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AIP 26 - Selected Entries

AIP 26 Student Competition Results

After viewing the entries in the 2011 Student Competition, it's useful to consider how student drawing has changed in the quarter-century that ASAI has been in existence. In the past, design students were taught the tedious process of constructing perspectives by hand. As a result, student drawings tended to be rigorously (sometimes even accurately) rendered perspective views of architectural forms. Today, we all rely more exclusively on computer programs to construct perspectives for us, so hand drawings are allowed to be freer and more organic. Even computer perspective layouts are sometimes treated with more abandon than in the past. This was certainly evident in the student work presented this year: the digital work was refreshingly loose; the hand drawing was soft and expressive.

Another important and welcome development – in architectural design as well as architectural drawing – is the emergence of narrative. The student submissions that most captured the jury's imagination were those that had a story to tell. In many of the hand drawings submitted this year, human figures were used, not merely to add scale and depth to the drawing, but to participate in an activity and engage in interaction that added a sense of animation and purpose to the image and the architecture. When there's something for the imagination to dwell on, there is a resonance created that can elevate the drawing into the realm of fine art.

The primary purpose of an architectural drawing is to communicate not just an image, but an architectural idea. When the intent of the architecture is effectively carried through in the presentation, then the drawing comes alive. In one of the submitted drawings, the idea was so beautifully communicated that one juror remarked without hesitation: " I think I understand what the architect was trying to say." This is possibly the highest compliment that can be paid to an architectural illustration. And that drawing is one of the three selected for this year's show.

The changes in architectural drawing that have occurred in the past quarter century are surely greater than any witnessed since the Renaissance. That's a staggering concept, but I think it's true. The fact that architects, illustrators and, most particularly, students are guiding this process shows great promise for the future of our profession.

Gordon Grice, Toronto, Canada
Jury Moderator

Amy Learmonth, The Seddon Project

Student Award of Excellence

The jury went through the images in typical fashion until we came upon Amy Learmonth's beautifully executed image. As the image came into view, a preverbal sigh of interest was audible throughout the virtual conference room. For me, the design instantly harkened to the earlier days of Syd Mead's architectonic/industrial imagery. The rendering was like an echo from decades past, yet fully engaging to the viewer. The minimal use of color was deliberate, yet not to the point of needing to "stay in the lines".

Upon further inspection, I felt myself walking along the center catwalk into the central space. The sense of depth and volume was both powerful and moving. One juror commented on the seemingly careless technique of coloring the image. The feeling that this piece had somehow grown from the great movie and theater poster styles of the 60s was nostalgic yet expressive and current. For me, the duotone approach allowed me to view the architecture in its simplest form. The shapes of color became infinitely more important than their supposed exact placement.

When it came time to reach a consensus as to which image should be chosen as this year's winner, we were unanimous. It was evident that the artist had a wonderful command of the architectural language and had created the image with conviction. I for one was thrilled to be able to write a few words on this piece. The artist needs to be commended for her evocative design efforts and her command of media that possessed the remarkable ability to capture all of our imaginations.

Dennis Allain, Lynnfield MA, USA

Koichiro Sugiyama, TPC Project

Student Award of Merit

When the jury came to Koichiro Sugiyama's image, we were all struck by this fairytale, Tim Burton-like image. From a distance it looks like a hand-painted, combined section/elevation of an organic housing complex, but a closer look tells me it is a photocomposition of a model which has been post-produced in such a way that the scale of the original model is very hard to figure out. Possibly a ceramic shard stood in as a model for this study and the assignment was to make an everyday item into a habitable space, a task which is still part of the curriculum at a lot of universities around the world. But does the fact that this image is largely built up out of photos matter? I don't think it does. In the end, it is the whole image we see, and the composition, use of color and the overall atmosphere of the image are extremely well chosen. The way the moonlight shines on the right side of the "shell" and the people looking outside up into the sky take the viewer to a dreamy state of mind which adds to the effect of the softened shape of the design itself. Maybe the fact that I cannot exactly tell how the image was created makes it even more mysterious. Well done.

Maarten van Dooren, The Hague, NL

Ayami Takada, Beyond Complexity / Tokyo Re-Metabolizing

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Student Award of Merit

Ayami Takada’s subversive drawing skips into the room like a defiant, precocious child whose aim is to provoke you.

