The Drawing Prize Blog

The Drawing Prize Blog

To coincide with co-curating the Prize, Make’s editorial team has launched a series of posts about drawing on their blog featured here. Contributors include curators, writers and architects interested in the role of drawing in presenting ideas. 

Winner of The Architecture Drawing Prize 2020 - an interview with 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.

Read the full blog post here

Inspired by "art built" - an interview with Marc Brousse

1. What does it feel like to win the Prize? It’s an honor to be distinguished by such an institution as Sir John Soane’s Museum, and to receive critical analyses by experienced judges Ken Suttleworth, Lily Jencks, Narinder Sagoo, Louise Stewart and Paul Finch.

Read the full blog post here

“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.

Read the full blog post here

Musings on The Architecture Drawing Prize 2020

Being part of a jury is always going to encourage some deep ponderances of the values one holds dear, and the justification of one’s tastes before astute colleagues. Below are a few of the many musings from the jury which I found particularly thought-provoking. Note- this blog post does not represent the findings of the judges- all ‘opinions my own’.

Read the full blog post here

Pablo Bronstein

“I can’t really remember a time when I didn’t draw buildings”, says Pablo Bronstein. “But when we moved from Argentina, where I was born, I missed my grandmother’s ornate house in Buenos Aires which, I think, must have formed my love of the Baroque. Now, we lived in Neasden, a northwest London depository of architectural bin-ends at the bottom end of the market. I drew my way out.

Read the full blog post here

Architectural Drawing: States of Becoming

In the 20th century, the collection of architectural artefacts centred on drawings and models and, occasionally, fragments. These were objects typically made by hand and, at least in the case of sketches, most likely by the hand of the principal designer. Photography too, of course, had its place; if only as many a seminal structure is recognized, and achieved its influence, less by renderings or maquettes than by an iconic photographic image.

Read the full blog post here


Draw in order to see

Why should any 21st Century architect bother to draw by hand? There is, after all, an abundance of readily available digital tools that make pens and pencils seem little more than primeval artefacts. Fondly regarded, perhaps, yet as charmingly irrelevant to contemporary architecture as heavy horses are to today’s farmers or typewriters are to newspaper journalists.

Read the full blog post here


Telling Stories: The power of drawing to change our cities

One of the advantages of drawing is the way it allows the imagination to bubble over. From thoughtless doodles to whimsical fantasies, drawings have an unconstrained quality that, in an architectural context, can have a profound impact on our surroundings. This is certainly the case with Studio Weave, who use ‘stories’ which combine fairy-tale-style narratives and lyrical drawings in the concept development phase of their projects.

Read the full blog post here


Stephen Wiltshire

Stephen Wiltshire is a renowned international artist known for his artistic, creative draughtsmanship. Born to West Indian parents he was diagnosed with Autism showing phenomenal skills, producing accurate depictions of cities, skylines and street scenes from memory, only having observed his view briefly. Stephen Wiltshire’s artistry started at the age of three, now in his forties he majestically shares his gift to all those who have an interest in ‘the creative arts.’

Read the full blog post here


The City is Yours

Over the years Ben Johnson’ s arresting paintings have introduced a new way of looking at buildings and cities. As London like so many other cities around the world has come to a standstill, I wanted to ask Ben what he thought of these recent barren street views. His perspective on this phenomenon is especially interesting as he always depicts places without people in them – even ordinarily busy places like Trafalgar Square, Broadgate, and Stansted Airport.

Read the full blog post here


Sketchbooks: draw like nobody’s watching

The late Italian architect Adolfo Natalini (1941-2020) once suggested that sketchbooks are comparable to diaries. They offer a means to order thoughts and reflect the concerns of an architect at the time each page was used.

