drawing as practice – hand and eye and mind

I often make idea drawings at some time during the duration of the design phase of a project.

Similar to making a physical model of the project, idea drawings take time and are a kind of meditative practice focusing on the nascent building but shedding the usual constraints of setbacks, budgets and functionalism.  There certainly is a kind of mind/body thinking that is enacted only when the hands are engaged in making whether that be cardboard and glue or pencil and paper.

On occasion these drawings are more explicit imaginings of the project space itself, like the image above.  At maybe the other extreme, they can be drawings of just the site or something on the property that sparks the imagination and may not directly influence the project but place you on the site for some concentrated time.

In all cases, they are akin to a slow marinating of the project, stepping away from the quick prep of all the necessary requirements of utility, function, structure and budgets.

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coffee shops, 2

a stroll through some old and new sketchbooks looking again at coffee shops

places in Boulder, Boston, Chicago and New Haven

sometimes a change of place can spur new thoughts and focused work. Rather than being distracting, there is nothing like a room full of strangers to help me concentrate. A quick sketch of just what is in front of you is a good warm up to imagining other spaces.

previous coffee shop post

coffee shops

In really cold weather, the only place left to sketch is in coffee shops.

and the steamy heat fogs the windows and the only thing left to draw is the place itself.

These are from various sketchbooks over twenty years or so.  Boston had a great many spots that were a nice respite from the damp and cold, Chicago a good number, but Boulder’s 40+ coffee shops must top the latte/capita list.

Do I have anything to say about the architecture or design of these places?  Not really, I go there to take a break from it and do some mindless sketching.

New Year's resolutions

Tricky things these resolutions.  They are really just a list of more things that I am probably going to feel guilty about in a couple of months.  So sure, along with losing another 10 lbs, let’s put keeping up better with our accounting, slowing down a bit more, and working out more often on the list.

From our architect-geek point of view, resolutions are more like yearly reminders of a re-dedication to our work.  Not more hours or more projects, but more rigor, more contemplation, and more thorough integration of materials, design, construction and budgeting.  That’s a bit generic for all architects, so while laudable, it is also good at this time of the year to reflect on why we became architects in the first place.

max1small
Where the Wild Things Are, Maurice Sendak
Lego city
ellis-castle
castle/house by Elli Gerwing
snow fort, from E-How (how to build a snow fort, really?)

You could saw that most of us architects have stayed dedicated to the pursuit and never given up on our dreams.

But really there are just some things we never really got over.

New Year’s resolutions

Tricky things these resolutions.  They are really just a list of more things that I am probably going to feel guilty about in a couple of months.  So sure, along with losing another 10 lbs, let’s put keeping up better with our accounting, slowing down a bit more, and working out more often on the list.

From our architect-geek point of view, resolutions are more like yearly reminders of a re-dedication to our work.  Not more hours or more projects, but more rigor, more contemplation, and more thorough integration of materials, design, construction and budgeting.  That’s a bit generic for all architects, so while laudable, it is also good at this time of the year to reflect on why we became architects in the first place.

max1small
Where the Wild Things Are, Maurice Sendak
Lego city
ellis-castle
castle/house by Elli Gerwing
snow fort, from E-How (how to build a snow fort, really?)

You could saw that most of us architects have stayed dedicated to the pursuit and never given up on our dreams.

But really there are just some things we never really got over.