Architectural Drawing: Not for Construction, 2021

Curated by a83
New York, NY

“Drawing is the principal medium of architecture. If the building is the ultimate effect of architectural drawing then the drawing itself is a means to an end. Alternatively, if the drawing is the product of architectural labor, then the building is a translation of drawings—inevitably an imperfect interpretation, compromised by gravity and contractors. What might it mean, then, to make architectural drawings if not for construction? This exhibition shares answers from four designers: Bruna Canepa, Sean Canty, Adam Charlap Hyman, and Clement Laurencio. Their approaches and concerns differ except for their common commitment to producing works on paper.
      These designers prove that fantastic things can happen when architectural drawing is let loose from its role in guiding construction. The drawings represent nothing but themselves: the line represents a line, and it is always at a scale of 1:1. Unlike digital models, these drawings do not follow the rules of our three-dimensional world. They exploit the liberties of pictorial space, delineating imaginative forms and impossible perspectives. Drawing by hand produces irreducibly real things, a counterpoint to the virtual image. The drawings materialize the decision-making process of design. It is a physically impressive act, as athletic as it is deliberative. Built up on ground, drawings are—like buildings—constructed.”


Can we look at a drawing as a miniature of a construction site? We gather specific tools, use them with their compatible techniques and a recognizable set of materials and, most importantly, we work with our hands (and our bodies) passing rulers, pens and pencils over the page. Drawings are constructions in and of themselves. Drawings are not flat surfaces but three-dimensional things with materiality: thickness, texture, shape, size. A drawing is also a space for decisions, with the potential for experimentation––the surface of the page is imprinted with our trials and errors, rendering a record of the process and our efforts. The three drawings constructed here are just that: a compilation of gestures made with tools guided by a pair of hands and an intent; a succession of actions made material. Their images? Structures and symbols rupturing, constructed with noisy lines and colors on paper.