Sketching is an exploration in searching for form and spaces without any accuracy of dimensions and material choice. The thin or the thick lines with smudges suggest the density of mass with minute pores for desired intensity of light. The whole idea of sketching should remain extremely nebulous. Without an idea or feel for what one is looking for, the computer may turn out what seems to be acceptable in the very first attempts. The diagrams maybe so perfect that a trap could be laid and the rejection may take a long time in the absence of direct involvement of a certain feeling which is necessary to probe into the dark areas of ideas.

Sketching without formulation for a statement of problem, however diffuse it may seem, may lead to irrecoverable situations. The progressive development of a sketch without control over the overall scale of the project would become difficult to assess the nature of spaces and their desired relationships to overall character. There is a certain freedom from the mundane aspects of the programme of requirements. Those spaces which were not thought of earlier suddenly surface indicating the new beginning to reorganize or compose parts of building plans with interior and exterior spaces. The hard-line drawings which then follow gives up something which was not thought of before.

Unless the eye is disciplined and trained for minute observations in the visual context of a given place or position in space, it would be difficult for the hand to first record the impressions of what is being observed in the mind’s eye and to coordinate the same impression the hand on paper. The impressions could be of such urgency that instant choice of medium to record is of the foremost necessity for the architect. In the absence of this the essence of what is being recorded would be lost, making room for what is described as meaningless record, pages after pages, incredible in quantum but devoid of character. Proportions in sketches are not necessarily essential. To change proportions is one’s own prerogative to heighten the impact of communications. To lend correct proportions in sketches may be generated from being self critical, until the hand draws what the eye sees.

The light has to be sensed. Its intensity lies in the first dense mass drawn with charcoal, or graphite or any other medium. It is trapped. It needs to be released.

It is difficult to sketch without some sort of an idea about the material. The material has a direct relationship with light. The material and its form, the character of which can only be enhanced in the presence of light. [Mostly parts of buildings with or without shadows]. The stronger the shadow, the stronger the [building] forms. The joints of the branches of trees, or small plants, rock formations, hoofs of animals. ...

Drawing with charcoal came from observing Kahn draw, and the subsequent development at various stages until the sketch became communicable through its substance and its graphic qualities. Both the Piranesi and Sant’Elia’s drawings were inspiring in their densities and tonal values. Their drawings directed towards spatial compositions. This was most important to learn. These architects were artists. Artists have to have a medium through which abstract ideas can become communicable. The sketch leaves an imprint of message to the artist. This is an inspiring moment without which the later development becomes characterless..

Satyajit Ray, Sergi Eisenstein and others sketched for the composition which could later be locked on the frame of the film when the cameras would roll. This is in anticipation of the movements that would follow. It is for a movie. Each frame following the other, realizing pictures in motion. In architecture the buildings don’t move or fly. People move in them through spaces. The sensations and the experiences that the spaces offer need to be interpreted by the participants themselves. The overlaps of various images as perceived by participants is close to the editing which the movie maker makes. The architect’s sketches, therefore, are inert, rooted in one place. The drama of these sketches is the drama of the graphic quality the sketches offer. Sketching is helpful. But when one [student] takes sketches as a solution to a problem, the sketches stop serving their purpose. A sketch must make an effort to lay down a statement.

The design will follow.

Undated, Ahmedabad