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"Artistically, they're unfussy with a raw sense of motion."

really? really?

I'm sure they work well to communicate ideas, but they aren't pretty.

I can't believe that PDX couldn't find anything better to hang in their wonderful gallery.


I plan to review it too but I'll save it for next week, one of our other writers has something for this week. Ive been comparing them with the drawings of a lot of other architects and I'm curious if you have a similar read...


'Do architects still draw?'

I know I do. Everyday. I sketch ideas all the time. In meetings, at my desk, in charettes, etc.

CAD is useful is so many ways, but the limitations of instantaneous pencil (or pen) to paper feedback can never be truly replicated.

Looking at the drawigns posted, you can see that they were never meant to be 'pretty" or hung in a gallery. I'm as certain as there is air, that Brad could draw something 'beautiful' if he felt like it. When you look at those drawings, they are more a record of a thought process in design than illustrations for the purpose of 'illustrating'.

Brian Libby

Those are very astute observations. I was trying to say the same thing in my review (linked at right) about how Brad could draw something prettier but instead was using the drawings as part of the design process. But I think Bronson may have said it better here.

Brian Libby

David Keltner of Thomas Hacker Architects emailed me to say the following, which he's given permission to post here:

"Aside from making the occasional detail sketch or redmark, most architects my age (37) and younger do not draw much by hand. It seems a waning, if not dying skill. There are some that do, but with each new batch of interns, the numbers shrink.

And as older architects retire from the field, there's going to be fewer people to pass on the skill. I think specifically, the ability to make three dimensional drawings of ideas, on the spot is most lacking.

I recall, 10 years ago, watching Rick Potestio generate perspectives and race through floor plans that were true and to scale without any tools or underlays other than a fat black pen while telling a story of what he was drawing. If you've ever had a conversation with someone like him, and I assume like Brad, judging from this show, about architecture, you can't get beyond the second idea before the sketch pad is out and they are drawing.

The combination of the exploration and the explanation is powerful and made an impression on me from the momment I saw someone do it. Ever since, I've worked to emulate it. The trend of relying on computer drafting and modeling seems to bind us to a process that is static. You spend two days typing your idea into a computer, print it out, and then talk about it.

Conversely, drawing in the present is dynamic and the scope of ideas that come from such a process reflect it. If I had a singular mission to take up in our schools it would be to revitalize this art that's been lost in the flurry of energy spent on making sure you had the latest version of 3d-cad-max-scketchme-up. For the most part our more creative left brains have been overwhelmed by the right when we try and design using computers as our only tool. There are a couple of notable modeling programs in recent years that have moved back towards a more intuitive 'drawing' method where you can actually see more than what you put on the paper (the essential role of drawing), but even these can induce the sort of claustrophobia you never feel with a blank piece of trace.

Perhaps reinstatement of drawing will happen in small steps as we realize we've left something irreplaceable behind.

In the interim, I'd like to make a small appeal to the architecture community that anyone of us can do right now to start drawing better. Tear your tracing paper from the role with a scale to make a straight edge and remember to flip it over to keep it from curling up on you."

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