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Dunlop showcases drawing technique in new video

March 14 2011

Dunlop showcases drawing technique in new video
For anyone who has ever been curious as to the effort that goes behind production of a finished architectural drawing Alan Dunlop has produced a video sketch of himself at work

The feat of penmanship has been broadcast on the architects website, giving an over the shoulder perspective on the motions needed to imbue a featureless expanse of paper with a recognisable scene.

Producing a sketch of the Clyde Waterfront from memory in just 3min 15sec, Dunlop proves that photorealistic 3D isn’t necessary to bring the Finnieston crane et al to life.


#1 Posted by mystery on 14 Mar 2011 at 13:17 PM
Im quite entertained by this. There is no questioning the skill and beauty of Mr D's drawings and the value that they hold. The question i have is what are you hoping to achieve by disseminating this in the national architectural press? Is it just an ego nod i wonder? Or a simple plug to attract clients? The continued onslaught of 3d models entertains me a bit too. Just as with Mr D's sketches, 3d modelling offers value as well. Different - but both valuable.This just strikes me a bit like a fella who cant use a computer getting the fear because the industry is changing. I do think you are right to promote sketching as a skill, just less convinced about your motives for onslaught of 3d modelling.
#2 Posted by SM on 14 Mar 2011 at 15:52 PM
Don't think that is AD drawing, he has not put himself in the picture, bloody good though;-)
Peter Magyar
#3 Posted by Peter Magyar on 14 Mar 2011 at 16:15 PM
Great example to follow what you see in your mind's eye! Try it, instead of making cynical remarks!
Alan Dunlop
#4 Posted by Alan Dunlop on 15 Mar 2011 at 10:01 AM
Hand drawing has intrinsic value "mystery" that's all. It is an artistic effort- the creation of a drawing worth keeping. No cgi can match a good hand drawing, sorry. I'm also happy you're entertained, of course
#5 Posted by mystery on 15 Mar 2011 at 12:12 PM
Don't really question that a good hand drawing has an intrinsic value, nor that viewers will almost without fail prefer a good hand drawing to a CGI - its more crafted and special, especially today where skills like yours are harder to come by. What i would say is that 3d should not be reduced to the simple production of imagery. Its a tool that allows every junction, level, view to be foreseen and assessed in a way that was no possible before. That is the value. I think to reduce this to the simple output of an image is wrong, thats all. One doesnt subsitute the other, in either direction.
Alan Dunlop
#6 Posted by Alan Dunlop on 15 Mar 2011 at 12:31 PM
I'm not reducing it to an image, it is you who is doing that, whoever you are. I recognise the absolute value of the computer for exactly the reasons you describe, it is a tool that I could not operate my practice without. Sadly, it is also a means by which a building can be quickly concieved, drawn, coloured, recoloured, digitally enhanced, detailed, put on a brochure, made into a power point presentation and built before you really know what you're doing and in the end produces an image that has value for that moment but is worthless as art.
Alan Dunlop
#7 Posted by Alan Dunlop on 15 Mar 2011 at 12:34 PM
Oh, and usually done by someone other than the architect.
#8 Posted by mystery on 15 Mar 2011 at 13:41 PM
Thanks for the debate. I think that this verges on an entirely different debate. Is architecture art?.....Sculpture (with toilets!?) As architects it would be reasonable to anticipate an majority agreement. I do think there are several other factors that affect the scenario you describe, market conditions, recession, client aspirations, procurement routes..........MICHAEL GOVE! Nevertheless for the purposes of this conversation, i am glad of an understanding of the common ground and that perhaps some of the published message is generated by journalistic enthusiasm......rather than directly

