The Role Of Drawing In Architecture

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The Role Of Drawing In Architecture

Though it may seem obvious to argue that drawing plays a significant role in the creation of architecture, the value of the artistry of drawing in the development of architecture is a much more complex argument. Architects like Paul Klee, Daniel Libeskind and even Sim Van der Ryn all demonstrate a distinct focus on the development of architectural artistry and these can be understood through the sketchbooks and drawings of the architects.

The architectural thought process in general is one that is defined by many of the same principles that are used in drawing. Architecture is as much about structure as it is about artistry, and the use of particular elements, including the introduction of light and the use of structural factors that support the introduction of light, are clearly a part of most designs. Elements of drawing, from the use of negative space to the development of grid structures relate to the correlation between architectural design and artistry. Architectural thought or the process of architectural planning and development, is a developed thinking process distinctly linked to the artistry of drawing.

Early 20th century architect Paul Klee can be argued to be one of the easiest representatives of the link between the process of drawing and the development of architecture. Though most consider Klee an artist, his artistic process has been compared to some of the architects of the 20th century, including Daniel Libeskind. Klee’s sketchbooks and artistry demonstrate the integrate of linear elements, linear qualities and bold graphic strokes that are common in the creation of architectural form (Paul Klee, 2002).

Klee’s artistic development and the repeated forms in his sketchbooks represent an architectural ideal, and comparisons can be made between the drawing styles of Klee and those of a number of architects, like Libeskind and Van der Rym. Libeskind’s philosophy of architecture, then, is deeply rooted in the value placed on artistry and the creative process, like that of Paul Klee. Libeskind wrote: “The magic of architecture cannot be appropriated by any singular operation because it is always already floating progressing, rising, flying, breathing. Whatever the problems – political, tectonic, linguistic which architecture exposes, one thing I know is that only the intensity and passion of its call make it fun to engage in its practice” (Daniel Libeskind, 2002).

Libeskind relates the notion of architecture as it relates to the images and ideals of the architect. The process of drawing ad the development of artistryis also linked to these same elements and the conceptual perspectives of Libeskind suggest that artistry or drawing and architecture are linked in themental processes that both utilize. Libeskind goes on to say: “I have found on this very particular path that people, whether here or there or now and then,always expect more of the spaces that they have been given” (Daniel Libeskind, 2002). As a result, the focus on space and the integration of line and form are considerations both in drawing and in rchitecture that is imperative to the success of each.

The link between design and artistry and the process of each may be considered when assessing factors like ecology and the integration of nature into drawing and architecture. In recent years, there has been a shift in the human paradigm away from the notion that man can function external from considerations about nature and towards improvements in architecture that are based in an acknowledgment of natural elements. In fact, the premise of ecological architecture is the notion of sustainability, and is based on the recognition that ecology is a self-designing system that relates natural elements, energy flows and function. Unfortunately, human development and the creation ofarchitectural structures requires more than just a cursory knowledge of the way in which architecture might impact the environment, and man has more oftenfailed in his attempts to direct change. For example, Sim Van der Ryn and Stuart Cowan in Ecological Design argued that mankind has participated in more than its share of ecological disasters, basednot in the intentional misuse of the environment, but instead in the ignoranceof what is required to determine sustainability. Especially in the modern era,since the turn of the century (into the 20th century), mankind’s architecturaldevelopments have reflected the desire or expectation that nature will somehow adapt to man’s presence, rather than affording a concentrated effort towardsadapting man’s own efforts towards maintaining natural surroundings, function

There are some fundamental components of the arguments presented that should be recognized in a comparison with the historical development of ecological architecture since the 1960s. Sim Van der Ryn and Stuart Cowan defended the process of designs based in recognition of the correlation between form and the flow of energy, including the concept of scale linking (Van der Ryn and Cowan,1995). Ecological design and ecological architecture must reflect an acknowledgment of the complex interdependence between features and the way in which form and development must unite in order to determine functionality. The following natural design is one offered by Van der Ryn and Cowan (1995, p. 8) to reflect the natural processes by which function can be determined, including the

Based on this assertion, the researchers argued that architectural development scan be best understood by recognizing the way in which humankind responded to  differences in natural elements and assessed basic properties of nature as a component of architectural design, based on difference in culture, perceptionsand the period in which architectural developments were defined. It was thebasic supposition of Van der Ryn that ecological architecture reflected different cultural and social variations in the pre-1960s, 1960s and 1970s and One of the fundamental changes over the course of the last century was the belief that man used to assess the fundamental changes in nature and utilize natural forms (pre-1960s era) but that there was a slow progression away from this as a part of expansive industrial development and urbanization. In recent years, however, the move back to the assessment of nature and the flow of energy, all dynamic elements in the assessment of both function and form relative to natural progress, has instilled an alternative to what has been perceived as modern architectural development.

The movement from modernism to postmodernism and the development of architectural form is clearly an underlying principle even in the late 20th century structures created by architects like Libeskind. In order to understand the shift and the focus on the minimalist sensibility that defined the use of light, rather than structural complexity, it is imperative to consider the history of the 20th century as a theoretical background. This can be best understood through the assessment of economic and social changes that went along with the industrial development and post-World War II expansion of capitalism (Best and Kellner, 2000). The increasing postmodern sensibilities that also emerged in the later works of Libeskind were linked to an ideological culture and dissatisfaction with modernist forms. This view resulted in the expansion of a cultural perspective distinctly dispelling the former elements of the modernist culture and was reflected in both the architectural designs and link between form and function (Best and Kellner, 2000). Central to this process, then, was the fact that the modern era heralded in significant changesthat resulted in the beneficial view of the mass culture and of capitalism, both of which changed the view of the modernist ideology.

The superseding of modernism in the late 1960s with the postmodernism perspective has been recognized and applied to a number of different cultural elements, including architecture, literature, film, dance and music, all of  which have been influenced by the Western development of the mass culture (Stevens, 2002). The term postmodernism itself is generally utilized to describe the deconstruction of the existing trends, the end of the “avant-garde” and the integrati.............


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