasm and promise.

Is modern society losing perspective as the cathedrals of hope are flooded with despair? Ignoring the plight of the masses caused by either or both over population and inequity collapse seems inevitable……

@ The Notre Dame, April 2019”


“O City of Lights” by Amna Shahzad

“Cities have been a chest of stories that it fabricates from its users of all kinds, the city of Lahore is no different. Using the medium of storytelling to describe and re-imagine the characteristics of the city as a personal understanding – the drawing is made to reflect the manifestation of narratives as experienced by Faiz Ahmad Faiz stated in his poem “City of Lights”.

“And beyond the fog lies the city of lights, oh city of lights.”

I developed an architectural drawing imaginatively amalgamating the core narrative with a singular motivation – to make people of the future understand the present of the city reflected through its past. This understanding has helped me to realize the importance of creative translation of history, culture, and literature of the character of my beloved City, Lahore.

“Let not night’s assault extinguish desire… tonight when you light your lamps, keep them burning aflame.””


“Gaudi’s ride” by Barley PhillipsKevin Marion John Driscoll Barley Phillips

“This is a fairy tale. We bring Gaudi to this place, in lieu of his demise, he rides a time machine, ultimately ending up at Sagrada Famiglia on Grand Opening Day. He is overcome with joy, and spends the remainder of his time exploring the earth in style.”


“Respatializing the Bookspace of Fahrenheit 451” by Daniel Dickson, Carleton University

“Do we maintain the time to learn from and to dissolve into words, to consider critical reservoirs of knowledge, to uncover prospective framings of the future? Surrounded by the din of globalized new media – of parlour wall streaming video, viral pictorial puns, virtual bedroom conferencing – we are due a rereading of Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451. The following drawing uses the novel-as-site, liberally spatializing while investigating the temporalities transfused via the specific medium of the book. In a perspective-elevation, ‘Book People’ wander through a forest of fragmented virtual stacks, re-calling and re-activating the shelves with our collective narrative. In turn, they examine tragedy – the pandemics, the burnings, the intolerances – and our capacity to learn – through compromise, through empathy, through rebuilding. After all, the stories we write, read and tell are the legs for the stories we create.”


“The Institute of Insta-Sapiens” by Laura Tan

“This building shows how digital consumerism on Instagram has transformed one’s identity and being human means in the digital age. Instagram has changed the way we interact socially, portray, and value ourselves. Ever wondered how we change ourselves to be successful online? The Institute for a new type of human, the Insta-sapiens, shows exactly that.

Ideally situated in public places, the process of becoming a successful Insta-sapiens is designed with stages of concealment and reveal. A concealed core of early preparation evolves to become increasingly translucent to transparent as an interpretation of the process of creation of an image. The human starts hidden, becomes clearer, and finally becomes visible where passersby can view the ‘live’ content and send likes to them. Each floor provides training for an aspect of what is now important as a person on Instagram, through physical toning, surgical alterations, styling, and social etiquette.”


“Today’s solutions, tomorrow’s problems” by Gianfranco Del Longo, PopLab

“By insulating all our buildings to make them “more efficient”, in most cases we are basically wrapping them in plastic, once again choosing fossil resources to produce a material that does not breathe and whose disposal will burden our children for decades. Is this the choice we really want to take?”


“The Seamstress’ Workroom” by Sachini Jayasena, University of Greenwich

“My proposal examines the evolution of domestic space, post-colonial identity and religious practice of the Sri Lankan Buddhist community in Enfield, North London. The project delves into the speculative design of a future Sri Lankan British community through an ad-hocist approach and how the town would begin to function to suit the festivities of the community. In particular Escala Perahera, which is an annual event, that consists of dressed elephants that parade the streets carrying ancient Buddhist relics. The hybridity of this event and the British town begins to emulate the Sri Lankan British experience through material and spatial ideas.

The town is decorated and designed through the Seamstress, who also provides beautiful fabrics that are worn by the dressed elephants. The Seamstress brings together Sri Lankan and British patterns to create new hybrid wallpapers and cloths. Their workroom is adorned with all of their creations.”


“View of the World from Main Street” by Jay Schairbaum, University of Michigan

“In many ways, America is a landscape of localities, both connected and distinguished by unique systems of infrastructure and manufacturing. These conduits behave as filters to how global factors might be perceived at the scale of cities and towns. They create a prototypical model resulting in a sort of ubiquity seen throughout the country in nostalgic townscapes, catalog homes, franchised establishments, and suburban subdivisions.

From this perspective, we see how the effects of globalization make their way to Main Street. Energy usage is perceived through gas prices, food consumption through chain restaurants, and commodities through big box stores. Yet, Main Street offers more than such a caricature implies. What is gained from a vantage point positioning “Flyover Country” at its center is a direct challenge to that pejorative notion. Through an appreciation of its vitality, Main Street is able to be exhibited and celebrated.”


“Urban Connector” by SOK HO, University of Pennsylvania

“According to the Philadelphia Garden Data Collaborative, hundreds of Philadelphians are growing food on their land; however, urban development replaced many urban farms, and Philadelphians’ farmers are therefore threatened. At the same time, people living in the urban context do not have many opportunities to see the growth of local food.

Urban Connector is a project that connects the existing urban farms to our site. The urban farm associates with the market and communal kitchens provide space for people to observe the process of food, sharing food, and cooking healthy organic food.

The market also promotes local culture by providing space for local businesses that supply local goods and artworks.
The billboard structure was designed to hold up green walls that celebrate local plants and occasionally showcase local art pieces. It brings transparency and natural light to the people.”


