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A
Z
Inspired by "art built" - an interview with Marc Brousse
Current
2020
list Article list

Inspired by "art built" - an interview with Marc Brousse

1. What does it feel like to win the Prize?

It’s an honor to be distinguished by such an institution as Sir John Soane’s Museum, and to receive critical analyses by experienced judges Ken Suttleworth, Lily Jencks, Narinder Sagoo, Louise Stewart and Paul Finch.

It’s a pleasure to have the opportunity to present on a larger scale to a wider public audience, the drawing technique I developed and the significance of integrating narration in the architectural expression. I am really attached to the fact that art and architecture can interweave, and The Architecture Drawing Prize recognizes and emphasizes that notion.

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Hand-drawn Winner: Dear Hashima by Marc Brousse.
 

2. When did you develop a love for drawing and architecture?

I have been drawing since I was a child.

My parents and I travelled a lot when I was young. At the age of seven, I was immersed in Egyptian antiquity and the year after in Greek civilization. I have a specific emotional memory discovering the Meteora, the Orthodox Monasteries, in the Thessaly region of Greece. Hearing the monks’ song, looking at those churches sculpted in the rock made me realize the strength of architecture, its harmonic relationship with a site, and the soul of the place that people can bring in the way they dwell there.

That discovery of masterful architecture was decisive with my wish to practice architecture.

3. Do you draw in your spare time? If so, what do you like to draw?

I started my artistic career in 2015 which fed my architecture expression and engagement in wider topical debate. Before that my relationship with drawing was simply and very happily more about what I see, or what I imagine. So like many architects, armed with a notebook, a pen and depending on the place and my mood, I would try to grasp different types of rhythms that animate, compose and surround us.

I think it is important to alternate the types, the size and styles to embrace architectural principles for representation, because architecture is a combination of several knowledge realms. So by using architecture and urban settings in the scope art-chitectural message or narration, I illustrate and experiment with natural shapes, organic forms, studies of the human body, geometric form, or simply architectural vocabularies to formulate sense.

4. Do you have a favourite artist or architect whose work particularly inspires you?

There are a lot of architects from ancient times until nowadays who have an architectural reflection that fits with my fundamental values in architecture.

But if I have to make a choice, (I won’t be original) I consider Louis Khan and Alvaro Siza as reference in their approach, their distinction between geometry, plan layout and definition, structure, light and material (matter). For example, the fact that the wall is a living space, a living interstice.

In the realm of drawing, I am really fascinated by Piranesi for his melancholic vision of Rome, creating king of timeless architecture. And the work of Francois Schuitten, for his capacity to interweave and embrace different periods of architecture (even creating new styles) and generating this scheming architectural civilization. Their ability to generate cities with intriguing architecture is fascinating.

Jacques Lequeu with his pictorial and fictitious representations too. I am also really attached to Lebbeus Woods’ studies, even I would say treaties, concerning the experimental worlds he built including several fields to supply architecture. They all have a common point in the message they deliver, that architectural principles bring an ability to recondition our time-thinking.

5. What are your favourite brands and model of pencils, pens and paper for hand-drawing?

I am used to the traditional, that ever “out-of-fashion” rotring. Capricious when it dries sometimes but when you learn to draw with it, you tame each other.

I also use Japanese quills (Maru and Saji) mainly for illustrations, as Shojo or Shonen drawings.

Then a wide range of charcoals to reveal light and shadow and so matter.

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6. What is your favourite software for digital drawing and why?

During my architectural career and studies, I have learned to use many different types of software: Revit, Vectorworks, SketchUp, Archicad. But the one I prefer to use is Archicad, maybe because in its layering, components are quite flexible in creating the bridge between conception and execution. The nomenclature, the glossary is quite efficient in organizing and separating each phase of a project, and the software provides flexibility in the way you can elaborate on architecture. Also the ability to generate quick renderings and 3D visualizations is quite interesting as a tool for the conception phase and debate/brainstorm.

7. Is there any particular building you’d like to draw or reimagine and why?

My awarded work Dear Hashima is part of a long series I am developing. The project will be a timeless frieze. The artworks will define a collection on the architectural strength of our different civilizations past or future by humankind.

Cities and civilizations are mortal so I think it’s important to make durable the memory of the place through architectural drawing.

So like the utopia island of Thomas More, visions of cities without time could be illustrated, compiling a moral vision of the world.

I intend also to represent and redraw/revitalize that Urbatopias like Angor Wat, Pompei, Petra, Ma’Rib, Gagnon, Sanzhi, etc.

Lastly, It would be interesting to redraw and reconsider The Mundaneum, a precursor of the internet developed by Paul Otlet during the beginning of the 20th century. The idea of creating an architecture that aimed to gather together all the world’s knowledge and so would, in my opinion, gather together humankind’s history and soul.

It would be an interesting response/opposite view and direction of internet; living physical architecture vs living virtual ones. Architecture has the power to gather people and transmit knowledge, it is a real bridge for socialization compared to “network architecture” that in my mind disconnects people, the physical presence being deleted. Nowadays, we need to reinforce the fundamental values of our environment such as architecture, the nature of a city as a vector of social relationships and unification, and I think such a utopian project is challenging and necessary. Such a project could take place in different places, and for example Hashima Island could be revitalized in that sense.

8. What are the perfect conditions for sitting down and drawing?

A room with a view on the skyline to leave your mind travelling; having the possibility to catch different atmospheres when architecture, nature and sky debate.

Then my good old fashion drawing table. It’s nothing really original but it’s dear to me because its an heirloom from my family.

When I draw I like being isolated, to be in my bubble. When I create I listen to music. I think it’s obvious to say that architecture has a intimate link with music (the Renaissance period best experimented with and expressed that interrelation to compose architecture). Then the score, the rhythm of music influences the sequence of my cadence, my tempo, the rate between my brain and my pen. I like classical music, old and contemporary. For example at the moment I am fascinated by the German musician and composer Max Richter. Its a sensory journey that I cannot describe. Just listen to it.

 

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. View the winning and shortlisted entries of the 2020 competition in our virtual gallery.