Alan Dunlop
#9 Posted by Alan Dunlop on 15 Mar 2011 at 14:27 PM
That's easy.
Architecture is the mother art, isn't it...........? everything else is just business.
#10 Posted by SeanGaule on 15 Mar 2011 at 17:58 PM
It's great to see there's no tracing or other tricks in Alan's work, it is genuine drawing skill. I'm glad that someone is showing what architects can really do with a pen. I think it's a real shame that we mostly never see how good stuff is produced in practice, only the few selected and polished (but more often than not unpolished) presentations which make it into journals etc.
iain cameron
#11 Posted by iain cameron on 15 Mar 2011 at 19:28 PM
I don't know Alan Dunlop personally but as an architect I appreciate his work and he is indeed in the premier league of his profession. All I can say is that there seems to be an incredible amount of jealousy by some chip in the shoulder types! Excellent work.
#12 Posted by mystery on 15 Mar 2011 at 23:38 PM
All I would say is that you should read the AD's practice biography and transcript of lectures, i think there may be extracts in his sketchbook, i can't quite remember where, but its there. This is good debate and im sure Mr D has no objection that i'm directing you to a closer analysis of his published work. Its the name of the PR game after all. I too am a fan of his drawings, but its the bigger question that interested me.

#13 Posted by SeanGaule on 16 Mar 2011 at 08:51 AM
I don't know why "mystery" is so hung up on whether or not AD is using this as a marketing tool, because the answer is of course he is. There's no harm in it so far and we all get to enjoy seeing him draw for 3min 15sec lol What I can say from my own experience is AD is very passionate about developing young architects' skills and confidence through his lectures and teaching and one of the his major points is the use of hand drawing through out the design process as the key to developing a more thoughtful design proposal.
#14 Posted by Laura on 16 Mar 2011 at 09:48 AM
I was a student of Alan Dunlop and I can tell you that if it were not for him [providing challenge,inspiration and example I would have gone off and earned decent money in the City.
What saddens me is that there is such a negative and petty spirited response to a real architect with all round artistic, teaching and business skills.
Young Architect
#15 Posted by Young Architect on 16 Mar 2011 at 12:54 PM

As the first poster says, this compaign by Dunlop to only emply people who can sketchy pretty, and his continual denegration of 3D CGI is basically to make up for his shortfall in skillset.

ITS 2011 MATE.
ye cannae spik propar
#16 Posted by ye cannae spik propar on 16 Mar 2011 at 13:05 PM
'Young architect', is it also ok not to be able to convey a coherent thought in 2011? Three spelling mistakes and two grammatical errors in one sentence. Shocking.
Young Architect To
#17 Posted by Young Architect To on 16 Mar 2011 at 13:20 PM
draw it
#18 Posted by draw it on 16 Mar 2011 at 15:44 PM
As my plumber once said to me.. ''here min, i've goht hunnars of ideas for hooses like, if i kent how to draw them like, i'd be a cracker of an architect'.. well he canna, so he isnae..
#19 Posted by Dislexic on 16 Mar 2011 at 15:44 PM
His point stil stands an 'at - even if it isnae spelt proper.

Dunlop should pipe down : "LOOK AT ME, LOOK AT ME.........."

What a tube.
#20 Posted by FW on 16 Mar 2011 at 15:58 PM
draw it. brilliant, laughed like a drain.

I have been following this debate and now that the illiterate tubes have arrived I'll pitch in myself. Good stuff all round, no problem at all with mystery's view, great web video and superb drawings. Dunlop is right though, and reminds me what I got into this game for. Keep going Mister D
draw it
#21 Posted by draw it on 16 Mar 2011 at 16:10 PM
A few of you (i.e mysterious, young architect etc) have got your 3d hats on too low.. you need to zoom out a tad from that narrow angle you've pigeoned yourself into, and see a broader discussion here.. it's good that AD is focusing on architects' drawing, whether its with students, clients, or the public, it's a fading techinque, and it's great to see it still explored and exposed. The exhibition that he organised was excellent for the profession in this area, it showed people that architects do actually have a very creative nerve, and don't just see buildings as components that come together to form schematics, and that we do have a very strong artistic side. A large number of my non-architect friends went to see it (a good few of whom have degrees in art of some type or other)etc, and they were all blown away with the level of some of the drawings, and their expectations were altered. Many took their folks or other firends back for a second look, and it certainly got people talking Why not show the public we are able to draw as well as just mastering software?
#22 Posted by mystery on 16 Mar 2011 at 18:43 PM
Let me chime in again.......for a little bit of clarification. The question im asking really, what is the relationship between drafting skill and ability as an architect? Directly proportional? Or not so? We could look at this through a number of Mr D the best draftsman in Scotland today? Arguably? Certainly few more published!!! Is his output the best in the country? Arguably not? Certainly more prestigious projects and frequent appearances on awards lists from other practices in the current industry (awards another political saga..accepted!) There are some jewels in the portfolio, no question.

