symposium: Is Drawing Dead?
Convened at this liminal moment, this symposium will explore drawing in all of its variants and its place in the making of architecture.
Thursday, 02/09 to Saturday, 02/11
Paul Rudolph Hall
Yale School of Architecture
180 York Street
New Haven, Connecticut 06511
Since the early Renaissance the defining act of architecture has been the production of drawings. Originating within the site-bound paradigm of ancient and medieval building practice, architecture as a distinct professional and intellectual endeavor emerged from a newfound ability to define and depict form, space, material, and structure. As conventions of scale, measure, projection, and perspective were developed and sharpened, drawing not only became a tool for creative ideation but also offered designers the potential for control and authorship of the process with patrons, builders, and larger audiences.
Over time, drawing practice proved sufficiently stable and flexible to remain the architect’s primary instrument of investigation and expression. However, as the promise of digital technology is increasingly fulfilled by sophisticated methodologies, such as parametric modeling, computational design, digital design and fabrication, and Building Information Management (BIM), drawing has come under stress and become ill-defined and moribund. Developments over the past decade have challenged a practice that has flourished for a half millennium leading one to ask: Is drawing dead?
For some, the current moment is one of crisis. The proliferation of digital tools has radically changed the historic role of drawing, once the signature skill of the architectural profession. Drawing, and consequently, the entire architectural profession is withering while architects surrender creative agency to digital processes. Designers are demoted to information managers, and the seductive verisimilitude of digital rendering supplants critical reflection. This rapid transformation has led many, such as the Finnish architect and educator Juhani Pallasmaa, to call for “slowness” in face of the digitization of design.
Others see the moment as one of unparalleled opportunity. Digital design has matured through what Nicholas Negroponte, the founder of the MIT Media Lab, has called the “accommodative” and “adaptive” phases of integration into conventional design processes. It is now on the brink of the “evolutionary” phase in which digital processes assist designers to advance the formal possibilities of building design while also altering conventional understanding of the process of design and construction through previously unimagined paradigms of conception, representation, and distribution.
Friday, 02/10: Afternoon Session, 2:00 PM
THE VOICE OF DRAWING: HISTORY, MEANING, AND RESISTANCE
Introduction: Victor Agran
—Cammy Brothers, Deanna Petherbridge; Juhani Pallasmaa, Antoine Picon.
Moderator: Jennifer Leung
Evening Session, 6:30 PM
KEYNOTE ADDRESS: Sir Peter Cook
Respondent: Stanislaus von Moos
Saturday, 02/11: Morning Session, 9:30 AM
BURNING BRIDGES: QUESTIONING PRACTICE
Introduction: Turner Books
—Julie Dorsey, Andrew Witt, Patrik Schumacher, Casey Reas, Marvin Chun
Discussion Moderator: Michael Young
Afternoon Session, 2:00 PM
THE CRITICAL ACT
Introduction: George Knight Yale University
—Preston Scott Cohen, Marion Weiss, Greg Lynn, Michael Graves
Discussion Moderator: Sunil Bald Yale University
Concluding Address: Mario Carpo