Saturday, February 4, 2012

Is Drawing Dead?

This is the question that the Yale School of Architecture (YSOA) will attempt to answer in their Symposia Spring 2012.

Frankly, I’m not sure what to think of this. Is drawing dead? Really?  Of course not, drawing is a fundamental method of Human communication.  There are tons of manuscripts that talk about the psychology of drawing. There is a direct connection between the inception of an idea and the strokes on paper, and back again.  They build on each other.


No, drawing is NOT dead. It’s not even sick. But what is dying (and I’ll be glad to lend a hand in the dispatch) is the idea that we can continue to deliver projects with the focus, the centerpiece, the contractually defined SINGLE POINT OF TRUTH on that project be a DRAWING!!! 

What has me so hot? Read on. From  YSOA’s Symposia website:
“Drawing, and consequently, the entire architectural profession is withering while architects surrender creative agency to digital processes.”
It saddens me that any Architect would consider surrendering creative agency to ANY process. Who’s fault would that be? Who do we blame when an entire profession “withers” due to their surrender of creativity? By definition, surrender can only blamed on one party.

Another gem:
“Designers are demoted to information managers, and the seductive verisimilitude of digital rendering supplants critical reflection.”
Demoted? Seriously? Who could be more important on a project than those that control and are responsible for the flow of information? Maybe this is what is wrong with the profession?

The word Architect comes to us from the Ancient Greek architekton most often translated as “Master Builder.”  I won’t argue with this translation, but archi means First. Principal. Earliest. The foundation. I like this definition better. First Builder. Principal Builder. In that case (as with Master Builder) who else should be the INFORMATION MANAGER on a  BUILDING project?

As far as allowing the “verisimilitude of digital rendering” to “supplant critical reflection?”  If realism in a digital model prevents you from analyzing your design, I suggest that you have been out of touch with a life that has verisimilitude for too long as it is.

If this is the topic that vaunted Schools of Architecture are discussing at length, I fear for the whole profession. I’ve said it before (and most likely will again) If you dislike CHANGE, you’re really going to hate being IRRELEVANT!

I don't believe that ALL architects think this way. As a matter of fact I KNOW that their are firms large and small who are embracing "...the proliferation of digital tools..." that has "...radically changed" the industry.

I think that those entering the field should follow the oft given advice: Learn to Sketch. Loose, free, and quick. It’s good for your thought process. It’s good for your brain. Practice it often throughout your career and use it to quickly communicate complex thoughts.

And if you want to keep from being marginalized as a producer of pretty pictures, get back to being the Master Builder.  Master the cutting edge tools that allow you to manage the project information.

If you don’t, someone else will.

Don’t be afraid, the Big Bad Bim can smell fear.

Edit: Added commas ;)
Edit: More discussion here and here

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