This book constitutes a speculation concerning architectural sketches. It is difficult to generalize about the techniques of the design process since each architect finds his or her own useful approach. This book is less about ' how to ' design and more about the evidence of a design process by several diverse architects. It hopes to present some comparisons to help the reader speculate about the role of sketches and how they assist architects. The book is not meant to be definitive but primarily present loose connections that may suggest an intention or meaning. The purpose is to elucidate a complex and undefined process, and through examination view sketches in a new light. In addition, it may be an adoration of sketches ' uniqueness when seen as an expression of creativity. The methodology, then, is to attempt to provide insight through comparing architects' sketches to philosophical, artistic, and literary theories. This process is interpretive and herme-neutic. It is not meant to be a codification of specific design methods, but celebrates the diversity of styles, and approaches, from historic and contemporary architects' images.
Many researchers who study architectural sketches have chosen an empirical method to learn about the uses and value of sketches, and this work makes use of their findings. Research has statistically concluded that architects usually begin a design process by asking questions and leaving all options open. These conclusions may be a reinforcement of expected, or logical, suspicions. V. Goel published a study entitled the Computational Theory of Mind that specifically explores sketches. His study suggests that ' .cognitive processes are computational processes and require a representational medium — a language of thought — in which to represent information and to carry out computations' (Goel, 1995: 1). It is fundamental to conclude that architects need a medium to think through design, but to compare sketches to language may give them a symbolic nature suggesting they can be read for specific and definitive meaning. All reading is a matter of interpretation, but associating a specific mark on the paper with a constant and universal meaning is problematic.
Robin Evan wrote that architecture is not language. In his article Translations from Drawing to Building Evans speaks about architecture in general but these thoughts could easily extend to drawing. ' All things with conceptual dimension are like language, as all grey things are like elephants. A great deal in architecture may be language-like without being language. Some might say that the recent insistence that architecture is a language is only the last wave of a persistent verbal tide eroding vision, bedeviling our ability to see without language to guide our eyes ' (Evans, 1986: 154).
1 When asked to explain how he uses sketches, Lorcan O'Herlihy sent this description.
Likewise, Omer Akin in Representation and Architecture contends that design methods are not know-able and teachable:
Over the past 15 years there has been an emergence and subsequent regression of 'design method' as a supposed way of going about solving architectural problems or understanding the processes of design... contending that the processes of design are knowable and teachable, these design methods have come to us with a functionalist bias and quasi-scientific aspirations. The assumptions seem to be that if we know the facts, if we order and analyze them correctly, the design solution will follow naturally (and presumably without much interference from the architect). This assumption, that design and its processes can be predicted, is naive to a fault for if, indeed, the future can be predicted and consequently known before it occurs, then in effect the future becomes part of the present. (Akin and Weinel, 1982: 143)
By referring to sketches as playful dialogue, it is not intended to imply that sketches are languagelike, but rather to solicit the 'give and take' of dialogue that is also experienced in the philosophical ideas of play.
Much insight about the unpredictability of sketches can be extracted from an empirical approach. In most cases, architects have trouble expressing exactly what they are thinking with each line that they draw. In a recent study, Goel equates numerical statistics to the percentage of design development statements that a specific architect makes (Goel, 1995).
Another study by Masaki Suwa, John Gero and Terry Purcell at the University of Sydney questions how a designer is able to 'discover unintended visual/spatial features in sketches' (Suwa et al., 1999 : 3). These researchers classify three types of unexpected discoveries. The first type is a unique spatial or organizational relationship never before seen in the process. The second involves the action of reviewing a shape or texture that is essentially a reinterpretation of the original element. The third type is to 'newly perceive an implicit space in-between depictions'.
Their study involved observing an architect in the process of design. They were able to conclude specific percentages of each of these types of actions that happened during the architect' s design investigation. They found that, for example, 107 of the unexpected discoveries belonged to the 'relation' type, and the researchers were able to count and codify these statistics (Suwa et al., 1999). Their conclusions may seem logical to architects, when discussing the implications for design education, since they wrote: '[a]n ideal way to cognitively interact with one 's own design sketches is to discover as many hidden visual/spatial features in the sketches as possible ' (Suwa et al., 1999: 15). Suwa, Gero and Purcell have also concluded that '...when a designer simultaneously pays attention to a set of previously sketched elements which have never been attended to together, he or she is likely to make UXDs [unexpected discoveries]' (Suwa et al., 1999: 17).
