Events And Opportunities

Drawing in the Post-Digital Era: From Exactitude to Extravagance

Drawing has occupied the central stage of architectural thinking and making since the time of Renaissance. Mediating between the abstract and the physical, drawing has proved both essential and instrumental in many stages of an architectural project. In the past few decades the proliferation of digital media has destabilized the known means of drawing by pushing it towards new frontiers. Novel tools and techniques have made some of the conventional modes of operation more efficient, while equally subverting others in favor of new patterns of thought and action. Drawing’s metamorphosis presents a paradox: on the one hand it continues a tradition that has lasted over 500 years, and on the other hand it challenges the tenets of that tradition by the implementation of methods that, at times, are at odds with roles assigned to drawing.

This proposal is preoccupied with drawing’s transformations in the post-digital era. Historically, drawing has acted as an intermediary between thought and action by creating a space of its own within which the architect’s creativity unfolded. That unique space, which has been the domain of imagination, allowed architects to think of different modes of expression (i.e. different forms of drawings) suited to the many phases of a project’s development. Since the inception of the digital, that very space has become infinitely small and extremely large at once. While precision, accuracy and optimization push for an exactitude that equates drawing to blueprints of realizable artifacts and narrows the space of creativity; accident, deviation and excess distance drawing from reality and push it towards extravagant abstraction, removing it from the material and tangible world. The proposal is preoccupied with this paradoxical condition that is embedded in drawings of the post-digital era and calls for reflection and critical assessment of the status quo.

Since the digital has become an integral part of architecture, the following questions are to be asked: What are the potentials of drawing in the post- digital era? Understanding that the technological facet of digital drawing is one of its inseparable attributes, how do we, as historians, theoreticians, practitioners and educators come to terms with using these tools and techniques in order to engage with drawing as a creative process? How can we maintain the potency of drawing, and preserve its ethical imperatives, without succumbing to the role of consumers of technological procedures and methods? This theme proposal invites opinions from either side of the spectrum. It is equally interested in curricular and practical experiments, in processes and products that explore contemporary methods of drawing and their effects on the teaching and practice of architecture.

Information on the conference (15-17 March in Denver, Colorado), submission requirements, and the online submission process can be found on the conference webpage Please email the session chair Pari Riahi ( in case of further questions.
SAH thanks The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Fund at The Chicago Community Foundation for its operating support.
Society of Architectural Historians
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