Reading between the Lines

For a person new to the field of architecture – whether as an onlooker or as a practitioner, the idea of an architectural drawing will seem daunting.

Courtesy of Fabricio Mora

Courtesy of Fabricio Mora

“I prefer drawing to talking. Drawing is faster and leaves less room for lies” – as was said by Le Corbusier.

Drawing is said to be the language for architects – the one medium through which they communicate and make others understand about their skills and talents. These drawing capabilities have been exploited in many ways to bring forth numerous presentation techniques to put forth these diagrams to clients (both current and prospective) and to the society as a whole.

Courtesy of MVRDV

Courtesy of MVRDV

The present trend of representing architectural diagrams – atleast in the conceptual stage – is commonly called “diagram architecture”. The concepts that are being presented by the architect is presented in the form of diagrams which are eye catching and easily comprehensible. These diagrams are used to make anyone – even a layman – understand the idea of the architect behind the form, the structure and the spaces inside the building. These diagrams are drawn such that one can quickly understand the thought process of the architect and how the final design evolved – and the decisions that caused the design to progress in the path that it took.

Courtesy of BIG Architects

Courtesy of BIG Architects

While this becomes a tool for an architect to easily put across his/her point, one can easily question where the line is drawn between a tool to communicate and something that is oversimplfying architecture? This process of representing architecture might become a way to simplify a very vast field. While the process might seem to be an easier method to making others understand, if diagrammatic representation is the only form of representation that an architect has – one also has the risk of seeming aloof and distant. This methodology of representing architecture, though helpful to people to whom this industry seems alien, will also make the field seem trivial.

ARCH2O_ReadingBetweenLines_04

“Drawing architecture is a ‘schizoid’ act : it involves reducing the world, to a piece of paper” are the words uttered by another architect.

The major issue with a diagrammatic representation in designing is the understanding of the designer as to where the line lies. As long as one knows the difference between the two, conceptual diagrams can be the way to go!

by Aishwarya Pai

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