live. work. sketch.

As someone who hasn’t been out of school all that long (only about 9 years) and teaches Autocad and hand drafting at a local community college, I’d like to revisit WHY sketching and hand drafting are still so very important to our profession and why these skills should not be cast aside in favor of greater exposure to digital modeling and design. I came across an article in the Yale Daily News that talks about just this subject.

Yale Daily News

The above article talks about the Yale School of Architecture and a recent symposium they held title “Is Hand Drawing Dead?” The symposium, as you can imagine, drew massive attention and debate on both sides of the aisle. Architectural education has, for so very long, been centered around a foundation of drawing as both a technical skill and artistic expression. My own architectural education began with hand drafting, day one, class one. And, even though we always had access to the latest digital technology and even a rendering farm, hand drafting and sketching were skills we all used regularly.

The consensus of the article is that both professor and student agree that hand drawing and sketching will always be necessary pieces in an architects tool box. But I’m more interested in what you all have to say. Is hand drafting and sketching going the way of the do-do bird? Are these skills even necessary in a modern architectural education? Is the future of our profession really all about the latest and greatest modeling/rendering/BIM tools?

What say you?

9 thoughts on “live. work. sketch.

  1. Some of my greatest ideas come from sketches. Maybe on purpose or maybe on accident. That is what is so great about the sketch, it is not perfect. The sketch can take a good idea to a great idea without meaning to. Great post, I might have to blog on this one myself in the near future and keep some debate going. Thanks.

    • Steve, I agree completely. I always have my moleskins with me. Sketching is really the only way for an architect to organize their thoughts and work out mistakes or bad judgements. CAD and BIM are too final. It’s too easy to get caught in the trap of a finished product. It doesn’t pain us to scribble out a sketch or grab a big sharpie and go over the good ideas while obscuring the bad ideas.
      I hope you’ll send me a link to your own post, and, yes, please keep the discussion going.

  2. I agree with you and Steve about this. I think sketching is a great way to organize one’s thoughts and work out some half-formed ideas. Computer models are great tools, but more for final presentation to clients. Though not an architect, I travel with a small notebook to collect some thoughts and sketch a few drawings and layouts for my work as a travel journalist. There is also a level of artistic skill involved in sketches and I think that may translate professionally when sharing ideas amongst colleagues. Cheers.

    • absolutely. I’ve said often that an architect WILL find him/herself in a position where a client or potential client will ask to see some ideas at a given moment. That kind of situation does not lend itself to 3D modeling. If you can’t adequately communicate your ideas with pencil/pen and paper how will a client expect you to do the same with a computer?
      ok, off my soapbox now.

  3. I agree with you .all
    i personal think that freehand sketching is very much important than other tools because all ideas of design comes from sketching and drawing. Because ideas has no time time to come, if we are good at sketching or roufly drawing, when ever design or idea or anything which we have seen want to incorporate into something then by help of sketching we can do it.

  4. In othe discussions I’ve had there seems to be a group that believe the sketch has to be justified as if in a business sense. Will we show it to the client or is it part of our productivity or some other rational reason. My position is not to defend why we sketch but ask the question why don’t some architects sketch? To me it is as much a part of me as breathing. I am an architect, so therefore I must do it. It is my only way to think clearly, to express honestly and to explore adequately. There’s always time and room for CAD, BIM and other tools. The sketch is pure and honest, and I hope it will always be something that architects do even if it is only for the architect.

    • Lee, unfortunately there are architects out there that believe anything they put on paper has monetary value. These are the same architects that live only to get their name in the paper (or so I assume :-P).
      “the sketch is pure and honest” – gorgeous statement.

  5. Pingback: never stop sketching « think | architect

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