An exhibition of sketches by architects listens to the sound of imagination
The “Voice of Sketches” exhibition, curated by Delhi-based architects Verendra Wakhloo and Rachit Srivastava, takes a look at the primordial spontaneity of sketching, the first impulse for most architects and designers. Hosted at the India Arch Dialogue, organised by FCDI, a FCML Design Initiative, last year, there were models of projects on display. This year, over 20 international architects, many of them Pritzker Prize winners, present their exploratory sketches for their landmark buildings.
“For an artist, the hand is the head; with it, he explores unknown areas. The exhibition title tells that sketching is a voice — the voice of the imagination,” says Wakhloo. That sound emerges in utter stillness in the spiral drawing of Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto’s design of the Musashino Art University Museum & Library. “Fujimoto’s library is like a mandala, it is an ordering principle. In his diagram, you can interpret where the openings could be, the circulation — you see the potential of the space,” says Wakhloo.
The “Voice of Sketches” exhibition, curated by Delhi-based architects Verendra Wakhloo and Rachit Srivastava, takes a look at the primordial spontaneity of sketching, the first impulse for most architects and designers. As British architect Peter Cook says, “A sketch allows one to battle with the line as it changes a corner, get behind a wall, see light filter through the trees, and even watch its shadow.” If in Portugal-based architect Manuel Aires Mateus, one sees strict compositions, in Swiss architect Mario Botta’s sketches of the TCS building in Hyderabad, one sees the monolithic structure scooped out in the centre, with sharp, clean edges. Kengo Kuma’s pineapple cake shop in Tokyo takes the shape of a bamboo basket, while Jordanian architect Rasem Badran’s realistic watercolours are an ode to local themes and materials.
As psychologists of space, architects are known to daydream through sketches, speculate, manipulate, and sometimes even posit an argument. Italian architect Massimiliano Fuksas shows it well in Fiera Milano. In his sketch, the fabric-like quality of the glass canopy takes flight in shades of grey, as they swing in and out of folds. He shows light flooding the central spaces in white, giving the appearance of grey birds above white clouds.
In inconsistency lies the merit of a sketch. “Very often a drawing doesn’t materialise into a finished project, and it affords the possibility of the ambiguous. While a computer-generated drawing expects definitive measures, a hand drawing can go wherever the mind wanders. It’s often an oscillation, a dialogue one has with oneself. It has a generative power, which is lost when a project is drawn on the computer; that is assemblage,” says Wakhloo.
‘Voice of Sketches’ at Gallery 1 AQ closes on February 21. For details: fcdi.co.in