AAI at the Annex: Sketch Saturday

Saturday October 7th 2023, 10:00
The Annex Central Plaza, Dame Street, D02 A3X

Tickets on Eventbrite

There is an enormous difference between seeing a thing without a pencil in your hand and seeing it while drawing it.

– Paul Valéry

The AAI is delighted to host an open sketching session this Saturday morning. To use Sam Stephenson’s icon of Irish brutalist architecture for inspiration and as the object of critical observation and thinking.

The event is hosted by Sean Nolan. Sean recently graduated with an M.ARCH from SABE (TUD) where he participated in the ‘Architecture and Technology’ unit. Through a research project, he investigated how 3D scanned wood on a site can be rearranged by specified requirements to manifest structures that are unique to these requirements, and does so in a sustainable way. The resulting dissertation and physical prototypes received two commended student awards at the Wood Awards Ireland 2022. Since graduating in January, Sean has worked in RKD in Dublin where he has taken his skills in digital tools and processes to add value to architectural design and delivery in this international firm. With so many advances in new technologies in the construction industry, he believes the skill of hand drawing has never been more important.

Bring your sketchbooks and drawing tools, and book a ticket for free, or come empty handed and we will provide your materials for a small fee. Typo Coffee will be there to provide refreshments, and we encourage as much exploration of the space as possible.

Before the Annex of the former Central Bank in Central Plaza was a building, it was a drawing. Or hundreds of drawings, presumably all drawn by hand, with dark ink on pale paper. But further back than that, it must have started as a sketch.

Tessa Baird observed in her piece ‘Marie-José Van Hee: Seeing not Showing‘ for Drawing Matter, there are congealed ideas that circulate in architectural practice of what a ‘sketch’ should be. Most prominently, the kind of drawing that is made once a substantial part of the design work is done, or to explain an aspect of the finished building – a strategy using big arrows, or the overall ‘concept’ conceived by the maestro’s hand, that are reductive rather than generative, and either didactic or mythologising. However, even if we glumly accept that to be true, Deanna Petherbridge, author of The Primacy of Drawing, reminds us that “In a sea of tired, second-hand and endlessly recycled images, the indigestible dross that has passed many times through the body politic only to resurface again and again in the sewers of cyberspace, the drawn image that springs from the visual imagination of the individual is infinitely more potent and subversive.

But as we know, drawing – object or image or metpahor or noun – is also a process. A process Fernando Poieras describes as all-encompassing and involving the whole body, noting that ‘the drawer draws, but what is drawn also has an effect on the drawer’

Níall McLaughlin wrote in the Architectural Review about sketching process in practice; ‘I am less interested in creating a record of what I observe, than training my mind in that instant to see the thing more carefully…. the performative nature of drawing has more to say about the underlying nature of a building than any image of it would’


Cover: FKL Architects‘ sketchbook from The Secret Laboratory research project by Paul Clarke

Image 01: Grafton Architects sketchbook from The Secret Laboratory research project by Paul Clarke

Image 02: Níall McLaughlin‘s sketchbook featured in his article for the Architectural Review

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