The AJ’s Sketchbook series is a showcase of sketches and concept drawings by architects and designers. Philip Etchells, Associate Architect, shares his thoughts on how sketching forms such an important part of his design process.
My sketchbooks, despite best intentions, are a scrawl of meeting notes and doodles. However, sketching remains pivotal to how I design but typically on loose pieces of tracing paper and not a neat sketchbook.
It may be a lack of conviction, or paucity of ability, but I can churn through reams of tracing paper in the process of designing. Often this consists of simply repeating a sketch over and over with only the most modest adjustment.
The sketches illustrated here represent a small space within a larger project that has dominated my thoughts for four years. The project offered a challenge, and an opportunity, I was acutely aware may only come around once and so the self-imposed pressure to ‘get it right’ was sometimes overwhelming.
My way through this was to draw (a lot) and to trust in the iterative process of design. The resulting series of translucent sheets, have an aesthetic appeal, but each layer represents a staging post on the way to a fully resolved design.
I never discard, scanning and archiving each page provides the opportunity, in the fullness of time, to reflect on one’s design methodology and offers the tantalising potential of resurrecting previously discarded ideas.