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Published by Alexander Ancona

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Published by: Alexander Ancona on Dec 04, 2012
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Alex Ancona reviewed by Fred Bates IIIProfessor Malcolm CampbellEnglish 11036 November 2012Has Drawing Gone the Way of the Dodo? Technology’s Effects the Use of Drawing inArchitectureArchitecture is something that surrounds us everywhere we go. From the grocerystore and church, to school and work, the buildings that we move past and through alldefine architecture in their own ways. Some are poor designs, the product of cheapnessand demand, while others are masterpieces and considerably, works of art. The well-known buildings of Frank Lloyd Wright, dotting the American landscape, and othersfrom a more modern age, like the skyscrapers of the great cities have something incommon. They all underwent an excruciating and extremely tedious design process. Buttoday, instead of using pencil and paper, most architects are turning to the benefits of computers and the latest software to assist in the design of a building. These programshave their perks, like quickening design processes and allowing more elaborate forms, but could they lead to the downfall of drawing in the practice of Architecture? Withcomputers doing all the work, why use pencil and paper? Drawing, although somewhatold-fashioned, still is necessary and an indispensable tool.What could a piece of paper and a pencil possibly be useful for? For as long as buildings have been in existence drawing has been used to plan and develop their designs. From the simple diagram to the up close detail, drawings represent what we seeand show information that otherwise might be invisible. As an architecture student
myself drawing is a way to visualize and view the effects of the design choices I havemade. According to practicing architect, Michael Graves in an article published in the New York Times, “Drawings are not just end products: they are part of the thought process of architectural design. Drawings express the interaction of our minds eyes andhands” (Graves). The easiest way to see what I am thinking as a student is to draw. Justas writers jot down ideas and scribble outlines, architects draw to make note of ideas.Graves goes on further to define the three types of drawings he does, “the ‘referentialsketch,’ the ‘preparatory study’ and the ‘definitive drawing’, “each with their own purpose and uses (Graves). Definitive drawings are the clean, crisp lines on fancy glossy paper you see hanging on the walls of studios or presented before a client. But surely anarchitect doesn’t just begin and end those. A referential sketch may be the beginning for adesign, an idea seen elsewhere, a source of inspiration. “The referential sketch serves as avisual diary, a record of an architect’s discovery…It’s not likely to represent ‘reality,’ butrather to capture an idea” (Graves). When a drawing is done, it forces the artist to realizeand actually see what they are looking at; they are recording and building information.The studio desk of any architect is probably not what would be expected. Other thanordered and organized, paper and sketches are the occupants, showing the chronology of drawing after drawing. They show a process that results in a “personal, emotionalconnection with the work,” something that a computer just won’t do. Technology resultsin a design that is done more by the computer itself than the architect. Graves supportsthis in saying, “Buildings are no longer just designed visually and spatially; they are‘computed’ via interconnected databases” (Graves).
Architects have made it clear that technology has its benefits. It has spread intomany of the firms across the country and is part of the education that many aspiringarchitects get. Besides we’ll take any assistance we can get in shortening the work froman all-nighter to a couple of hours. The first reason that Architects use programs is justthat. It is quicker! Computers, with their automated steps and processes assist thearchitect in almost every imaginable way. It can rotate a piece of the design, cut a section,show a certain view—anything the Architect wants, the computer can do it. But does theshorter amount of time spent actually designing mean that the thought is less? Architectand Assistant Professor at the University of Miami, Jacob Brillhart, says in an articlefrom Classicist, “The blind dependence on CAD and other software and other toolsincreases after architecture school as young designers continue to design things they donot understand. Working under sever time constraints, they make maximum use of thecopy and paste commands, pulling details, elevations and wall sections from past projectsand reassembling them” (Brillhart). With a computer one can simply input a fewkeystrokes and the task is instantaneously done, a “drawing” is done without oncelooking at the consequences and results. He goes on to add, “When one draws, oneunderstands and remembers; when one uses the right click command, one does neither”(Brillhart).

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