I never once questioned the value of the drawing in the creative process, nor the beauty of the sketches. There are several quotes to be had from aforementioned literature that seek to undermine the value of 3d in todays process. I do question that, and remain thoroughly zoomed out on the broader issue.

PS Anyone at UR wanna upload a video of me doing SketchUP/3d Studio/3d ACAD!?!?!?!?!?!?!?

I think the point may have been made.
#23 Posted by SeanGaule on 16 Mar 2011 at 19:57 PM
I guess it depends on what kind of architect you think you are. Some are excellent at detailing/construction, some are business people and others are excellent front men/women. Others are complete all rounders.

When AD tutored my studio unit, it was the all rounder he was promoting, and to be that, I think its important to be able to communicate your ideas quickly and what better way than a free hand sketch which can be totally spontaneous and almost instant.

I think 3Ds are great tools too, but I often feel they are crude and under developed. Sketchup manages to make most projects look lifeless and devoid of any critical thinking and certainly those projects look much like every other sketchup 3D.

I also think some younger students feel they are pressured into creating the jazziest and most striking imagery possible using CGI. This was certainly symptomatic where I studied recently. Hand drawing needs to be promoted far more as a legitimate and useful means of design communication.
#24 Posted by FW on 16 Mar 2011 at 21:51 PM
Sheppard Robson plan Dale House Conversion..........nuff said.
Anna G
#25 Posted by Anna G on 18 Mar 2011 at 11:50 AM
For me, to draw is to communicate. It is the fastest way to convey what's in your head to paper. It doesn't have to be perfect, it doesn't need to be framed, it embodies the essence of an idea and the personality of an architect. Nobody can deny what a fantastic tool the computer is, particularly for construction drawings, but its different. It's not personal and the same 'drawing' can be produced by several different people. Of course the ability to draw by hand does not a fantastic architect make, but I for one like to give it a go!
c miller
#26 Posted by c miller on 19 Mar 2011 at 09:37 AM
there is no doubt in my mind that the radison hotel in glasgow has the most stunning interior/ public space and best connection with the street of any building in Scotland , including the museum of scotland and perhaps of any in the uk. ask any architect who attended the recent aj 100 lunch there! the idea of having someone work on a 3d Sketchup model video would be rediculous of course but imo the computer images prepared by sutherland hussey, particularly those of their yacht club competition come as close to "art" as I have seen. quite beautiful. As for ad is he the best "draughtsman" in the country, yes I think so but his ego is such that he would probably take that as an insult!
#27 Posted by Tillie on 19 Mar 2011 at 10:15 AM
I haven,t seen all of the images for sutherland hussy's yacht club competition but the ones on this site look like an ad for Centreparc -still,one man's art and all that .
More strenghth to Mr. D,s elbow
Lurve the watch,by the way.....
Tracie Turtleneck
#28 Posted by Tracie Turtleneck on 19 Mar 2011 at 15:54 PM
I’m just a part III, and I know I shouldn’t......... but I get very distracted when those old hands get out that fat pen and show us that technique..........does it take a lot of practice I wonder?
Carlo M
#29 Posted by Carlo M on 24 Mar 2011 at 18:03 PM
This is on the AJ website today too it is great that drawing is last being recognised and it will encourage students I think:-)

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