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Buildings by Hand: The Design Process through Drawing

A new exhibition in London explores the value of traditional artistic craft in architectural and urban design

Hosted by the International Network for Traditional Building, Architecture, and Urbanism (INTBAU), the exhibition Buildings by Hand: the Design Process through Drawing is currently on display at the Prince’s Foundation for Building Community in, London. The exhibition is a collection of drawings by 26 different architects, artists, or urban designers who share an interest in the use of manual artistic skills as tools for design within their industry.

The exhibition promotes the importance of drawing in the creation process, demonstrating how these manual skills can contribute to the way in which we see and understand the world around us. In the gallery, this intent is quite obvious – Most of the drawings on display show sensitive artistic talent that is rarely seen in current design. It is refreshing to see architects and designers make the choice to employ these techniques rather than default solely to digital tools.

Alongside this departure from digitalisation, the collection also seems to reject the abstracted, diagrammatic graphics that are often seen in similar exhibitions. Instead the works are largely realistic representations of proposed projects. There is a distinct bias in the exhibition toward vernacular and pre-20th century architectural styles which reinforces an exclusive relationship between traditional architectural forms and traditional rendering techniques. This lack of pluralism is unfortunate but overall the exhibition does an impressive job of celebrating an artistic craft as a core component the process of architectural design processes.


Estudio Urbano
Watercolour of Masterplan


Buildings by Hand: The Design Process through Drawing

Venue: The Prince’s Foundation for Building Community
Location: Shoreditch, London
Dates: 28 January - 15 February 2013
Free Admission

Visit the exhibition website.




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