CAD perspectives (I feel) do a bad selling job - often they're so 'realistic' in the virtual sense, that their impact and cleverness falls flat and can even seem facile to the lay person.
I definetly do not intend making bad perspectives, if I know I can use a tool which cuts through the donkey work faster and better than anything I can do. I also believe that using computers to visualise Architecture has helped me to see the world around me, more clearly, to see Architecture, and therefore to improve my ability to draw it freehand if I wish. As with any good draughts person, it is more important what you do not draw, the parts of the paper you leave blank, as the lines you do make. Seeing Architecture through computer visualisation, has helped me to develop economy in my sketching, and be happy with a sketch sooner, rather than working it for hours, in a vain effort to make it deeply personal and deeply artistic in its own right. As someone who comes from an Artistic sketching background myself, a sketch is always a creation of love and care, like a poem, it becomes an end in itself. That is why I chose to stop sketching Architecture, and turn to something as artificial as a computer instead.
I envy those people doing architecture today, who never developed an emotional bond with the act of drawing - because it allows them to use sketching to design, rather than to express emotions through the strength of a line, the quiver of a wrist movement or the whites of the page, you did not touch. I tend to enjoy making very 'expressionistic, emotional, El Greco' types of representations of Architecture, which isn't about dealing with clients, but about producing Art. I hate it when people reject, my sketches of Architecture, because to me, personally it feels like they have no respect for my Art!
Neil Downes once told a story about the famous Neo-Impressionist Painter Cezanne, reputed by many art critics to be the 'father of Cubism'. How Cezanne was so sensitive about what he painted. If someone said it wasn't good he would get mad, and want to know why. If someone, said it was a good painter he would say, "So you didn't think I could paint like that eh!" :-)
I love computers, because at least someone else wrote the computer software that produced the image, therefore I am not attached emotionally to it. Therefore I can adjust the design, recover from bad criticism of an image or visual, and in the end, produce a better design for my client, and for myself as an Architect. I was sketching like an adult when I was barely a teenager - I grew up with that ability, like other teenagers grow up with U2 or Nirvana. When I hear this:
I know that person was like most of the young people I did Architecture with in Bolton Street. Who never actually handled a pencil, or discovered the power of it, until they were in first year of an Architectural degree course! When ever I draw to this day, I become nervous, and my palms become wet - everything I am goes into the expression of the drawing, and hours fade away like they were seconds. So clearly sketching is not an option for me designing Architecture - to remain objective. That is why I hate Bolton Street's insistence that I need to sketch rather than using a computer to design.In one of your earlier posts you mentioned possiblity of thinking computers but perhaps we should be reminded that this is not the case yet- computers and they're programs are created by us, written and informed by humanity. Every project developed in this way is coloured by someone elses preconceived notions. So my objection to complete computer design is that intrinsicaly it must breed homogeneity.
Because for me, sketching is like plugging directly into a high voltage power line, when all I require is a few amps out of a socket in the wall! Electric guitar filling a stadium with mega-watts of sound, as oposed to an acoustic guitar filling a room full of melody. Why do people assume a pencil, is always like the acoustic guitar? For me it is the electric guitar, and the computer is more like an acoustic guitar!
This Article of mine, attempts to show what computers could offer the profession. But taking a tool like a computer and sitting in front of it constantly is no help. Architect's such as Tschumi, Holl, Mayne have brought it forward somewhat I believe. Since their theoretical foundations are based on how we see/experience the world around us, using such an artificial means to design it, isn't such a big draw back. However, digging deep into the phenomenonological way of designing architecture, is theoretical and harder work than most people are prepared to do, in order 'to design'.
I have spent a long, long time dealing with Architecture from the phenomenonological perspective, and I find the approach taken by Francis D.K. Ching, is far deeper and more complex, than his hand drawn sketching style would first tend to suggest. In fact, Francis D.K. Ching is often the 'Basic Architectural design guide' using by 17-year-old students years ago like myself. But the theoretical bedrock of Ching's approach is to be found deep within the phenomenonological theory of design. Ching just added some pictures and made something very complex 'appear simple'. Which is not in fact the case here.
All were more or less identical in terms of critical elements, broad appearance and layout yet the end result from these predetermined forms were quite different from one another.
Be very careful here, as I discussed in this thread people related to the world around them very differently in the old days. It was pedestrian transport generally, or horses which could navigate the narrow medieval ramps and streets. Look at some of the knight's templar complex's, which are wonderful piece of architecture to experience, but were the equivalent of a US airbase, and munitions store for a Desert Storm today.
Nowadays, peoples' only relationship with space is either by (1)Cars or (2)Movies or (3)Internet. It is nice to think of the Washington monument 'out there' or Mogadisu (Black Hawk Down) 'out there' as places were great movie battles happen. Or the fantasy world's created by Steven Spielberg in the movie AI. But as Tschumi rightly pointed out, Cinema did have a huge impact upon our perception of space and time. Le Corbusier, introduced things equivalent to medieval narrow ramped streets into his slab buildings. So does Meier and Holl nowadays. Louis Kahn worked hard to introduce back elements of the Knight's templar kind of ancient Architecture back into modernism. Materials like stone, natural daylighting, a feeling of history and time.
In many ways predetermination is a virtue.I t takes the hard and sometimes pointless (re-inventing the wheel) work out of conceptualisation and focusses effort upon the real business of detailing, spatial juxtaposition and the always ephemeral 'quality' .
For example - I'm convinced it would be possible and perhaps interesting to make great architecture out of such a predetermined form as the semi detached, tile pitched house - of course it would take an enormous amount of effort - that was really the great strength of Grainne Hassetts Coill Dubh Credit Union - taking teh 70's bungalow, turning it on its head and making it into a recognisably desirable architectural model.
Now you are really sucking diesel James. But you see Ching's own approach was to look at simple spaces, simple architecture and analyse the conditions that made it exceptional. Natural Light, colour, texture, shadows, proportions, openings, views, circulation... most young architects are not encouraged to define themselve adequately in relationship to all of that. Because it is exceptionally hard work. What are the qualities that might turn simple boxes, or even bungalows into really nice Architectural experiences. One has to know the rules very well first, in order to break them. A lot of Kahn's houses can be described very simply from a formal point of view. But he managed to get so much return from light, views and openings, that the Architecture rises above itself completely. Not many Architects I know can just pull that off as convincingly.
This Article of mine, attempts to encourage myself and other Architects to study these ingredients better.
I would be a big critic of Tom Power but that has been one of his strengths - looking for the magical in the ordinary.
And Tom would say himself, he does know when the Architecture is baked, which would suggest he spent a large portion of his time, learning to use the correct ingredients. Arnie Williams is a guy who writes for Cadence magazine, and has some interesting things to say.
Brian O' Hanlon.