The Drawing Show
The practice of architectural drawing has changed dramatically over the past twenty-five years. The traditional pro forma of the sketch (or parti) that would eventually lead to a plan, section, and elevation has given way to exploratory forms of representation. Similar to many postmodern visual arts, architectural drawing has sought to challenge or engage existing paradigms. It often obfuscates or blurs the norms of didactic drawings through inversions, transgressions, and multiplicities of scale, thickness, clarity, measure, shading, and composition. Unlike studio art, however, architectural drawing is defined through its conventions. It conforms to certain rules of presentation—in particular, the use of the line as delineation (a boundary); the preference for flatness, even when drawing in advanced computer-aided programs; the labeling of elements; and the use of representational syntax such as directional arrows, alpha-numerical call-outs, and highly developed decorative and or applied textures.
The drawings in the show are not very alike, similar only in that they are situated between the conventions of architectural drawing and the terms of engagement in the arts. While many students of architecture are familiar with this kind of creative exploration, it is less common within an architect’s practice. The works shown here are all from architects who employ exploratory drawing as part of their practice, identifying and furthering their work through these media. This exhibition is only a small sampling of the many works that fall into this relatively new category of exploratory drawing, and because few of these drawings result in “buildings,” these works are often not seen.
The concern over the perceived divide between drawings produced by hand and those rendered by computer can be effectively subsumed by the much larger problem of representation in drawing. While the newer tools have been instructive (for example, in turning the line into more of a spline), the computer ultimately does not kill the ambitions of the continuing drawing project. Instead both traditional and digital methods contribute to larger issues: plan-ness instead of plans, sectioning as a dynamic activity, thickening the dimensions of the plane, modeling as a form of drawing, and lightness and shadowing as techniques to produce new fictions rather than techniques of truth-telling.
—Dora Epstein Jones
Dean’s and director’s statements
The Yale School of Architecture welcomes the arrival of The Drawing Show, an exhibition that reflects on a question that our School has long engaged—what is the role of drawing in contemporary practice?
Our February 2012 symposium, Is Drawing Dead?, also explored this question and while that symposium made clear that the reports of drawing’s death have been greatly exaggerated, it elucidated the tension between the traditional and digital tools available to architects. We now find ourselves entering a new phase of representation as the fear of losing authorship, identity and control to the computer subsides and architects embrace a combination of new and old ways of drawing as an extension of their search to describe architectural ideas and give them meaningful expression. The Drawing Show, with its collection of drawings from twenty practicing architects, exemplifies this synthesis.
On the floors above the gallery, our desks, screens and pin-up boards are populated with further artifacts of this new reality. Drawing remains a key component in our curriculum, from the Rome seminar to our Visualization sequence, with ever greater hybridization of work produced by the hand and the mouse.
I would like to thank Dora Epstein Jones for her curation, Anthony Morey at the A+D Museum for coordination, and Andrew Atwood with First Office for adapting their design to our gallery. I would also like to thank our Director of Exhibitions Andrew Benner, and our Exhibitions Coordinator, Alison Walsh, here at the School.
—Deborah Berke, Dean
We are delighted to bring The Drawing Show to the Yale School of Architecture Gallery from its source, the A+D Museum in Los Angeles. The act of drawing is intimately entangled with the making of architecture. At its root, to design is to draw, or more precisely, to “mark out” (designare). As architects make marks on the land, on the page or on the screen, they follow a lineage back through the formation of the profession while also marking out territory for what is to come. This collection of marks from twenty architects charts such a course.
I would like to thank Dora Epstein Jones for assembling these drawings, Anthony Morey for his help in getting them here. Our former Director of Exhibitions, Alfie Koetter, worked with Andrew Atwood of First Office to adapt his design for A+D to our space.
At the School of Architecture, I wish to thank Dean Deborah Berke for her support and direction. I am grateful to Alison Walsh, exhibition coordinator; Eric Sparks and True Line Productions for the build out; Erin Kim for graphics; Brian Hopkins for titles; and our installation team. Finally I wish to thank catalog graphic designer David Reinfurt of O R G inc., and Nina Rappaport, editor of the publication.
—Andrew Benner (‘03), Director of Exhibitions
David Freeland & Brennan Buck
Zeina Koreitem & John May (MILLIØNS)
Thom Mayne & Selwyn Ting
Carrie Norman & Thomas Kelley
Dora Epstein Jones, Chief Curator
Deborah Garcia, Assistant Curator
Exhibition Design Adaptation for Yale:
Alfie Koetter (’11), former Director of Exhibitions
Andrew Benner (’03), Director of Exhibitions
A+D Museum Organization:
Anthony Morey, Executive Director & Chief Curator
Yale Exhibition Organization:
Andrew Benner (’03), Director of Exhibitions
Alison Walsh, Exhibitions Coordinator
Eric Sparks and True Line Productions
Erin Kim (’19)
Ryan Cyr, Jaime Kriksciun, Charlie Taylor, Lauren Hoegemann, Nick Pfaff, Matthew Shropshire, Ritchie Zepko
The Drawing Show was originally shown at A + D Museum in Los Angeles.
The Drawing Show is sponsored by Olson Visual, and Luis Custom Framing. The Yale School of Architecture’s exhibition program is supported in part by the James Wilder Green Dean’s Resource Fund, the Kibel Foundation Fund, the Nitkin Family Dean’s Discretionary Fund in Architecture, the Pickard Chilton Dean’s Resource Fund, the Paul Rudolph Publication Fund, the Robert A.M. Stern Fund, the Rutherford Trowbridge Memorial Fund, the Fred Koetter Exhibitions Fund, and the School of Architecture Exhibitions Fund.