In Goel 's study, he observes how often architects in his study look to images they have previously been drawing. This fact leads to an important notion that architects utilize memory and visual reference as associative techniques to transform and edit the current images in their focus. Goel also questioned designers' use of symbols and, from his research, confirms several qualities of external symbol systems that most architects use in design:
They [external symbol systems] include the facts that (i) designers manipulate representations of the world rather than the world itself, (ii) designers use many different symbol systems, and (iii) different symbol systems are correlated with different problem solving phases and cognitive processes. (Goel, 1995: 127)
Realizing the limitations of symbol systems is very important to a study of sketches, since a shape may mean something different every time it is drawn. Goel understands this difficulty and writes that ' as we move away from circumscribed puzzle-game domains, like cryptarithmetic, into more open-ended cognitive domains, like planning and design, and continue in the direction of the arts (literature, poetry, painting, music, etc.), cognitive science 's ability to explain the relevant cognitive processes approaches zero' (Goel, 1995: 6).
Zafer Bilda and John S. Gero performed a small study using three architects as subjects. They recorded verbalized segments inspecting these designers ' intentions (Bilda and Gero, 2005). These segments consisted of thoughts about an aspect of a current image of interest. They compared these interactions when the architect sketched blindfolded and when allowed to see. Bilda and Gero concluded that architects are more productive when using imagery in contrast to relying totally on memory. 'From the first 20 minutes of the session to the remaining time in the sessions, the overall cognitive activity in blindfolded condition each time dropped below the overall cognitive activity in sketching condition' (Bilda and Gero, 2005: 158). This study reminds architects that sketches work to spark memories and associative thoughts. Designers might sketch an image and, once it is comprehended, they can immediately react with another image in a conversation with the pencil and paper. There is much research using this methodology that informs the design process for architects and, although this empirical research is incredibly valuable, this book revels in the inconsistency of architects' forms and depends primarily on association and speculation to conclude intention.
The graphic images of sketches are two-dimensional, three-dimensional, and often digital, visual collections of marks which can be manipulated. Since they are easily transformable images, they play a major role in architectural thinking. They allow architects to transform and re-form them to influence conceptual discovery and refinement. The manipulation of the sketch affects the understanding of architecture, and this comprehension requires reflection and interpretation. Sketches are the translation of the character or appearance of a concept into an understandable or useable form. This often constitutes the transformation of a physical object or concept into another dimension or medium. Comparing the representational qualities of sketches to definitions of memory, imagination, fantasy, play, and traditional uses of caricature and the grotesque discloses the tangible and intangible aspects which make them fundamental in any process of design.
It is through exploring memory, imagination, fantasy, and play that the faculties of the mind can be realized in these images. Using research into the nature of memory, imagination and fantasy assists a discussion of how these elements can be viewed in sketches. The study of play, in the philosophical sense, reveals similar methods of manipulation as practiced by architects. This study proposes to find ways in which architectural sketches' likeness to elements of caricature and the grotesque offer important keys to their uses and how they are understood.
Sketches, caricature and the grotesque all depend upon a certain amount of resemblance. The similarity is often a matter of interpretation involving likeness to a referent. The transformative aspects of caricature and the grotesque in their simplicity, deformation, condensation, transformation, and exaggeration project a poignant view, as does a sketch. This book questions how the intermediary qualities of the known and the unknown in the grotesque echo the ambivalent and transitory quickness of a graphic image. It will also raise issues of ridicule in caricature and paradox in the grotesque, to explore their importance for sketching in architecture.
The implicit challenge is to raise issues of architectural sketches as representation and comprehend their complex positions within architecture. This discussion may also extend to how a study of architectural sketches can influence or replicate a conception of architecture. Does the way we draw, and more importantly our movement to digital methods, affect the completed construction? Wolfgang Meisenheimer states this proposition well: ' and the question arises of whether a new, different understanding of architectural drawing alludes to a new and different understanding of architecture!?' (Meisenheimer, 1987: 119).
