Wednesday, November 14, 2012
Welcome to "The Good Hand"...
Welcome to "The Good Hand", an inter-active blog dedicated to the promotion of the art of classical architectural drawing, draftsmanship and illustration. Classic in the sense that it embraces the concepts of traditional architectural "hand" drawing in a wide variety of media, from sketch books through plans, elevations and sections all the way through to three-dimensional renderings utilizing both hand constructed as well as digital base drawings.
Architectural draftsmanship has been the principal means of study, design exploration and graphic communication for architects for nearly two millennia. And yet, in just the past twenty years, the very art of draftsmanship has been seriously degraded by the rapidly emerging digital technologies taking over every aspect of architectural education and drawing production. The consequences of this as it relates to both the education of architects and the practice of architecture are broad, subject to many interpretations and will, hopefully, be widely discussed here. But rather than simply leaving drawing behind with a sigh and a shake of the head, "the good hand" will strive to be a forum for those still engaged in the process of "drawing" architecture, knowing that graphic ownership of a building through good draftsmanship is synonomous with the craftsmanship of good building. Rather than being regarded as an unaffordable anachronism of the digital age, good drawing skills, "the good hand" as it were, should be seen as mutually supportive of a draftsman's digital vocabulary. The process of design composition through manual drawing studies constantly informs and refines the decisions a designer makes digitally, taking advantage of the elements of immediacy, composition and atmospherics inherent in hand drawing and instilling in the digital designer a true sense of authorship in the work at hand.
Obviously, the paramount role that drawing used to play in the production of architecture will never be recovered. Today, architecture must be commnunicated digitally. Three dimensional and parametric modelling, SketchUp, BIM / Revit and file sharing with project consultants / bidders all demand a digital foundation in the climate of today's architectural or interior design practice. And yet, every project presents the designer with numerous opportunities for manual graphic exploration that are not only appropriate to the task at hand but provide that designer with an outlet of expression that far exceeds the creepily anonymous but seductive versimilitude of digital rendering and animation.
Oddly enough, this mind-set still exists in many architectural and interior design offices today and can still be capitalized upon. The reason for this is fairly straight forward. The most successful designers and renderers introduce the elements of personal style and abstract representation into their drawings that point to the origins of both the design and the designer. Digital technology not only supports this concept but actually enhances and refines these skills and vice versa. This is also the purpose of "the good hand", namely to present a wide variety of architectural and interior design drawings at different phases and stages of a design project, explain the various media and drawing techniques used to create a particular image and to show how digital technology actually informs, supports and enhances this process. This will hopefully be an on-going dialogue and images describing the drawing process and the media used will be frequently presented. Reader submitted images and comments will always be welcomed. Drawing types will include sketch book studies, traditional plans, sections, elevations and, of course, hand drawn 3D renderings. Design and presentation composition will be frequently discussed as will the application of these skills to digital drawing techniques.
So, sharpen up those 3H pencils, stretch that tracing paper and let's sit down and draw something...