Read the full blog post here


Langlands and Bell – Observing and Observed

When artists Ben Langlands and Nikki Bell were asked in an interview which “feel good” building they have most missed during the lockdown, they spoke affectionately of Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer’s Niterói Contemporary Art Museum in Rio de Janeiro. Its sculptural quality reads like an object against the city. Pictorial, almost drawing like, in its perfection it has a stand-alone quality, yet is almost magically engaged with its surroundings like a striking, if welcome guest come to stay.

Read the full blog post here


‘Architecture in the frame’ – London Art Fair

Drawing is something we are very passionate about at Make, which is why we co-founded The Architecture Drawing Prize with the World Architecture Festival and Sir John Soane’s Museum. The idea for the Prize was driven by a sense of preservation. We felt that drawing was almost being pushed out the back door in the industry as new technology was coming in the front.

Read the full blog post here


The Architecture Drawing Prize exhibition reviewed

A prize is a way of rewarding excellence, but increasingly there are political agendas at play. Make Architects set up The Architecture Drawing Prize three years ago with the refreshingly simple brief to celebrate and showcase architectural drawing as a tool for capturing and communicating ideas.

Read the full blog post here


Behind the scenes at the 2019 World Architecture Festival

When it comes to The Architecture Drawing Prize’s winning and commended entries on display at the 2019 World Architecture Festival, there truly was much more than meets the eye. I greatly enjoyed hearing each of the winners describe their work and accept audience questions on the main festival stage on the Thursday afternoon..

Read the full blog post here


The hand does not draw superfluous things

rawing is fundamental in the conception process: it is a way to allow my mind developing ideas in a very intuitive and quick movement. And it is important to draw without any “a priori”: most part of the time, new ideas are emerging this way. It is also a good departure point to synthetize the development of a project, to keep or come back to the essence of it, and its priorities. The hand does not draw superfluous things.

Read the full blog post here


Prized hand-drawings return a building to an organically conceived whole

A century on, the compelling idea that Modern architecture emerged like some blindingly white, crystalline and disruptive phoenix from the darkness, death and destruction of the First World War is, perhaps, a familiar one. And, yet, the charcoal sketches and chiaroscuro montages Mies van der Rohe made during and after the epochal competition for the Berlin Friedrichstrasse Skyscraper competition of 1921-22 retain the power to catch the eye, provoke and disturb in our own era of overwhelming imagery much of it produced by and with computer programs.

Read the full blog post here


Drawing details – technical and poetic

Nobody will doubt the importance of the construction detail for a successful building. After all, such details are not only about fulfilling technical requirements but also about achieving a considered aesthetic consistency. The work of the world’s most renowned architects is often made up of details that decisively shape the character and appearance of their buildings. Details that can even be the defining factor in completing an initially strong design so that it becomes truly outstanding.

Read the full blog post here


Museum for Architectural Drawing, Berlin

The idea of establishing a Museum for Architectural Drawing developed over the past decades, in which I have drawn by myself and later also collected architectural drawings of other authors with great passion. The acquisition of a drawing by Pietro di Gottardo Gonzaga in 2001 laid the foundation for my collection. In the meantime the collection contains a large number of sheets from different epochs.

Read the full blog post here


The Value of the Drawing

At their best, not only do architectural drawings convey architectural intention, but also something about the meaning of the project and the thinking behind it. In some cases, this extends to thinking about the nature of architecture itself. That is what makes the Architecture Drawing Prize, now in its third year, so interesting.

Read the full blog post here


Betts Project

Marking the boundary between Clerkenwell and Hoxton, the laconic grace of Central Street is typical of London’s quiet in-between spaces, where secret treasures can be found with a few clues and hints. The modest shop front of number 100 reveals one of these treats through its generous windows. It’s a rare phenomenon – a commercial gallery specialising in contemporary architectural drawings, whose provenance is freshly the architects themselves, mediated by gallerist Marie Coulon.

Read the full blog post here


Draw to Make

Simon Lincoln is a partner overseeing Make’s Sydney studio. Simon established the Sydney studio in 2014 and is also leading the design and delivery of Wynyard Place, our first project in Australia. Simon has been at Make since 2005 and worked across the practice’s international portfolio in London, China and the UAE. Here Simon discusses the role of architectural drawing in his day-to-day job at Make and why he expects to see a “renaissance” in hand drawing soon.

