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The Line I Draw

29 Aug 2018
Image Credit: Paul Backewich
Architectural Credit: Paul Backewich
Sketches and text by Paul Backewich 
Architect, OAA, AIBC, MRAIC
This post is part of our summer 2018 blOAAg series, Summer Sketches: Capturing the Essence of Architectural Ideas.

I have learned that the value of sketching in architecture is a tool to communicate ideas to the client, whether they be individuals or large corporations. One form of communication that we can all relate to are stories, so I think of how my sketches will add to the value and clarity of the story.

These first two sketches are whimsical doodles, telling a story by simply introducing people/figures, activities like reading and fishing, and the placement of recognizable objects like bicycles, cars and furniture. Roof shapes suggest domestic places while materials aid in an understanding of depth.

The next sketch is one I created while working at DIALOG and we were preparing a proposal package for a hospital, where one criteria was an understanding of LEAN processes. We did a fair bit of research into the complexities of LEAN design and construction and then felt that perhaps the best way to communicate our understanding of this was to create an illustration as seen below.

The following sketches were created as a colleague and I were preparing a competition entry for the annual Winter Stations competition held in Toronto. Individually they might be confusing, but together they communicate the development of an idea that culminates in our competition entry. Since we had done numerous sketches, we felt it made sense to submit our idea in sketch form. The first sketch is one I did for a school project when I was at the University of Waterloo back in 1988, which I referenced throughout the design process.

Naturally, this process applies to building projects as well, as seen in the following sketches. The first is a large seniors’ residence, while the second is for a mixed-use project in a developing neighbourhood. By adding recognizable objects like people, trees and cars the story develops which then helps to communicate the idea and make the proposal even more convincing.

This last sketch was from an entry for Winnipeg’s Warming Stations competition a few years ago. The story told here is supported by the inclusion of clothing, materials and simple lines to indicate a comforting campfire.

In conclusion, I have learned that sometimes a simple sketch can take the clients imagination to somewhere exciting, often to a place they never imagined. That’s often when the discourse opens up and leads the way to an absolutely wonderful resolution and we use our imagination to bring beauty to our work.




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April 11, 2019 17:55 by Anonymous

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