The items in the collections of the RIBA are not static, when carefully chosen they are able to provoke debate and can be used to analyse how architecture is created and experienced. The content in the RIBA’s six online workshops have been selected for students to initiate discussions about themes in architecture and for members of the public to see some of the more thought-provoking pieces from the architectural collections of the V&A+RIBA Architecture Partnership.
On RIBA Blogs we begin a short series of posts that will look at these different workshops. Today we will look at extracts from Design in Process – an online workshop that looks at how architects have communicated their ideas at different stages of the design process. For many architects the first – often rough – sketches are for working out ideas, a usually private affair. As ideas are developed and finessed, the nature of these drawings begin to change to convey information more pertinent to a finished product for use by builders or viewing by clients and the public. Different drawings for different audiences. The workshop divides the drawings into three stages: sketching, rendering and drafting.
How an architect develops, refines and explains a design concept through drawing.
An example of a ‘back of an envelope’ design, this sketch was drawn by Buckminster Fuller five years after his dome for the United States pavilion at Expo ’67 opened in Montreal. It bares an uncanny resemblance to his pavilion and the sketch was used to help explain one his ideas quickly to another person. At an early stage of a design, key concepts are formulated without constraint.
How an architect conveys designs to a variety of audiences to gain support and give clarity to the project proposal.
A dramatic and startling drawing from Archigram, this competition entry shows consideration of how a design, developed from initially simple sketches, would be viewed by others. Created to communicate ideas in an original way that would make it stand out from crowd, this axonometric projection for an entertainment facility employs a range of visual effects which still look avant-garde in our digital age.
Working technical drawings to help contractors and craftsmen to build the project.
This final stage is a test of an architect’s precise communication skills. Design drawings must convey exact information in an easily understandable way – there is no room for ambiguity. This scale drawing features a complex stairway in elevation, designed by George Wightwick, with all its complicated joinery, mouldings and ornament. These detailed drawings are the means by which an architect’s ideas are made real by builders and craftsmen.
This workshop raises certain questions:
- Why do architects draw, and what are different types of drawing used for?
- How can architects best express their ideas to themselves, clients and builders?
- How does the architect respond to an image-conscious society?