“The Debate Chamber” by Edwin maliakkal

“We live in an age where one can experience space both through physical and virtual realities. Our cognition extends beyond our bodies. Our surroundings become an extension of our minds, the stage on which we dance to the rhythms that line the walls, trace the light that reveals the soul. We become the space we experience. Architecture, therefore, ceases to simply exist within built reality, and instead, fabricates a hyperreal landscape in our minds that we perceive as reality.

The debate chamber becomes an architectural response to the above statement and a reaction against the chaos of biological inefficiencies in democratic legitimacy. Stipulating a future in which we share a symbiotic relationship with machine and AI, the individual becomes one with their surroundings and the collective mind. Thenceforth, embodying the soul of a democratic system, they take part in the debate.”


“Serialism” by Antoinette de Montille, Ecole Speciale d’Architecture, Paris

“Deprived of escape, deprived of encounters, the almighty mind travels Architect of horizons and master of times. It finally understands that physical reality is its prison and that it is the only key.

What composes memory?

Childhood memories are not a series of serigraph prints numbered 1 through 10,000 …
Memories live in the present, memories move, memories congratulate each other
Memory endlessly recreates space and time

Thus are born new places, familiar but intriguing places, that can only be properly shared through art
These recollections become those of others, and their memory takes hold of them to once again, transform them.
They pass from mental spaces to mental spaces through all of time,
Paris and Kansas City, are these my childhood memories, or your memory of my drawing?

(pastel on craft paper, 140 cm x 100 cm)”


“Treehouses without Trees” by Thomas Schaller, Artist / Concept Designer

“A purely fictional view of a floating city that addresses the issues of isolation, connection, and a changing climate in an indefinite future.”


“A Redlined City Reimagined” by Christopher Prinsen, Architectural Designer

“In the 1930s a government-sponsored entity drew a line around over 60% of Macon, Georgia on a map, colored it red, and gave it a D. The worst classification possible. The line denoted a hazardous place to underwrite mortgages and was based on a false belief that African Americans would undermine property values. Regrettably, the line forever codified patterns of racial segregation and disparities in access to housing, credit, and wealth accumulation for the last 90+ years.

A wall is an element typically utilized for divisive means. The Anti-Wall is a dynamic and permeable architectural intervention constructed atop the red line which has segregated our communities for almost 100 years. Community members can place their life experiences and dreams for the future into the Anti-Wall in the form of written letters. The letter is then etched and embedded into its façade.”


“Malaparte’s Hideout” by Juan Teixeira Zapata, Universidad de Navarra

“The “house like me”. This is how Malaparte baptized it in 1938 when he had it designed by the rationalist architect Adalberto Libera, although Malaparte ended up modifying it personally. It is a very special house due to its location on the island of Capri, Italy, on a huge cliff hidden among nature.

This drawing reflects the relationship between architecture and nature, where the house disappears into the surrounding vegetation and contemplates the infinity of the sea. The drawing has been made on gray paper to greatly enhance the lights and shadows using only charcoal of different intensities and a white crayon.

The way home is a fragment of time off the hook from eternity. It is the animal and the vegetable kingdom, with the sea at your feet and the high protective or threatening cliffs behind you. And, suddenly, a curious house surprises you in the immensity.”


“Inter[Posed]” by Miguel MatosMiguel Matos Maria Sofia Garcia, University of Pennsylvania

“Somewhere in New York City…

The city’s air rights rules have seen the dawn of a new building typology. Issues like air pollution, global warming and food scarcity continue to affect its citizens. These constraints have pushed for new interventions that fight back the singular notions applied to nature and landscape. The urban setting is no longer a factory first, nature second environment, but a renewed embracement of nature and its multiplicity of qualities. Interested in developing the unknown qualities that come with manufactured landscapes and the creation of spaces that are not human centered, this drawing depicts one of such interventions. Retaining the industrial qualities of the area, but also acting as extensions of Central Park, it showcases a shift in spaces that transition from being mostly dominated by distribution mechanisms, to others in which vertical landscapes become the dominant force to create a dynamic experience for the inhabitants.”


“Patch Work: Applied Arts Center” by Austin Bower, Illinois Institute of Technology

“Located in Old Town, Chicago, this applied arts center builds upon the existing structures and cultural history of the area to create a hub where different classes of people and architecture commingle and unite. This new institution draws upon the excellent craftsmanship found in the historic district to create both an inclusive halfway house and elite training institution for discharged convicts. The center becomes a hub for innovations in art and design as well as a welcoming gateway into the neighborhood. Residents can use their time at Patch Work to rebuild their lives and bridge new relationships with their neighbors. The final result is a building the reaches out to the community and invites them within.”


“The Smallest Houses” by Emmerson Juliano, Universitas Pelita Harapan

““The best way to find out what we really need is to get rid of what we don’t.” Heavily inspired by Marie Kondo, I began my search of what things are most meaningful to me. As a man who likes to travel, I am intrigued by the facts that humans carry only a luggage when they travel to stay someplace else. Can we live by the things inside our luggage? Yes. Then can we live forever by only the things inside our luggage? Why not. Imagine a completely new city system, where houses are built not by our subjective interest of design and dramatic concepts, but merely crafted out of our luggage of unique essentials for living in this digital natives era. I believe this hyperbolic intricate drawing can provoke us to realize that we can live with the small and simplest things we find meaningful in life.”

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