Read the full blog post here


Leaving a mark

I love when a child has a black and white outline drawing put in front of them by a waiter, accompanied by a few crayons in a cup. They will without the slightest hesitation position themselves upright, snatch up a crayon, and begin immediately colouring in the blank forms. There is a sense of purpose on their face as if ‘this exercise must now be completed by me’. ‘It is my responsibility and duty that the clown receive orange hair, and he must receive this immediately and it is to be with a certain degree of vehemence’.

Read the full blog post here



If I was going to search for one defining imperative for my work, it would be Balance.

We go through our lives trying to navigate, to make the best of the conditions we are confronted with, and with the tools and skills we possess to achieve an optimum outcome. Balance might be seen as a state of equilibrium between opposing forces some of which we can control and some we cannot predict, manage, or prepare for. These forces shape the course and quality of our lives. Balance is where we exist at any moment in a dynamic spectrum. It follows a concept of “both / and” that allows for fertile modes of self-expression.

Read the full blog post here


Drawing and thinking

It’s not often you get to mix a Bob-Ross style live demonstration with the deepest British architectural heritage, but there we were in the library of Sir John Soane’s Museum for their mid-November “Drawing Late” series, watching three contemporary architects draw live on their iPads. But it wasn’t long before the spectre of underlying cultural conflict emerged – between the “cold, dead glass” of the tablet and the apparent life in the pencil dragged across the page.

Read the full blog post here


The Architecture Drawing Prize exhibition review

Smudges on the vitrines that encase the drawings, now on show at the Architecture Drawing Prize exhibition at Sir John Soane’s Museum, betray numerous visitor’s attempts to get closer to the artwork and immerse themselves into the world of the drawings and their creators. The desire to get closer to these drawings is unsurprising, whilst the subject matter is often esoteric, ([H]oax [A]ssemblies: Coherent Ontology, Other Medians: Perceivable Future, Embassy Nation, City of Beautiful Bodies), the drawings themselves are intricate and intimate, beckoning the viewer ever closer to the plane of the paper. These are drawings to linger over and explore.

Read the full blog post here


The Architecture Drawing Prize - Not just another competition

Prizes that reward structures, many of which have little to do with architecture, are like sand on the beach. Nowadays, if you are economically successful enough as a company you can just buy awards. It’s often been the economic interest in the foreground and not the architectural quality. Clients love ratings, and so do architects. I can tell you that from personal experience, because once upon a time we gave into the allure of what is simply a game of “pay and play” recognition.

Read the full blog post here


Drawing Architecture

Drawing Architecture by Helen Thomas brings together 269 drawings of architecture by architects, engineers, and artists made over a period of over 4000 years of building and thinking about buildings. The very simple and direct format of the book makes it equally accessible and enjoyable to those with an interest in art, design, and architecture, but not used to reading architectural drawings, and to those with a trained and experienced eye.

Read the full blog post by Ben Langlands and Nikki Bell here


The art of an art historian

I started drawing buildings long before writing about them, indeed before I could string a sentence together. In my new book Alan Powers: the art of an art historian (Inky Parrott Press, 2018), the publisher Dennis Hall has kindly allowed me the opportunity to get this material out of the closet. Art schools in the 1970s could not have tolerated what I wanted to do, which was to become an artist somewhere in the space between John Piper, Eric Ravilious and Osbert Lancaster, so I did this for myself, while studying art history with a specialism in architecture.

Read the full blog post by Alan Powers here


Art Editor’s picks

Architectural Review’s (AR) Art Editor Tom Carpenter shares his thoughts on what makes a drawing stand out when sifting through all the material arriving at the editorial office’s desks every day and from around the world.

Read the full blog post by Tom Carpenter interviewed by Laura Iloniemi here

Drawing to an end?

