Bartlett MArch AD Unit
Luke Pearson and Andrew Porter


When Fillipo Brunelleschi first derived the drawn conventions which we would come to understand as one point perspective, the more naturalistic representations that followed not only redefined painting in the post medieval age, but the way in which the architect would relate to his creations through drawing.

The Unit is intrigued by the reflexive relationship between drawing and architecture. Advances in the construction of drawings of architecture changed their relationships to the world around them. Now architects could receive commissions through detailed propositions that could be visually understood as existing in the real world, before their construction had actually been embarked upon. This relationship between the built form and the drawn form has appeared at the centre of architectural interrogations henceforth.

The primacy of the drawing as an investigative tool allows us to examine the impact of considered decisions versus the unchecked instinct of the draughtsman. We anticipate investigations into conversational ways of drawing, developing an argument through serialised works that eventually form an architectural position, not only through what it is they represent but through how they represent it. Is the line the most suitable articulation of an edge in a world where that edge is surface, tone and light? Mid 20th Century master renderer Hugh Ferriss spoke of the difference between an accurate drawing and an authentic one. By gently removing layers of charcoal from a solid block of tone, his New York skyscrapers stood solidly against the chiaroscuro gloom around them, a solidity that spoke volumes to his ambitious developer clients, who commissioned his visualisations in droves.
In a digital age where our faculty towards technology tempts us to model everything and reveal all, where can we position the drawing such as Ferriss’ -the drawing that evokes rather than describes. The concept artists of Hollywood, such as Ryan Church and Feng Zhou, deal with the quick, freeform creation of spaces which are never absolutely articulated, but play with the eye’s readings of light and tone in order to suggest at spaces. They immediately play between the analogue and digital nature of drawing by photocopying, scanning, erasing and enlarging, but often using the computer and peripherals to paint space into their compositions.

The animator Benjamin Ducroz makes stop-frame animations of wooden blocks shot to look like 3d models. By printing each frame of the digital film, working into it with watercolour, rescanning and reassembling the film he produces a composite space. This space also blurs the boundary between analogue and digital through challenging our eye to question which is which, a carefully manufactured and coloured set of physical objects presented as if some elaborate animation straight from the computer screen. The production of drawn spaces spliced into film spaces recalls the amazing matte paintings created for movies. Originating as part of the composition in front of the camera, these evolved into spaces spliced into film through multiple exposures, through to digital spaces woven around actors that we see today. The introduction of the oil painting into film space produced results that even the most sophisticated digital representations struggle to evoke. This suggests that drawing space operates on levels whereby the more resolved is not necessarily the more sophisticated.
Why is it that we often use “conflicting” methods to produce the opposite result, the 3d model to trace our “loose sketch” over or a quick massing model to articulate our detailed plan or section from? Architectural representation is woven through by these hybrid spaces, and we ask you to reveal them and renegotiate them in order to reinvent your approach towards the drawing.

How will you consider the drawn process to be one of manufacture? The working, reworking and staging of your outputs might be considered an act of thinking through drawing. How will the hybrid drawings you seek to create investigate your position regarding architecture in our contemporary situation? How might you challenge the convention of constructional drawings and the ways these are translated into a built form? Or how might you question the nature of perspective and the lines it forces us to view architectures within? In a world overloaded with fast-paced parametric technologies, how might you slowly work using tone and shade to suggest intricately articulated surfaces that come straight from the hand?