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A
Z
“What can you see behind this building?” - an interview with Chenglin(Able) Jin
现在
2020
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“What can you see behind this building?” - an interview with Chenglin(Able) Jin

Chenglin(Able) Jin is a recent graduate from the University of California, Berkeley with a Bachelor of Arts in Architecture. Prior to this he studied under Coleman Griffith, a licensed architect and designer based in California and also Able’s long-time mentor.

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

As the winner of an architectural competition for the first time, I feel honored and humbled. The recognition of my hard work among this group of immensely talented competitors motivates me to keep going. Hopefully, this is the first of many accolades in my architectural road ahead.

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

As my most-frequently-used online username Arch-holic suggests, I am an addict of architecture, and drawing is a close runner-up in my spectrum of passion. From my practices, I realized much of architecture can be derived from my process drawing. Because I haven’t had any formal art or drawing training, my style of approach is rather gestural than that of a realist. Nonetheless, I find articulating and formulating these ideas in drawing fashion both joyful and effective.

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

Architecture for me is more of a lifestyle than a profession. My thought process for architecture tends to extend into my spare time. Therefore, I am never far away from my sketchbook and my pen very far away from architecture.

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

From my education, artists and architects such as Zaha Hadid, Le Corbusier, Lebbeus Woods, Perry Kulper, and El Lissitzky have been inspirational and impactful in terms of developing my architectural language and style. I have also investigated intensively the styles of cubist, purist, suprematism, and particular Russian avant-garde art movements.

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

I haven’t had any preferences. They are merely vehicles for transcribing my thoughts.

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

My favorites for digital drawing are Rhinoceros and Adobe Illustrator, both vector-based software products. As a Rhinoceros 3D certified specialist, I am comfortable with Rhino for both 2D and 3D workflows before exporting to Illustrator for refining and detail editing.

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

My style of drawing is more conceptual than formal. I wish to see beyond what is visible. Peter Eisenman mentioned once that his mentor posed to him the question “what can you see behind this building?”. This influenced me to be more interested in the interpretation and reading of buildings as opposed to that of the built form. I believe this ability to visualize the unseen is what separates an architect from others.

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

The perfect situation for me is a lively coffee shop that opens to the wee hours of the night to accommodate my long work sessions. I often find myself spending the entire day so immersed in my tasks that the baristas have to remind me of their closing time. At times, I listen to wavelength-focused genres of music to boost my productivity, but usually I like keeping my mind clear for the process I am dedicating myself to.

 

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.