Architecture & Urbanism


"Juhani Pallasmaa maintains that the hand can think. What is the purpose of drawing in architecture?
How does Pallasmaa's thinking hand think?”

        I'm often surprised at how frail, indeterminate forms rendered long ago in free drawings return one day as the beginnings to design concepts. An intriguing half-form in a long-forgotten drawing will appear again; morphed into an idea-seed for a building. Or a piece of building, or a house or a street or a chair or a set of cutlery. What was once an atom-light pixel of abstraction floating in the void, will be explored by further drawings; drawings that are now more structured and analytical. White card study models are then made in the studio for review by ourselves and our clients. There is then a leap into the digital realm and into 3-D virtual space explorations. The idea-seed transmutes as it becomes forged by logic. It becomes re-shaped and cross-fertilised by a real brief, a real topography, and real clients to listen to and to creatively collaborate with.

        Through cycles of tracing and re-tracing, the seed-idea emerges as an architecture. At once capturing space as much as being captured by it. Buzzing around our digital screens, the concepts become further defined and there's excitement in the studio. We zoom in and zoom out of digital drawings. No longer tracing but zooming, rotating, hovering, searching. We float in, out, and through designs. We see things at different scales and are ourselves drawn into the drawing. The eye sees what the hand missed.

        Our seed-idea goes through generations of transformation. Finally the product of Palaasmaa's 'thinking hand' flowers into entasis; caught between fixity and movement in our sunlit, imperfect but precious world.
Architecture & Urbanism