Fantastic Worlds

Architecture Drawing Prize founder Ken Shuttleworth on the process of selecting this year’s winners

Buildings.

Now in its fourth year, the Architecture Drawing Prize was initiated by Make in 2017. From the start we wanted a strong curatorial perspective for the prize, and to achieve this we have collaborated with Sir John Soane’s Museum and the World Architecture Festival (WAF).

The composition of the jury itself has been thought out carefully. Steadfast juror Narinder Sagoo, senior partner and art director at Foster & Partners, has brought his visualisation expertise to the judging process, as have artists Langlands & Bell who have also been a loyal fixture in selecting successful entries. The other jurors joining me in 2020 included architect Lily Jencks, artist Pablo Bronstein, Soane Museum curator Louise Stewart, Hare Group engineering manager Gary Simmons, and WAF director Paul Finch.

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Top: ‘Re-Reading Metropolis’ by Chenglin Able of the University of California, Berkeley, won the Digital category.
Above: The Hybrid category (and the Overall prize) was won by ‘Apartment #5, a Labyrinth and a Repository of Spatial Memories’ by Clement Laurencio of the Bartlett School of Architecture

He chaired the often animated deliberations that represented a genuinely wide range of views on what makes a strong architectural drawing. One of the questions we returned to was simply asking, “Does the submitted drawing really say anything about architecture?” This was a firm prerequisite for shortlisting and was outlined in the entry criteria. Yet quite a few of the entries were so abstract that despite their beauty it was hard to grasp the architectural idea.

In many ways all architectural drawings – irrespective of whether they relate to realisable projects or not – are about storytelling. I particularly enjoyed the diverse and often fantastic worlds that are present in the shortlisted entries, and judging remotely on screen enabled all of us to zoom into the richness of details.

‘Dear Hashima’ by Marc Brousse won the Hand-Drawn category.

There was quite a bit of discussion about how layers of information can be embedded in a digital drawing, something exemplified with ingenuity in the multiple compelling viewpoints of the drawing ‘Apartment #5’, which was both the Hybrid category winner and the overall winner.

The winning entry in the Digital category, ‘Re-Reading Metropolis’, was a highly original work that really got us thinking about the poetic potential of a plan and the evocative way in which data can be illustrated.

The Hand-Drawn category winner was an altogether different proposition: called ‘Dear Hashima’, it uses distorted perspective to create an object-like cityscape. It is an unusually controlled work that stood out for its highly original use of fine lines to create a universe of its very own.

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‘Airplane Tower’ by Victor Hugo Azevedo and Cheryl Xu Lu of Robert AM Stern Architects won a special Lockdown category.

To mark the important creative outlet that drawing has represented for so many during the pandemic – which perhaps accounts for the rise in the number of entries to 165 from 30 countries this year – we decided to include a special Lockdown category as part of the 2020 Prize. It was won by ‘Airplane Tower’, an entry that really made everyone smile straight away and spoke to us with its wit and strong graphic quality, and its capacity to tackle a complex narrative. ‘Airplane Tower’ touches on three globally pressing issues in a moving way: climate change, the housing crisis, and the post-Covid devastation of the travel industry. It certainly came across as a drawing for our times.

All shortlisted entries can be seen at the Soane Museum’s website

2021-02-18T15:14:35+01:00

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