First, Mr. Pallasmaa and Mr. Buchanan, it’s a pleasure to participate at this seminar, and I hope I can contribute to it at some degree.
My question concerns the qualities of freehand- or analog drawing in our teaching of architecture.
My question is based on teaching drawing mainly in the 1st and 2nd class, and on my own practice
as a draftsman and artist.
Drawing as a tool of critical reflection in space
We can say that the activity of drawing comprises on one hand the skill of rendering based on observation and, on the other hand, a more tentative sketching around vague ideas. Both these faculties of drawing work interactively upon each other, improving the skills of draftsmanship and sharpens the critical understanding of what happens on the paper according to a budding idea of a form or a shape of space.
Such a rather short description of the activity of drawing stretches it out between the process of definition and a state of flux, a description which confirms its versatility and utility in the dynamics of creation.
In this regard drawing is a unique and exceptional free and open mode of thinking inside the imagination of form and space. This flux and open mode of seeking out form and space also makes drawing – or, I would say, this state of drawing – a provider of thoughts and ideas of three dimensionality.
This way of seeking out markings and lines representing three dimensionality implies a certain way of forcing – a forcing of the mind from two-dimensionality on the paper to a convincing visualization of three dimensionality and depth. This forcing of perception, this dimensional leap, so to speak, provides a crucial individual awareness and sensitivity of form in space, an awareness which strengthens the censorship of the form.
Drawing is also a physical action in itself, a sensing of movement and shifting, which in itself links it to the perception of direction, of distance and space. Together with this ’forced’ mental awareness of space, this sheer action of moving and shifting of the positions of the drawing tool over a flat surface towards lines and points in an imagined three dimensionality – this continuous upgrading of the conception by touching its outlines directly also tends to reinforce a sensual relation to the idea. All these motional and emotional dynamics are closely linked together, and are all important to the experience and skills of creating form, space and proportion.
Taking these aspects in consideration, how fatal could it be – if it could be fatal at all..? – to let these mental and technical skills, and not to forget even the obstacles of draftsmanship, be superseded and displaced in the teaching of architecture by the now so highly developed digital drawing programs?
Harald Wårvik, NTNU, 19. mars 2013