How members of the public came to the RIBA to draw London’s skyline.

Sketch in the City video

Sketch in the City video

Usually the RIBA’s collections at the British Architectural Library are used for research, while individual items are put on display at the RIBA, V&A and beyond due their historical value. Recently an event used them in a different way: to provide inspiration.

During October’s Last Tuesday evening at the RIBA, Ros Croker (Education Curator) and Justine Sambrook (Assistant Curator) led the Sketch in the City drawing workshop where the public communicated on paper their vision of London. Selected images of iconic buildings from the collections were on show and participants added their drawings to a collage of London’s skyline along the Thames – a vision of its past, present and future.

Royal National Theatre, London, 1976. Architect: Denys Lasdun & Partners (© Lasdun Archive / RIBA Library Photographs Collection)

Royal National Theatre, London, 1976. Architect: Denys Lasdun & Partners (© Lasdun Archive / RIBA Library Photographs Collection)

Workshop drawing: Royal National Theatre

Workshop drawing: Royal National Theatre

St Paul’s Cathedral seemed to be a popular subject, as was the Thames Barrier and Trellick Tower – showing no single architectural style or period was dominant. Some engaged with their imaginations, experimenting with colour and material to express new ideas on paper, such a pedestrian tunnel under the Thames and a department store on piers above the river. Reflecting the national audience present, one participant was inspired by the structures of her native Port Talbot and added that to the capital’s eclectic architectural mix.

Workshop drawing: Port Talbot "Upon Thames"

Workshop drawing: Port Talbot “Upon Thames”

Workshop drawing: Abstraction

Workshop drawing: Abstraction

Drawing is a basic and powerful tool architects employ to explore and understand the built environment. There were no restrictions placed on what could be added to the skyline and by the end of the session the collage showed the architecture of London both real and imagined. The evening was part of a nationwide festival to get people drawing, coinciding with The Campaign for Drawing’s annual Big Draw event.

Sketch in the City workshop: RIBA curators with participants

Sketch in the City workshop: RIBA curators with participants

Sketch in the City workshop: Participant drawing

Sketch in the City workshop: Participant

In the run-up to the event, and acknowledging the increasingly digital nature of artistic output, drawings were created on iPads. Again, these too used the collections to stimulate the production of new work.

Sketch in the City: iPad drawings inspired by the RIBA's collections

Sketch in the City: iPad drawings inspired by the RIBA’s collections

 

About Wilson Yau
I work for the British Architectural Library at the RIBA as part of a team to share news, images and information online about the activities of the Library and the fascinating items we have in our architectural collections – it contains over four million items, so there's plenty to see! If you’re curious about what we do at the Library and with the collections, or want to discover the latest about our education programmes, public events and exhibitions at the RIBA, please visit www.architecture.com

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