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ARC Draws

03.04.14 / Paul Coffman, LEED AP

“I prefer drawing to talking. Drawing is faster, and leaves no room for lies.” Le Corbusier

Architects draw. This is how we spend our lives and this is how we document our designs. At the end of the day (or, more accurately, at the end of many long and tiring months) the fruits of our labors are large and intricate sets of construction documents. These drawings are how we communicate our designs to those constructing our buildings.

For good or bad, the days of pencils, erasers, scales, and triangles are basically gone. While the advancements of Computer Aided Design and Building Information Modelling undoubtedly have their benefits, what has been sacrificed is the opportunity for the architect to draw by hand; which is the reason many of us chose this as our profession.

(Drawing can be a messy activity)

That being said, there is still a place for hand drawing in our profession. For example, in early design phases, client presentations drawn “by hand” help keep the overall feel of the design more loose and changeable whereas hard-lined computer drawings may give the impression that a design is more “set in stone” than it actually is.

While the majority of our drawing is now done with clicks of the mouse, drawing by hand is still a skill that is used every day in the office; it is how we communicate with each other. From relaying everything from the grandest gestures to the minutia of architectural details, we are almost never without a pen in hand and within reach of a roll of trace.

(Exploring light and shadow)

ARC DRAWS was created to provide exercises and events in which we can exercise our hand drawing skills. For many of us, these exercises and events serve to maintain our already well developed skills. But, for others, particularly those new to the profession, these exercises serve to teach skills that perhaps never had the chance to develop in the first place.

What this endeavor has taught us is that the employees at ARC possess a wide-ranging and impressive amount of talent. It is fortunate that we work in this environment where we can learn from each other’s skills, as well as share our own.

(The interiors department provides chairs for a still life) 

Because Boston and Cambridge are rich with available drawing opportunities, we take sketching excursions throughout the city. We also participate in lunch-hour drawing exercises in which we can experiment with different drawing tools and styles, constantly challenging ourselves and the ever important eye-brain-hand connection. We also try to find unique subject material; one of the more interesting drawing sessions involved sketching ARC’s runway creations for the annual IIDA fashion show.

(An autumn day sketching at The Granary Burial Ground)

ARC encourages those interviewing for positions at the firm to bring in sketchbooks and any other hand drawn materials because we know the value hand drawing skills have in the workplace.  ARC DRAWS serves to keep the hand drawing a vital and important part of our professional experience.

(Drawings of the IIDA Fashion Show fashions)

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