Approaches to Drawing in Art, Architecture and Engineering


Julie Merriman first contacted me in October 2013 asking about the Dolphin House Regeneration project on which I was working, in particular her interest was in viewing the original drawings of the housing scheme and the proposed design drawings. Her interest was particularly focussed on the drawn medium and how it was used within a Local Authority such as Dublin City Council. She had also contacted the drawing offices of other engineering sections within the Council with a similar request. In addition to drawings of Dolphin House, I also showed her historic drawings of other Dublin City Council flat complexes dating as far back as the 1940’s which were stored in our Housing Maintenance section.

It was interesting and indeed unusual for someone to take an interest in these drawings not just for their content but rather for the quality of the drawings themselves. These were predominantly pencil or ink drawings all done by hand something which continued until the mid-1990’s when the use of computer aided design started becoming the norm. I would however argue that the skill of hand drawing especially when designing is an essential tool in the role of an architect. In my opinion it is impossible to undertake the initial phases of design without the use of hand drawn sketches and personally I would find difficulty in designing any building from scratch directly on a computer. Indeed, the architectural colleges still place emphasis on teaching students the skill of hand drawings in spite of the computer aided design being an integral part of these courses.

Julie has now completed her commission and is currently holding an exhibition at the Hugh Lane Gallery. It is fascinating to see how her interpretation of what were essentially working drawings has been developed into works of art.

To find out more about the event click here.

Stefan Lowe, Senior Executive Architect, City Architect’s Office, Dublin City Council