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A
Z
Architecture and Creativity
Current
list Article list

Architecture and Creativity

Posted 23.10.2019
By Laura Iloniemi

This week I heard that at Tongji University architecture students have studio space after studio space dedicated to drawing, painting, including Chinese ink painting, and sculpture. Gifted students at the University are also awarded a grand tour type stipend to visit Europe and return home having made works of art inspired by their travels.

As a student, I remember my future architect friends being similarly explorative working with oils and acrylics, charcoal and pastels painting portraits and still lifes and abstract works. I always understood this as a way to think, to train the eye, to free up one’s mind, not unlike a long walk by the sea or through a city for a writer.

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The Eternal City: Section through the equator - James Redman
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Explorations on a Motorbike - Ken Shuttleworth

Working with Make Architects this month on their current exhibition in their London studio, that marks the practice’s 15th anniversary, has given me a glimpse into how “Makers” are using different media, ranging from photography to film to pottery and painting and drawing to sculpture and craft to express themselves and to interpret the world around them (my snaps above).   The exhibition called “Makers Create” has a great variety of work that when shown together is indicative of a creative energy that is moving. And especially so as the works are all made in Makers’ free time. This in itself reminds me of how architecture is an art form and a calling or way of life. A way of being in the world.

It is clear that many Makers both young and old-ish spend their time devouring the world and its sights with much of the same enthusiasm and awe that a student might. This sort of desire to record and remember events is transported into many of the works shown in the exhibition.  Some are, of course, more abstract and many reflective or joyous and equally others are critical or mysterious. The approaches also range from loose brushstrokes of abstract painting to painstaking detailed and intricate ink on paper drawings. In some you can read an architectural sensibility, a rigour or spatial awareness that suggests this.

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Makers Create is on display until 7th November 2019

An architect friend of mine, a talented draughtsman who has worked in several of London’s leading practices visited the exhibition and immediately remarked on how incredibly generous it is of Make to support their team’s talents and personal projects in this way.  In addition to this, the exhibition is a great way to celebrate the profession and the wide set of skills that architects can bring to projects. It connects the profession with other forms of art in a positive way reinforcing the cultural value of this discipline. It makes you think that architects around the world could benefit from being more multi-faceted in how they communicate their abilities, sensibilities and interests.

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The New Era for Hubert and Master Squelch - Sacha Bennett-Ford
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Chili Pots - Cara Bamford

This post forms part of our series on The Architecture Drawing Prize: an open drawing competition curated by Make, WAF and Sir John Soane’s Museum to highlight the importance of drawing in architecture. The competition is now closed and winners will be announced soon. Sponsored by William Hare Group.