From the time that Vitruvius defined architecture as “an expertise born of both practice and reasoning,” architects have first envisioned buildings as lines on paper before they could be realized in brick, stone, wood, steel, and glass. At the beginning of the 21st century, we are witnessing a profound shift away from hand drawing towards a reliance on the computer in both architectural education and the profession.

What effect is this loss of hand drawing having on the creative process of design, and ultimately, on the quality of the built environment? What are we giving up in this technological shift, and what should we preserve?

This conference will explore the role of hand drawing in architecture from a variety of perspectives, focusing on three broad categories; History, Education, and Practice.

Submissions are being accepted for consideration. Suggested topics include hand drawing as it relates to education, practice, and architectural history. Please submit a 200 word abstract and a CV to dstroik[at]

Additional Suggested Topics:


  •     What role has hand drawing played in the history of construction?


  • How is hand drawing utilized in schools of architecture today?
  • How can students be persuaded that learning to draw by hand is beneficial when computerized techniques are so readily available?
  • Should learning computerized drafting be included in the curriculum, and if so, at what point should it be introduced?
  • How does learning to sketch help one to see?
  • What are the benefits of the pencil as a tool to design?
  • What hand drawing techniques should be taught for analysis – figure/ground, nolli, diagramming?
  • What presentation techniques best employ the hand?
  • Are we training architects to be artists, technicians, or modelers?
  • Is there a loss of visual literacy in academia and the profession?
  • What are students learning that will go obsolete?


  • What is the state of hand-drawing in architectural firms today?
  • What are the benefits of coming up with a parti by hand?
  • What are the pros and cons of doing schematic design by hand?
  • What are novel ways to use hand drawing in renderings?
  • How is spatial understanding developed by sketching or drawing in perspective?
  • What are the benefits of drawing large scale details by hand?
  • Faster, better: do computerized drawings make it possible to come up with new details or do they incentivize copying previous projects?
  • The joy of drawing vs. drudgery
  • Sketching as a tactile tool for discovery
  • How is the craft of drawing related to the craft of building?
  • What is the importance of the sketchbook to the practitioners?
  • Methods and tools of design are not neutral.
  • The immediacy and flexibility of hand design
  • Sketching abstractly can lead to discovery.
  • When does redrawing mean rethinking?
  • Zooming in vs. comprehensive design
  • Is an architect an artist or a technician?