The limitless act of drawing on a piece of paper with your pencil, tools, light boxes, rulers, and even erasers was quickly overshadowed by computed drawings and renderings. The digital era inadvertently isolated part of architectural representation that was essential to its culture. Architectural drawings in the past have often been categorized as either informative or illustrative, restricting a designers’ ability to communicate a design in a way that could capture people’s imaginations and reintroduce drawing as a core disciplinary act as well as a means of communication.
Now, with the reintroduction of drawing and the integration of digital media and materials, its structure is inherently the same. However it is supported by our access to unlimited materials and the ability to construct and deconstruct them. By utilizing graphic technology, an image that is made up of several individual pieces easily becomes one cohesive illustration by communicating construction detail. This relates back to the fundamental disciplinary art of architectural drawings as created by real “paper architects” in the 1970s and ’80s: pre-commercial Libeskind, phase one OMA, and most of all, pre- digital Zaha Hadid (and many, many more). While it is still an accurate way of depicting detail and measure, it incorporates traditional drawing and modern technology.
Looking back at the beginning of art in the digital age, there was widespread use of symbolic representation. Populated areas with blue skies and lush leaves created a “postcard from the future” feeling while emulating a very real setting. We now possess the power and resources to achieve a different kind of realism; one that focuses on materials and construction allowing architects and designers alike to create pseudo-realistic illustrations. Both informative and illustrative qualities with the desire to make the fictional seem real particularly through exploration of texture, patterns, and materials.