Designing through drawing
The traditional view is that the objective of design is the creation of form and the task of drawing is to give that form some shape or expression (Alexander 1964 p15). Hence, in modernist practice form is grounded in function and meaning – the argument being that the legitimacy of built form is based upon programmatic clarity (Alexander 1964 p15). As a consequence the designer must define the problem in order to determine its functional characteristics using the drawing process to test a variety of form responses. According to this mechanistic perspective the drawing helps achieve fitness between the brief, context and other technical and physical determinants. Being forward-looking ‘design’ is concerned primarily with the meaningful ordering of things in the environment using sketching, mechanical drawing, models and CAD to map the mental diagram into a physical reality (Lawson 1990 p173). The key question in this chapter concerns the role of freehand drawing and particularly how it interfaces with other media (model and
CAD) in the process of achieving excellence in architecture. Can the drawing perform the dual task of providing authority in a constructive as well as an artistic sense? Put another way, are freehand drawing and concept sketching the means to establish the marriage of art and technology necessary in the twenty-first century?