The Bartlett School of Architecture’s sell-out 2016 conference, ‘Drawing Futures’, proved that obituaries for the role of hand-drawing in architecture practice have been premature. We talk to the conference chairs and editors of its eponymously titled book about drawing’s many lives.

Read the full blog post by Dominic Lutyens here

Disappearing Here - On perspective and other kinds of space

‘Disappearing Here’ is an exhibition currently on display at the RIBA. The subject is ‘perspective’ and it is curated by Sam Jacob with whom I chatted about this show. I started the conversation, in Paxmanesque style, by asking whether he really believes Panofsky’s assertion that perspective was only possible ‘when a new religious conception of a singular, divine omnipresence meant that the infinite and so the vanishing point, could be imagined’ (to quote the exhibition catalogue). This is something which my tutors at Cambridge (all keen Panofskian) pushed down my throat but I could never quite believe. Sam answered by saying that the exact truth of this is not as important as Panofsky’s realisation that perspective is not merely a way of drawing but is a form of representation which has a cultural and political content.

Read the full blog post by Francis Terry here

Plein air in the digital age

In my hallway hangs a watercolour drawing of the Roman city of Chester by Sir Donald Insall, founder of the conservation led architectural practice I work for. The unfinished brushstrokes, the wobbly inked lines and smudged watercolours evoke a sense of nostalgia; by means of the fragmented painting emulating the fragmented nature of ancient buildings.

Read the full blog post by Gwyn Roberts here

The tools of drawing

If you did not see it, I’m afraid it’s just too late to catch The Architecture Drawing Prize exhibition at Sir John Soane’s Museum. It was a small exhibition in the museum’s Foyle Space, a new exhibition room that the museum opened in 2016 for displays of work dealing with the legacy of Soane. It made a good spot for an exhibition of prize-winning drawings, many of which were by students of architecture.

Read the full blog post by Vicky Richardson here

The Hollow Man: poetry of drawing

In 2006, in an apartment overlooking Copacabana beach, the 98-year-old Oscar Niemeyer led me to a cramped corner where a slanting desktop and an A3-wide roll of drawing paper were fixed to the wall. He tore off a large sheet of paper, smoothed it down, and picked up a thick felt-tip pen. And then, in half a dozen strokes, he outlined the shape of a Communist party memorial that Moscow apparatchiks had asked him to design.

Read the full blog post by Jay Merrick here


A “Plan in Impossible Perspective”

In 1915, Gunnar Asplund and Sigurd Lewerentz (1885-1975) submitted a single competition entry for a new woodland cemetery in Stockholm, Sweden. It comprised a vast and intricate site plan in which each individual pine tree was inscribed on the drawing, peppered with towers, chapels, crematoria, clearings, and avenues. Borrowing from myth and Nordic folklore, the proposal reflected on—and subsequently defined—the nation’s attitude to death and remembrance.

Read the full blog post by James Taylor-Foster here



Trecento re-enactment

In his book Dominion of The Eye, Marvin Trachtemberg reveals to us that during Florentine Trecento urbanism a paradigm shift occurred where it was recognised that art and power expressed through architecture is not simply through a formal manifestation but through space, through the void, the space surrounding a monument. A realisation that the void is as important as the edifice. It is shown that the state-sponsored conscious creation of space as a work of art and a show of power was inextricably linked to the current development of perspectival drawing. An understanding that a building can command space around itself and even share and transfer power and atmosphere. I believe it is important for every architecture student to re-live and re-enact this development.

Read the full blog post by Gabor Gallovhere


Reporting from Berlin

From the moment I received the email inviting me to the World Architecture Festival following my winning submission to the Architecture Drawing Prize, I was very excited and looked forward to travelling to Berlin! Meeting the other two winners, Christopher Wijatno and Jerome Ng Xin Hao, as well as the competition jurors and organisers was a more than warm welcome to the city and particularly to the festival.

