Drawing is a universal language. It is inclusive and communicates intent across language and cultural barriers. In modern architectural practice, it seems to be used less and less, but at Payette we want to keep sketching alive. Sketching still proves to be effective as iconic, gestural sketches are often most requested by clients because they convey the ideals of a project in their purest form.
“The Joy of Sketching with Bob” is a series of sketching sessions led by Principal Bob Schaeffner and organized by Payette’s Young Designer’s Core (YDC). YDC is an organization at Payette that promotes the growth of emerging professionals, supports their progress toward licensure and enhances daily project work with educational opportunities. These forum-like sessions give everyone a chance to draw and transfer knowledge — especially providing participants with a chance to make sketching a habit despite an increasingly digital architecture practice. We have many wonderful resources amongst our staff. These workshops intend to allow people to connect, find mentors and discover new drawing techniques and tips that can improve our collective chain of communication.
Since graduating from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1981, Bob has spearheaded Payette’s expansion into research facility design with a number of science center projects at prestigious colleges and universities. Sketching is a vital part of his process and he wants to keep it alive in the office. Bob kicked off the first of these sessions in February. It was intended to be an open forum to discuss how our staff utilizes hand-drawing, and how they would like to improve their skills. We learned that there is a fair distribution of sketching done at the office across all phases from schematic design to construction administration. People are mainly doing a lot of diagramming — ranging from site analysis to specific details fleshed out for the CA phase. Most hand drawing in the office happens on trace paper, whiteboards, and of course, in our sketchbooks. Surprisingly, hand-drawn perspectives seemed to be the least used. However, Bob believes perspectives are an important tool to help convey how spaces feel. By sketching out the perspectives of a space from multiple views, Bob can quickly understand what a space feels like and intentionally decide what it means for the project.
In the next session, Bob plans to focus on perspective representation. It will take place in the Wilson Practice Room with an array of detailed models that participants can use to practice representing with context. The plan is to work as teams and try different forms of representation of not just these standalone objects, but how they sit in space. We want to treat the building as a neighboring condition and learn to do rapid-fire, eye level sketches of interior views.
We want our intentions expressed clearly throughout the design process and by cultivating sketching at Payette, we can effectively communicate our ideas and ensure everyone’s voice is heard. We hope to see you there!