Ancona   1   Alex Ancona Professor Malcolm Campbell English 1103 6 November 2012 Has Drawing Gone the Way

of the Dodo? Technology’s Effects on the Use of Drawing in Architecture Architecture is something that surrounds us everywhere we go. From the grocery store and church, to school and work, the buildings that we move past and through all define architecture in their own ways. Some are poor designs, the product of cheapness and demand, while others are masterpieces and considerably, works of art. The wellknown buildings of Frank Lloyd Wright, dotting the American landscape, and others from a more modern age, like the skyscrapers of the great cities have something in common. They all underwent an excruciating and extremely tedious design process. But today, 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 programs have 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? With computers doing all the work, why use pencil and paper? Drawing, although somewhat old-fashioned, still is necessary and an indispensible 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 see and show information that otherwise might be invisible. As an architecture student

Ancona   2   myself drawing is a way to visualize and view the effects of the design choices I have made. 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 and hands” (Graves). The easiest way to see what I am thinking as a student is to draw. Just as 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 ‘referential sketch,’ 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 an architect doesn’t just begin and end those. A referential sketch may be the beginning for a design, an idea seen elsewhere, a source of inspiration. “The referential sketch serves as a visual diary, a record of an architect’s discovery…It’s not likely to represent ‘reality,’ but rather to capture an idea” (Graves). When a drawing is done, it forces the artist to realize and 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 than ordered and organized, paper and sketches are the occupants, showing the chronology of drawing after drawing. They show a process that results in a “personal, emotional connection with the work,” something that a computer just won’t do. Technology results in a design that is done more by the computer itself than the architect. Graves supports this in saying, “Buildings are no longer just designed visually and spatially; they are ‘computed’ via interconnected databases” (Graves).

Ancona   3   Architects have made it clear that technology has its benefits. It has spread into many of the firms across the country and is part of the education that many aspiring architects get. Besides we’ll take any assistance we can get in shortening the work from an all-nighter to a couple of hours. The first reason that Architects use programs is just that. It is quicker! Computers, with their automated steps and processes assist the architect 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 the shorter amount of time spent actually designing mean that the thought is less? Architect and Assistant Professor at the University of Miami, Jacob Brillhart, says in an article from Classicist, “The blind dependence on CAD and other software and other tools increases after architecture school as young designers continue to design things they do not understand. Working under sever time constraints, they make maximum use of the copy and paste commands, pulling details, elevations and wall sections from past projects and reassembling them” (Brillhart). With a computer one can simply input a few keystrokes and the task is instantaneously done, a “drawing” is done without once looking at the consequences and results. He goes on to add, “When one draws, one understands and remembers; when one uses the right click command, one does neither” (Brillhart). Although  more  efficient  in  a  way,  programs  that  replace  drawing  take   away  part  of  the  architectural  design  process.   So  is  drawing  heading  the  way  of  the  dodo?  Is  there  a  possibility  that  

computers  will  inevitably  replace  the  pencil  as  the  primary  tool  in  an  architect’s   office?  For  some  the  answer  seems  quite  obvious.  In  an  article  from  the  Chronicle   for  Higher  Education,  Paul  S.  Anderson  says  "The  discipline  could  be  in  the  midst  of  

Ancona   4   an  enormous  shift…I  don't  think  this  will  necessarily  happen,  but  I  could  certainly   anticipate,  20  years  from  now,  never  seeing  anyone  drawing  by  hand”  (Read).     Fortunately  for  many,  this  is  a  scary  thought.  Micheal  Graves  says,  “Architecture   cannot  divorce  itself  from  drawing,  no  matter  how  impressive  technology  gets”   (Graves).    Hopefully  this  remains  true,  as  drawing  has  already  played  in  important   role  in  my  Architecture  education  as  well  as  being  a  rewarding  experience,  whether   in  design  or  observation.  Drawing  has  been  a  form  of  expression;  part  of  art  for   centuries  and  it  is  the  combination  of  this  age-­‐old  skill  with  the  technologies  of   today  that  makes  Architecture  the  interesting  and  intriguing  field  that  it  is.  It  is  a   balance  between  the  two  that  will  result  in  the  best  Architecture.        

Ancona   5   Works  Cited     Brillhart, Jacob. “Architectural Drawing in the Digital Age.” Classicist. 9. (2010): 114121. Print.   Graves, Michael. “Architecture and the Lost Art of Drawing.” The New York Times 1 Sep. 2012. Web.   Read, Brock. “Planning With Pixels, Not Pencils.” Chronicle of Higher Education 50.12 (2003): A29. Web.