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Hotel Room - Pastel
Imaginary House Plan
Seascape - pastel
Travel Sketchbook


ARCHITECTURE AND DRAWING: Observation, interpretation, imagination


Tuesday, 15 March, 6.30-8pm


Wednesday, 23 March, 10am-4pm (1 hour lunchbreak)

Talk Description

As an architect drawing has been central to engaging with the question of what makes a good building that is specific to it’s location? Good buildings support, enhance and elevate the lives of the people who use and encounter them and they have a strong ‘sense of place’ – specific qualities and characteristics which connect them to their physical and cultural context. The simple pleasure of looking and drawing has always been a vital way of engaging with places and people and is at the centre of the architectural design process through assimilation of the broad experience of nature, cities and people, from ‘mapping’ the context for a project to developing and conveying ideas from sketchy approximations to more precise visualizations. The act of drawing catalyzes the imagination and vice-versa. It is the means through which conversations and ideas are brought to visibility and negotiated as key steps towards definition of detail and eventually built form.

My drawings and paintings focus on capturing qualities of landscapes, cities and spaces, life and expressions which records what exists and translate into what may become through drawings for projects. This talk will explore the role of sketching and sketchbooks as a way of observing and engaging, techniques of drawing and painting as part of the design process, the importance of the negotiated line, light and shadow in capturing and forming space.

Workshop Description

As well as encouraging us to look and observe, drawing is a means through which we engage and experience situations….we become part of what we are drawing and vice versa. It is a physical act which involves our whole body through movement and through which we bring together our involvement in a place, a fleeting moment with all the accumulated experience that we have within us. Drawing, sketching is also a wonderful tool to bring thoughts and ideas to presence…the means through which something vague and ethereal can begin to find form and visibility, from tentative, light marks, to more assertive and precise lines, which architecturally eventually become translated into technical drawings and eventually built form.

The workshop will look at ways of sketching places and spaces and how they are inhabited - the relationship between buildings as settings and the activities that they support. We will look at outdoor spaces through a walk through local streets observing and capturing qualities and the life that goes on therewithin sketchbooks, followed by drawing interiors and a façade from a more analytical point of view, to finally using various techniques to draw the setting of the studio space and the life within it. We will explore the ‘negotiated line’, palimpsest, qualities of light and shadow and techniques of drawing from rapid approximations to precise detail focusing throughout on the dialogue between people and their setting.

Top left - Travel Sketchbook - Hotel Room, Pastel
Second left - Imaginary House Plan, Watercolour
Third left - Seascape, Pastel
Fourth left - Travel Sketchbook
Bottom left - Sketch Elevation for a Residential Building, Pencil and watercolour


Philip Meadowcroft

Phil Meadowcroft

Phil Meadowcroft is an architect with his own London based practice Philip Meadowcroft Architects which he founded in 1998 after being director of Eric Parry Architects. Phil’s main interest is in what binds communities together and what constitutes shared values and perception of space. Work focusses on the well-being of individuals and communities mainly within city environments and projects with high social value. He has taught architecture throughout his career and has continued to combine a strong theoretical approach with practice through a range of teaching, advisory roles and a portfolio of built projects across many scales. Many of these are public buildings within historic urban contexts, inspired by his interest and research in the culture and public life of contemporary cities, ways of making and use of materials and light. Projects include urban regeneration masterplans for the GLA, nurseries, primary and secondary schools, residential buildings, one-off houses, art galleries, community buildings, public spaces and landscapes. Most recent project include the Queen Elizabeth II Centre for children’s charity Coram with whom he has been working for the last 12 years.

Phil has taught and lectured extensively at numerous schools of architecture, for 20 years he was a visiting design tutor in Diploma at University of Cambridge Department of Architecture where he studied. He was a CABE Enabler for Early Years Education, co-author of Cabe Sure Start Design Guidance and an Urban Design Advisor for the London Development Agency. Alongside painting and drawing he is also a semi-professional photographer.


Instagram @visualobservations

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