Conference Rationale

From the time that Vitruvius defined architecture as “an expertise born of both practice and reasoning,” architects have first envisioned buildings as lines on paper before they could be realized in brick, stone, wood, steel, and glass. At the beginning of the 21st century, we are witnessing a profound shift away from hand drawing towards a reliance on the computer in both architectural education and the profession.

What effect is this loss of hand drawing having on the creative process of design, and ultimately, on the quality of the built environment? What are we giving up in this technological shift, and what should we preserve?

This conference will explore the role of hand drawing in architecture from a variety of perspectives, focusing on three broad categories:

History:

  1. What role has hand drawing historically played in the training of architects?
  2. What can we learn from the drawings and sketches of great architects in the past?
  3. What role has hand drawing played in the history of construction?

Education:

  1. What are the best methods for teaching to sketch by hand?
  2. What are the pros and cons of hand drawing in the education of an architect?
  3. What are the pros and cons of teaching to draw by computer?
  4. How is creativity fostered by hand drawing? Is it fostered in the same way by drawing on the computer?

Practice:

  1. The architect as designer – design as diagram vs. the “ugly precision” of the computer?
  2. The architect as artist – what is the role of sketching, watercolor, and free hand perspectives in the development of architecture?
  3. The architect as craftsman – hand drawing vs. a “click and drag” mentality?

These and other questions will be explored by presenters at the conference. Architects, architectural historians, educators, and students are invited to attend.