In his introduction to Drawing from Practice: Architects and the Meaning of Freehand, author J. Michael Welton explains that his personal interest in architectural drawing was inspired by three pencil sketches of the Virginia countryside drawn during the winters of 1946 and 1947 by his father, a World War II veteran, when he was a graduate student in the architecture program at the University of Virginia. Welton, a freelance architecture and design writer based in Wake Forest, North Carolina, first covered the subject in a 2011 feature he wrote for The Huffington Post.
Kicked off by a foreword by architect and professor Robert McCarter, Drawing from Practice takes a closer look at what the art of drawing means to 26 different architects including Stanley Tigerman, Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects, Alberto Alfonso, Deborah Berke, the late Michael Graves, and others. AIA Gold Medal winner Peter Bohlin explains that his love of drawing was inspired by his father, a former president of Eberhard Faber, who delivered pencils as a young man to architects like Hugh Ferris and Raymond Hood. Tod Williams explains that he draws not for pleasure, but to simply to help him think. For Daniel Libeskind, drawing was a way to communicate when he first moved to the U.S. as a boy and spoke no English.
While the font is tad small, this volume has a wonderful look, weight, and feel to it. Welton’s features and interviews on each practitioner are incredibly readable – and by that I mean written in clear, relaxed, flowing language that is absent of overly complex “architect speak” that would alienate those outside the profession. Overall, a nice book for those already practicing, those in school, or anyone who appreciates the power of hand drawing in the built world.
Drawing from Practice: Architects and the Meaning of Freehand
J. Michael Welton
All images courtesy of Routledge.