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Creating by Hand: Sketching at CDG

October 17, 2017

The timelessness of a hand drawing's ability to convey a concept and capture one's imagination has long cemented its place within the craft of architecture and design. From the elegant simplicity of using the hands to rapidly sculpt and resolve a form on paper, to the emotive effect of studying light and shading, pencil and pen are an artful means of creation and communication.

Within our workflow, sketching and hand drawing are frequently used to fulfill two distinct needs. First, we are able to rapidly explore the merits of a concept visually, whether a construction detail or an entire architectural scheme. This can be done at any level of design, from loose sketching of forms and massing to a fully resolved detail we propose be built. Free flowing design thinking and creative problem solving happens concurrently with a free flowing pencil or pen, unburdening one's mind from exacting constraints to allow for the rapid iteration of concepts before choosing those to resolve fully.

Presentation sketch by Milford Cushman of a proposed scheme for a new home

Second, our hand drawings and sketches are used to present schematic design work to clients for their input and continuation of the collaborative design process. The inherent imprecision of working by hand preserves the perception of an idea's malleability for both us when working through a design, and for our clients when they provide feedback.

The nuance of a carefully constructed hand drawn line or shadow conveying an entire concept or feeling to a client is what makes it such an effective communication tool for evoking thoughtful and collaborative discussion. We hope that you enjoy this selection of our office's recent hand drawings, presenting both entire architectural schemes and individual details.

Sketch by Chad Forcier for presentation of a proposed renovation scheme

Character sketch by Kelley Osgood of a proposed bedroom fireplace in a rustic camp style home

Sketch by Kelley Osgood of a proposed stone lintel, jamb, and sill detail

Character sketch by Kelley Osgood to study the design of a stair tower for a rustic camp style home