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Of Mice and Pens

Much has been written about the decline and lost art of the hand sketch. Most articles speak romantically of the mind, hand, pencil, sketch, connection when developing a design solution.

As always, I look at it differently. While sketching is romantic, we (senior architects) need to encourage and promote young architects to take time away from the computer to study solutions by sketching.

Not to preserve this art, but to add it to your tool kit. The more graphic tools you have, the more ways you can communicate design intent. It develops wholeness as a designer, and opens a way to ask questions see solutions from a different perspective.

When I sketch, I see volumes and spaces, not just lines…it's spiritual, like living in the future, it is the highest form of optimism and potential, developing ideas of “what will be”. I'm not sure when this started in my career, it's innate.

My projects have given me the opportunity to use both CAD and sketching skills, easily toggling between the computer and the drafting board. Defining the knowns and constraints with the precision of a computer then sketching over that to build a solution…validate, and repeat.

For me, designing on a computer and sketching is the difference between reading a book and watching a movie. One pushes you to imagine with your mind’s eye, the other, presents images in front of your eyes.

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