Read the full blog post by Dimitris Grozopoulos here


Hand-drawing, the digital (and the archive)

A couple of years ago, I was asked to give a talk to the Art Workers Guild on the subject of whether hand drawing is dead in the digital age. What was interesting was not so much what I had to say but the debate that followed. The general consensus was that the pendulum had swung too far away from hand drawing in favour of the computer and that the balance needed to be redressed.

Read the full blog post by Charles Hind here


Drawing as an architect’s tool

Many architects still use traditional drawing skills as a crucial part of the design development process: nothing beats sketching in real time to visualise and communicate ideas and concepts, whether to outline a vision or describe a detail. Drawing allows unrestricted imagination of a space and the expression of a unique idea before the design process moves across to computer programmes for the technical design and delivery of a building.

Read the full blog post by Laurie Chetwood here


Stefan Davidovici – green Mars architect

Stefan Davidovici is a visionary architectural draughtsman – consummately skilled, starkly singular in his vision and immensely prolific. His work centres on speculative architectural interventions on the Martian landscape, which he conceives using collages of NASA photographs, and a future-focused Milan. Since 2013 our correspondence has included exchange visits and numerous Skype calls, one of which he conducted from his laptop in a pass in the Alps. His unshakable passion for drawing is matched only by his love of mountain climbing, as evidenced in the vertiginous views pictured in many of his fantasy structures.

Read the full blog post by Trevor Flynn here


The role of the concept sketch

Illustrated by the house at 6 Wood Lane. Much has been written about the benefits of hand drawing and our practice has over the years developed a particular way working through drawing. We use hand drawings in many different ways; to evolve projects conceptually and for presentation purposes to inform and delight our clients and other audiences. Some of our drawings are simply for ourselves as a device to reflect on our work and play with ideas.

Read the full blog post by Mike Russum here


How drawing made architecture

Drawing is so important to architects because it is what distinguishes architecture, as Reyner Banham writes, from other perfectly respectable ways of making buildings. It is axiomatic that architectural drawing took a decisive turn in the Renaissance. Less well known is the role of architectural drawing in Renaissance architectural historiography, which Guido Beltramini, director of the Centro Palladio in Vicenza, recently outlined in a discussion with the art historian MaryAnne Stevens and me.

Read the full blog post by Jeremy Melvin here


Ken Shuttleworth on drawing

How did you get into drawing early on? Drawing has always been a way for me to express myself. I can’t remember not drawing. My dad encouraged it early on, and when I started school, I was always enormously proud if my drawings were pinned up on the classroom walls. In my spare time, at the age of six or seven, I drew houses. We didn’t have a television, so this kept me busy, and I developed a bulging portfolio of dream houses and crazy fantasy structures. Illustrated reading, jigsaws and maps also fascinated me, which I guess gives an insight into to how my mind works. I would often use pictures to explain my own thought processes; I still do.

Read the full blog post by Ken Shuttleworth here


When drawing becomes architecture

Sir John Soane’s (1753–1837) biographer, Gillian Darley, describes the great neoclassical Regency architect as the “accidental Romantic,” as visionary as the poet William Blake or painter J.M.W. Turner. The comparison has a pictorial connotation that brings to mind the detailed and imaginative drawings that informed both Soane’s pioneering thinking and his teaching. A skilled and prolific draughtsman in his own right, he also engaged master watercolourist J.M. Gandy to help visualise his distinctive architectural vision.

Read the full blog post by Owen Hopkins here


The Architecture Drawing Prize

We are delighted to launch an architecture drawing section to the Make blog. This coincides with Make’s collaboration with Sir John Soane’s Museum and the World Architecture Festival on the newly conceived Architecture Drawing Prize. Here we will publish articles by experts on draughtsmanship focusing on the role of drawing in the profession. We hope this will highlight the continuing importance of hand-drawing as a conceptual tool for architects as well as shed light on how digital presentation techniques can be used for better communicating approaches to design.



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