A Case for Drawing


Vol. 6 No. 1 (2009)
Research Articles
December 31, 2009


Architecture faculty continue, at times contentiously, to debate theroles that hand drawing and digital media should have in the practicesand education of architects. Some argue for the computer as the"new pencil,” while others maintain that the pencil is irreplaceable. A survey conducted by the authors suggests that the academy itself mayrest in a dichotomous position of committing more resources to digitalmedia than hand drawing while simultaneously indicating that both typesof media are valued about equally. Rather than reinforce an oppositionalrelationship between the hand and the computer, this paper aims toreveal current trends regarding the roles of hand and digital designmedia in the academy and to provide a review of the primary benefits ofhand drawing within an environment that is, seemingly, preoccupied withdigital media.

Hand drawing provides unique contributions to and opportunities within the development of architectural thought and work. Maintainingsketching and precision hand drawing as fundamental activities of thearchitect extends the post-Renaissance tradition of architecture as a distinct design discipline directed to architectural ideas and relationships.Furthermore, hand drawing creates unique opportunities for imaginative transformation, for bodily engagement and accommodation, and for preconditioningthe qualities of a built work and therefore should remain asignificant component of the discipline.