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Cover Photo: DL+A

When the Spanish poet and playwright, Lope de Vega, in his "Rimas humanas y divinas del licenciado Tomé de Burguillos" writes "Dark draft and light verse", he seems to be describing characteristics that can be applied to architectural sketches, to their ambiguous, unfinished nature, in the process of creation.

The change of the century has turned my first published book El Croquis, Proyecto y Arquitectura into a vintage one. During the previous 5 centuries, architectural sketches were made with drawing instruments on paper, allowing Renaissance architects to create a new way of practicingour profession, not being permanently on site and tackling several projects in one lifetime.

Photo: Mendelsohn Sketch

Photo: Eisenman Sketch

How can the new architectural sketches, produced on screens, keep some of their useful characteristics? and, how can they be improved today?

The current architectural sketches should produce today, as in the past:

  • Unfinished architectural thoughts that invite you to complete them.
  • They should be interpreted in different ways by different receivers, and even by the same author at another time.
  • They should fulfil their function of trapping the project in their nets, with successive, non-linear and not necessarily scalar or figurative approaches.
  • They should entail, in that process, a selective decrease or destruction of the infinite possibilities that a project has when starting up.
  • Unlike the diagrams, they should maintain that ambiguity, which will be extinguished only when the design process is exhausted.
  • They should also have the character of a graphic experiment that generates architectures, able to make us, from a purely graphic point of view, see things that were not there in the beginning.

Admitting that the old characteristics of old architectural sketches, those dealing with their drawing instruments, their supports, or their size, are no longer important in our screen drawings, the design of the necessary software has still a long way to go. I am not talking about programs able to imitate the aold sketch on the screen. It isalso not about the infinite possibilities offered by parametric programs. I'm talking about the constant search for tools to produce the best architecture, the best tools to communicate with the rest of the team, perhaps now spread all over.

If thoughts are still directy linked with the way they are expressed or formulated, the graphic media will continue to play a vital role for the architect in the future.

Master in Collective Housing UPM/ETH

The Master of Architecture in Collective Housing, MCH, is a postgraduate full-time international professional program of advanced architecture design in cities and housing presented by Universidad Politécnica of Madrid (UPM) and Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH). Apply now!
Next edition of the MAS in Collective Housing will start in January 2021, the application period is already opened, and it will remain so till 31.12.2020 or until vacancies are filled.
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