The Digital Culture of Contemporary Architectural Drawings
Jeremy Ficca, Carnegie Mellon University
Amy Kulper, Rhode Island School of Design
Grace La, Harvard University Graduate School of Design
17 September 2019 – 11 January 2020
Opening Reception | 17 September 2019 | 6:30-9:00pm
Opening event with private viewing in the presence of the curators. Further events will be listed on the Roca London Gallery website as they are confirmed.
School of Architecture Associate Professor Jeremy Ficca co-curates the exhibition Drawing Attention: The Digital Culture of Contemporary Architectural Drawings at the Roca London Gallery in coordination with Amy Kulper (Rhode Island School of Design) and Grace La (Harvard University Graduate School of Design). Ficca will be in London to attend the opening reception taking place on September 17 from 6:30-9:00pm; the opening coincides with this year’s London Design Festival.
This exhibition is an adapted iteration of Drawing for The Design Imaginary, which was presented at the Carnegie Museum and Carnegie Mellon University on the occasion of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture’s 2019 national conference. Building upon the ACSA conference’s theme on the current state of architecture’s core, this initial exhibition explored the role of drawing as pedagogical and imaginative instrument, including drawings by architects, faculty and students.
The exhibition examines the state of contemporary architectural drawing, revealing its potential to describe so much more than simply the detailing of a building’s construction. In what is now being referred to as the “postdigital era” – a time when technology is so pervasive that it is the basis of all we create and the medium through which we think – contemporary architects are wielding the digital as an ever more powerful tool.
Ficaa, Kulper, and La have curated a diverse and surprising collection of some seventy contemporary drawings from established and emerging practitioners around the globe. This work is stimulated by a wide range of inputs: from waste, to olfactory cloud patterns; from political borders to airflow.
The curators say “at the crossroads of architecture and information environments, resides the promise and the speculative future of the drawing. Its capacity to structure, imagine, realize, speculate, transform, politicize, and activate makes the drawing an enduring vehicle for the discipline. Drawing Attention poses the question: can drawings posit possible futures that eschew vaporization and establish architecture as an agile and critical agent in contemporary digital culture?”
The architectural drawing is multivalent. It can be as gestural and incomplete as a sketch, or as well wrought and detailed as a rendering. It can express building tectonics and construction logics in one context, aesthetic qualities in another. It can be a vehicle for exploration, or an instrument of execution. Nowhere is the multivalence of the architectural drawing more pronounced than in the contemporary context of digital culture. In a moment in which Photoshop layers supplant layers of trace and pixels duel with graphite, the roles of the architectural drawing are simultaneously contested, questioned, and clarified. Drawing Attention dwells in the current paradox of the architectural drawing. The exhibition gathers contemporary architectural drawings from a range of international practices and the academy. The assembled drawings are diverse in their content, but even more varied in their engagement of digital techniques and methodologies. Drawing Attention examines the roles of architectural drawings in this moment of radical disciplinary and cultural change. The drawings assembled in this exhibition provide a compelling snapshot of global architectural drawing practices and the plethora of analog, digital, and hybrid representational methods they employ.
Drawing Attention raises these questions, issues, and provocations:
Has the pull of digital image culture strengthened or depleted the efficacy of the architectural drawing?
If the conceit of the ‘postdigital’ resides in its recognition that contemporary culture is always already digital, liberating discourse and practice from the strictures of analog/digital dualism, how does this effect the operations and audiences of the architectural drawing?
What territories and possibilities does digital culture open up for the architectural drawing, and how have the roles of analog drawing transformed as a result?
Digital culture posits a productive tension for architectural drawing between the agency of drawing and the agency of the image. How is this manifested in the drawings in this exhibition?
About Roca London Gallery
Roca Galleries are part of Roca’s international strategy to express the brand values of design, innovation, sustainability and wellbeing. They also convey a desire to maintain an ongoing dialogue with society and professionals who share an interest in shaping the future of bathroom spaces. The various Roca Galleries in Barcelona, Madrid, Lisbon, Shanghai and London are a vehicle for expressing this desire, while providing a meeting place and area for interior decorators, designers and architects worldwide. First opened in October 2011, the Roca London Gallery is the result of a cooperative effort with Zaha Hadid Architects. The Roca London Gallery is a functional and flexible area where the Roca product showroom shares its space naturally with exhibitions, presentations, professional meetings and events relating to design, architecture and sustainability.