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Layered Perspective

Layered Perspective Matt Kelly UF G|SoA CityLab Orlando

ARC 6116 Drawing Toward Architecture Fall 2012 CityLab-Orlando University of Florida Graduate School of Architecture

introduce. Sketching is a way to say something on paper without using words. This notion of subliminal expression is interesting because it becomes another form of art. In a way, sketching acts as the canvas to which a more refined idea is applied. Layering more ideas or information onto a base sketch allows for an artist to go into detail about what it is they are trying to say without having to verbally explain it. Further, a sketch is the catalyst for undiscovered ideas. The layered quality of a drawing usually starts with a simple line sketch. The additional layers aren’t necessarily thought of at the time of the sketch’s conception, but are born out of ideas learned and derived from the sketch itself. This creates an interesting duality of thought between the layering of elements in a drawing and the literal layering of thoughts themselves.

Perspective: Nap Ford Community School, pencil & marker on watercolor

I prefer drawing to talking. Drawing is faster, and leaves less room for lies.

-Le Corbusier

The sketch is the essence of an idea about an object or place. The “personality” and detail about something usually come after the sketch is though, re-thought, erased and re-thought again. It is this transparent quality that makes a sketch so vital in the process of creation. There is an inherent honesty within them that cannot be faked, rushed or denied. In this regard they become living things, or as Bill Buxton states, “Sketches are social things. They are lonely if they are discarded as soon as they are done.”

These drawings show how this can take place. Starting with a simple sketch, textures and entourage were added and an environment was created.

Perspective sketch: ink on velum

perspective sketch: penicl on velum

Similarly, we can interact with, alter, add to, take and learn from them. Architecturally speaking, they can become very useful tools if other elements become layered and embedded within them. A “narrative” or “sense” of place can emerge from a sketch or photo with minimal effort, and a simple image can evolve into an actual story conveyed through an image.

perspective render sketch,entourage added in photoshop

process model photo photo with entourage

This is especially helpful when conveying an idea to a client in a short amount of time without constructing an entire digital model. Today, it is so easy to rely on technology to produce quick ideas and images but the experience of connecting yourself to your work through hand on paper cannot be replicated. Similarly, interacting with a sketched idea as a client forms a more personable bond that is unique in nature.

thumbnail renderings entourage added in photoshop

axonometric sketch pencil on watercolor

This is a quality that architects and designers of all kinds are fortunate to have because it allows us to not only become intimate with our work, but also because we can easily share this intimate relationship with our clients. This bond that is created is also symbolically weaved within the fabric of its own complex method communication.

Sketches accompanied with layers of information create an intricate language from which ideas are channeled subliminally. An image cannot always contain paragraphs upon paragraphs of text to assist in the process of understanding it, so it is essential that enough information be given to adequately portray the intended message. Moreover, it is important that the image not look “layered” at all. The most convincing images are ones that accomplish this in a very natural and fluid manner. Although each layer and individual element of a completed drawing is needed, none should stand out on their own if a cohesive environment is to be created. “Nothing stands alone in a drawing” –James Adkins.

perspective rendering pencil on watercolor entourage added in photoshop

Nap Ford sketches pen on watercolor

When sketches are modified through layers, a stratification system begins to emerge and with it a sense of place. This idea is very important in that for Architects, it can sometimes be the difference between eating or not. Capturing a client’s attention relies solely on the ability to successfully convey a projects emotional essence, which usually occurs on paper, quickly. It is imperative that the viewers “see” themselves within the image of the project. Thus the view that is rendered is also of equal importance to the way that it is treated after sketching. Not only do they need to see themselves in the image, but they also need to accurately view how the project interacts with its surrounding context.

Elevations and perspective sketches/renderings are perfect for this purpose. They allow the user to experience the relationship between the thing they will inhabit and also what the thing itself inhabits. This is important because contextual relevance creates a deeper connection and further embeds the validity of an idea within the aforementioned subliminal fabric.

elevation stitched photo

rendered elevation with entourage added in photoshop

site plan

Site Plans are also an effective way to show the character of a project within its context.

Another type of drawing that is crucial in relating ideas are sections. These go a step further than elevations and perspectives in that they allow the user to see how the building enmeshes itself within a given context. However, the most useful aspect of a section drawing is that it reveals how the project is put together. This becomes more important later on in the construction process, but it’s a very efficient way to lie out how interior and exterior spaces are treated.

section sketch

section sketch computer rendered

section perspective pen on watercolor

Sections become extremely useful if rendered because they quickly display the scale of a person contrasted with immediate built surroundings and entourage such as walls, floors, foliage and furniture. They lend themselves to a very detailed system of drawings that become their own stratified system. section sketch hand rendered

The notion of conveying a sense of place can only be created by way of systematically layering ideas onto one another. The elements of a single drawing create an image to experience, which in turn portrays an intended narrative. The relationship between artist and viewer lives in duality with Architect and inhabitant in that both are relationships comprised of layers of information being channeled through a given media.

perspective sketch pen and marker on watercolor

site plan sketch

perspective sketch pen and marker on watercolor

perspective sketch pen and marker on watercolor

Different types of media and drawings intertwine to become platforms of thought that are used as tools to subliminally communicate concepts and feelings. These elements become individual nodes of connection within a stratified system of layers that offer a new and more refined perspective

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