7 Unmistakable Architect's Sketches

September 11, 2014 /

sanaa_nishizawa-sketch.jpgProposal for De Kunstlinie' Theatre and Cultural Centre. Sketch by Ryue Nishizawa

With their unique ability to instantly communicate complex concepts, architectural drawings and sketches are unparalleled in their capacity to anticipate the esthetic appearance of a building after its completion.

The hand-drawn vision can highlight the main features and characteristics of a building, which tend to be overshadowed by the seemingly photo-realistic approach of renderings. Despite the infinite possibilities of computer-aided design, drawings and sketches remain the most intuitive expression method of many architects. 

Sketches comprise a thinking mechanism and through the qualities of ambiguity, quickness and change, they initiate a dialogue for architects. As a medium to facilitate communication, recording, discovery and evaluation, their pertinence lies in their ability to exhibit both the precise and the imprecise. 

We've gathered a handful of remarkable architects, who are using the freedom of the hand drawing to express their particular architectural vision.

Powerful and diagrammatic

Dominique Perrault

Fish Lamps (1983)

Instinctive and enquiring

Frank O. Gehry

Sketch © Santiago Calatrava archives Sketchbook 1989

Conceptual and clear

Santiago Calatrava

SANAA: Competition Sketches

Quirky and susceptible


Sydney Opera House Utzon's sketch shows the podium as a continuous structure, culminating in the Foyer-Bar overlooking the bay.

Poignant and evocative

Jørn Utzon

Álvaro Siza Sketches

Squiggly and expressive

Álvaro Siza

Linked Hybrid Beijing, China

Colourful and palpable

Steven Holl

Last updated: September 12, 2014

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