Like many of her generation, architect Nalina Moses was trained 20 years ago to draw by hand, but also use CAD.
Over time, the computer became her “go-to” source for renderings.
Then a few years back, she began to draw by hand again. “It’s faster and a better way to communicate with people,” she says. “I wondered if others felt the same way.”
She also wondered if a book was in order. “I posted a call for submissions and hundreds of architects responded,” she says. “I was pleased with the selection – you would never mistake one architect’s work from another.”
The result is “Single-Handedly: Contemporary Architects Draw by Hand” from Princeton Architectural Press. In it are more than 200 drawings from 43 architects – and a foreword from everyone’s favorite, Tom Kundig.
The drawings vary in media, including collage, pencil, ink on Mylar, watercolor and acrylic paint. Some are from notebooks, others are on vellum and still others on graph paper. “They’re a very diverse set of materials,” she says.
Her inspiration for the book, she says, came from her own work methods as well as other architects working as fine artists. “I saw them devote a lot of time and energy to work by hand,” she says.
And she sees a liberating connection between those who work visually and by hand. “Working on a computer sets limits in terms of geometry and perspective,” she says. “Working in an architect’s office is another set of conventions, but when you pick up a pencil or watercolor, there’s imaginative freedom with that.”
She calls “Single-Handedly” a showcase of beautiful hand drawings that architects produce today, noting that a number of architects continue to work by hand, even doing CD sets that way.
But there’s more to the book than that: “It’s proposing that hand drawing remain a vital part of our profession and a vital part of training for architect,” she says.
Alas, that’s a topic that’s still open to debate.