I was a bit intimidated by the drawing at first. Its quixotic subject and seemingly careless, almost naïve, style caused me to discount it: the drawing didn’t behave as it should. It did not represent any current graphic conventions or vogues I was familiar with or approved of. It challenged my notion of what a proper and presentable architectural illustration should be.

But as I spent time with the drawing, and it took some time, I accepted its challenge, learned a little, and was rewarded by what I saw in it. It is a wonderful drawing.

First and foremost, the drawing is speaking a graphic language that’s quite accomplished, original and so unique to me that I am not really sure how it was made. Is the improbable architecture a paper collage? Are the sky and its background buildings, so lovingly rendered, the result of some sort of fresco technique? Is there any computer imaging involved? I don’t know. Perhaps it is a dream.

And the more I studied the more I realized that its style was not careless. It is carefree. It looks like the result of a thoughtful process. The drawing seems inevitable, to have been “built” organically, not clicked on, dragged and assembled on a screen.

How is this graphic language used? What is the artist saying to the viewer? Imagine this subject drawn as dark and brooding masses by Hugh Ferris or as an ultimate megastructure coolly rendered by Helmut Jacoby. This artist too has a singular vision but it is quite different: it talks of a whimsical, tenuous, nearly floating city of lanterns, perches and unexpected origami views glimpsed through shapes that are big but animated by a richness of detail.

I am not sure I would like to live there but I would like to see more of it. This drawing is a success because it is doing what a good drawing must do: it persuades by telling us an articulate, compelling story.

If this particular story is the product of computer modeling, then I am hopeful for the promise of the technology. If it is, as it appears, a partnership of the hand, brain and heart, then I am hopeful for the future of architectural illustration.

Christopher Grubbs, San Francisco CA, USA

Jury for Student Awards

Christopher Grubbs
Christopher Grubbs' illustration career began as a student, drawing for R. Buckminster Fuller's "Old Man River" domed city project for East Saint Louis, Illinois. He has drawn for the National September 11 Memorial, New York, the Walt Disney Family Foundation Library, Crissy Field in San Francisco, master plans for historic Charleston, the Grand Canyon Village Interpretive Center, Beijing Financial District, Shanghai Riverfront, Hong Kong, Washington D.C. and the 2000 Sydney Olympics. His drawing skills have lead him to become a design consultant at Yellowstone National Park, for New Orlean's Broadmoor neighborhood, the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial in Washington D.C., and major urban master plans throughout China. Extensive plein air drawing studies include the post-Katrina New Orleans urban fabric and New Zealand's agricultural shelter belts.
A Visiting Assistant Professor at Washington University in Saint Louis, he has lectured and held workshops at Colorado State University, Montana State University, Rhode Island School of Design, the University of California at Berkeley.
Recipient of 17 Awards of Excellence from ASAI, Chris earned their highest honor, the Hugh Ferriss Memorial Prize in 2005.

Dennis Allain
Dennis Allain AIA is an architect/illustrator who has been practicing architecture and creating artwork for over two decades. Allain’s work stands out as unique in the world of architectural visualization, Most notably with such works as Saint Georges Church and the critically acclaimed painting The Arthur V. McCarthy Memorial, (Hugh Ferriss winner 2006) earning him an international reputation as an innovative leader in the world of architectural design and illustration. ASAI members have voted Allain's work best of show for 3 of the 4 years since the inception of the Members' Choice Award.
Allain was born in Salem Massachusetts in 1967 and grew up in the town of Danvers, north of Boston. He attended Wentworth Institute of technology, where he earned his Bachelor degree in Architecture. From 1990 - 2004, Allain found employment with several design firms in the Boston area and in late 2004, announced the creation of his new Boston based design studio.

Maarten Van Dooren
Maarten van Dooren is the founder and CEO of PixelPool, an architectural visualization studio with offices in Portland (Oregon) and The Hague (Netherlands) and a staff of 17 artists.
During his study Architecture at Delft University in the Netherlands, Maarten developed an interest for perspective drawing and although his company produces only digital work, Maarten still has an interest for traditional techniques as well.
Besides Architecture and Drawing, Maarten is a fanatical golf player and likes to play the piano. He is currently planning on opening an office in London (UK).
PixelPool specializes in the visualization of Retail Spaces and has been a preferred partner for Nike Global for more than 5 years now.
Besides two Awards of Excellence, Maarten has received the the Hugh Ferris Memorial Prize in 2009.

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