This question is extremely difficult for a book to examine because it encompasses all of architecture. In an attempt to limit its scope, this investigation will touch on the interpretation of architectural conception through the examination of architectural sketches. Probing these images should reveal some of their conversational characteristics and the dependence of the design process on sketches.
This book explores the visual qualities of sketches; it is the observation of marks on a page. These marks indicate something to the architects who make them and, consequently, studying the remnants from the process should present insight into their uses. The sketch is an image that comprises a collection of forms standing for an object or thought as a representation, not necessarily including a program or statement of intention. James Smith Pierce suggests the problem of intent when examining drawings from history:
If he [the architect] has not set down his purpose in writing and his age has left no substantial body of theoretical writing or criticism to help us gauge his intent, we must follow the traces of his hand preserved in those drawings that are records of his mind and spirit. (Pierce, 1967: 59)
Few architects are able to communicate verbally their thoughts during the design process, although they may write about their theories and philosophies pertaining to concepts or precedent in their architecture. By concentrating on the traces of the hand, this study discusses issues that look to what can be observed in the physical sketch and finds comparisons to historical theories of representation. Like an archeologist, this study tries to isolate forms and techniques that suggest a method of design. It is hoped that the comparison to philosophical and literary principles will clarify the 'mind and spirit' as seen in the physical tracings.
However, finding importance in the image as a two-dimensional form is not the same as locating symbolic meaning. While these sketches can be attractive, their beauty is not part of the equation. Their thinking, discovering, evaluating, recording, visualizing, communicating and interpreting abilities stem from their relationship to the architect 's design activity. Louis I. Kahn discusses this relationship with reference to the sculptor, Rodin, when he writes how artists can sketch while still envisioning the three-dimensional form:
The drawings this great sculptor [Rodin] made took form with his eye on the final results in stone. Although working with seemingly sloppy washes and careless lines, he was always thinking in terms of his chisel and hammer. They are great drawings because they embody the hidden potentialities of his medium. They are the true visions of a creator. A biographer of Rodin explained that his drawing betrayed the divine impatience of the artist who fears that a fleeting impression may escape him: (Kahn, 1991 : 11 ).
The impetus for this book grew out of many years of observing sketches. After a period of time, certain themes began to emerge. In an obvious way, memory, imagination and fantasy were clearly qualities of sketches, since these three faculties of the mind are tied to creativity and image-making. The playful characteristics exhibited by sketches followed the realization that many architects sketch with great abandon and most see little value in the physical object of the sketch once they have served the process of design.
A definition of play as being representative, having boundaries to stretch against, involving 'give and take' and the immersion in a captivating creative activity are qualities that can be compared to sketches in a design process. The way in which architects manipulate and exaggerate led to research into caricature and the grotesque. Exposing a new 'truth' from deformation is a crucial issue in the distinctly visual aspects of sketches which may be compared to caricature and the grotesque.
After identifying these general topics sketches were chosen for their ability to reveal these themes for discussion; those that implied dialogue in particular were embraced. Sketches were then solicited from architects who generously allowed their reproduction.
This investigation will discuss architectural sketches using two basic approaches. Chapters 2 and 3 take properties inherent in sketches and, as a form of demarcation, reveal their contingency on memory, imagination, fantasy and play. The two chapters discuss aspects which comprise sketches as mental faculties. These faculties of the mind assist in understanding architectural sketches.
Chapters 4 and 5 discuss caricature and the grotesque, illuminating aspects of architectural sketches by comparison to established concepts of both image and likeness transformation. Caricature and the grotesque have historic meaning in literature and art as a process by which to reveal a truth. This study will, among other things, help to discover how architects use sketches, reveal how drawing affects the way they think, show architects' play with a drawing medium and paper, and expose some of the characteristics of architectural sketches.
The concluding chapter discusses the issues which tie this all together — likeness, the sketch 's characteristics, and the importance of sketches for the entire design process. The last chapter will also explore experiments with digital media as a further exploration of sketches. As a basis and introduction for the chapters, it is necessary to discuss the boundary circumscribing the concept of architectural sketches in relationship to drawing.
Thus, the methodology of this study is less concerned with empirical study and instead relies on observation, comparison, analogy, metaphor, and speculation to rejoice in a creative process.
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