#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
#
A
Z
Winner of The Architecture Drawing Prize 2020 - an interview with Clement Laurencio
Current
2020
list Article list

Winner of The Architecture Drawing Prize 2020 - an interview with Clement Laurencio

Posted 23.03.2021
By Clement Laurencio

Born in the South of France, Clement Luk Laurencio studied architecture at the University of Nottingham (UK), after which he travelled to New York to work for Bernard Tschumi Architects and then on to a small firm in Geneva. He returned to the UK to complete his M.Arch at the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL where he worked on his prize-winning drawing ‘Apartment #5’. Now he is an External Design Critic at the University of Nottingham, while pursuing his drawing practice and other professional projects.

#

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

It all feels very surreal… even though it has been some time since the announcement! I must say, it is absolutely humbling to be amongst the other incredible shortlisted drawings and winners of the other categories. At the same time it is incredibly motivating, as it pushes me to explore and to develop my practice even further!

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

My first connection to architecture was when I was about ten years old. My parents took me to the MoMA in New York, where I saw these small and intricate architectural models. I was so intrigued, and I could not help but stare in awe at these miniature spaces! They were small worlds behind a glass box, and I would imagine myself walking through them. From that moment onwards, I started to pay closer attention to the spaces around me.

Drawing, came earlier than that. As a child, I would draw anything that was around me: objects, furniture, toys. Though, I think I always preferred the making of the drawing, rather than the finished drawing itself. Back then (and even now), there was something so liberating about putting pencil to paper and seeing something appear with every mark being made.

Though, it was only right before the start of my Undergrad when I came across the drawings of Frank Lloyd Wright (I must have missed his drawings when I visited the MoMA back then). That’s when I found that drawing and architecture could come together, to create something so beautiful. Such thoughtful and elegant draughtsmanship… I was absolutely astonished. They were more than just a drawing of a building; they were works of art in themselves!

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

I do try to draw whenever I have some spare time. Now that I’m free of any strict deadlines, such as the ones for portfolio submissions, I can really take my time with a drawing. Slowly adding to them and letting them breath. Now, I can let the ideas simmer, and the drawing becomes more of continuous and open-ended exploration, rather than a full stop. I realized how important ‘time’ was when drawing.

Recently, I’m interested in spaces from my past: from my memory. It is something which started off with the ‘Apartment #5’ drawings, and, with the pandemic situation still affecting travel, I still feel as if there’s more to uncover, within the realm of architecture, memory, and the poetics of space. Today, drawing has been a way of travelling, a meditation… an escapade for me. Almost like when one reads novels, listens to music, or indulges in a daydream. I feel quite at peace.

drag
 

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

I’m afraid it’s a long list! I don’t necessarily gravitate towards a particular style or a technique, rather, I really enjoy those drawings which you can’t help but keep looking at, and every time you look, you discover something new. Some might awaken something which I hadn’t thought of before… others might explore a discourse which goes beyond the page… others can just be beautiful works in themselves… or perhaps, they are all of these at once! It ranges from Piranesi’s dream-like etchings to Perry Kulper’s multi-layered drawings, from Lebbeus Woods’ vivid worlds to Thom Mayne’s sculptural-drawings, from Peter Wilson’s expressive works to Bernard Tschumi’s transcripts… the list goes on and just keeps growing!

I also enjoy looking outside of the architectural field. Film holds a wealth of inspiration for me, particularly when I watch Tarkovsky’s, Lynch’s, and Hitchcock’s cinema. Their filmic spaces have such gravitas and atmosphere that they pull you in, while their compositions and narratives are that which gives life to their spaces.

Text is another incredible source of inspiration, and one which is ever more intriguing, mainly because the spaces are constructed using words. Bachelard’s or Borges’ ephemeral works, describe such incredible and palpable spatial atmospheres, all through text.

Finally, the elemental works of Zumthor, Kahn and Scarpa, are truly awe-inspiring to me (and of course to many!). Whether I am physically present in their buildings, or appreciating them through images in a book, I can’t help but pause and contemplate. I also get a similar feeling when moving through Ugo Brunoni’s Eglise Sainte-Trinité, which takes the form of a gigantic granite sphere, hidden away from the prying eyes of the main street, or, sitting below Leandro V. Locsin’s immense floating cantilever in his Tanghalang Pambansa. I feel, the power of these works, whether from film, text, drawing or architecture, comes from their ability to transport you in their worlds, almost to suspend disbelief, and to draw you in. You simply have to pause.

#

Winning drawing: Apartment #5, a Labyrinth and Repository of Spatial Memories by Clement Laurencio

 

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

I usually have a set of Faber-Castell graphite pencils on hand. I’ve been using their pencils for years now… maybe even a decade! As for paper, Daler-Rowney’s smooth cartridge drawing paper is perfect for me. The slightly off-white tone brings some warmth to the drawing and the pencil just glides on its surface.

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

Like my pencil and my paper, I’m a minimalist when it comes to software. I just use ‘Pixelmator’ (an application similar to ‘Adobe Photoshop’ for Mac) for shading and composition. If I need to create three-dimensional works for some projects/ drawings, I enjoy using Rhinoceros. I’m aware there exists far more powerful tools which are specialised for digital drawing, but I simply haven’t made the leap to experiment!

drag
 

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

Just to pick-up on what I briefly touched upon in question three, these days, my drawings look into the idea of ‘spatial memories’ and how these memories can re-appear to us as flashbacks. The ‘Apartment #5’ drawing begins to explore the idea of re-imagining the dwelling as a physical place which can co-exist with these spatial flashbacks; spatialising memories. In that case, my site became the apartment in which I was staying in at the time.

So, to answer your question, it is the buildings and spaces which I have visited in my past which are more intriguing to me, mainly because, perceptually, we all hold our own image and associative memories of a place where we have stood in. Afterall, while our memories exist in our minds, they are as much a product of our own body’s sensorial perceptions.

Particularly now, as the pandemic drags on and our movements are still restricted, those spaces which are in our minds have a renewed importance for ourselves. They still remain palpable to us, not only in scale and size, but also in smell, touch and hearing. We can reminisce standing in those spaces once again, even while we are stuck at home.

For the project and the drawings, I looked back to the India trip, not only because it was an entirely new experience, but also because the memories and atmospheres were still freshly engrained in my mind. I could still recall the feeling of wandering through the vast hallways in Kahn’s IIM and letting the breeze run through me, or, resting my palms on the warm sun-baked roof of Doshi’s Sangath: they were still so vivid in my mind.

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

I do enjoy drawing at night in my darkened room, with only the warm glow of a desk lamp … there’s a nice quietness and stillness. But I get told off that it is too dark and it’ll damage my eyes! Other than that, and aside from a pencil and paper, I don’t need much. Sometimes music can help to drown out noise, and to focus in on the drawing. Ryuichi Sakamoto has always been a favourite of mine! If not, then silence is just as immersive. Either way, when drawing you really do feel as if you inhabit it… it really is like going on a daydream.

drag
 

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.