“Unless you draw something, you do not understand it. It is a mistake to believe that now I understand the problem and now I draw it. Rather, right at the time you draw you realize what the problem is and then you can rethink it” 1.
Architects use graphic representation to invent architectural objects. As it is not the architect who builds the architectural objects, that work is done by others, it is through confrontation with the object‟s representation, and not through confrontation with the construction thereof, that such objects are created. One could accept, perhaps it is even desirable, that the drawing is a translation of the thought, returning it to the creator in a new form; but one would also have to acknowledge that the drawing never reveals itself to be an exact record of the thought process. Nevertheless, it is through the drawing that thought becomes understandable, so any lack of correspondence between thought and its representation must be regarded as something more than a deficiency. It is also important to consider the drawing to be more than just a reflection of the thought one wishes to develop further. In contemporary architectural design practice the drawing no longer enjoys the hegemony that a certain nostalgic idealisation of the work of the architect would confer upon it, but the relationship between the drawing and the design thought process remains closely knit, in that the creation of architectural objects continues to be dependent on representation thereof. Using a specific design process as an example – the Gallo House (1968-1970), in São Pedro de Moel, Portugal, by Manuel Mendes Tainha – in which the drawing was a decisive presence, this paper seeks to study the relations between thought and representation beyond the general notion of a certain subordination of the representation to the thought that brings it about. It is through the drawing that the thought can be realised, for it then to be confronted with the drawing.
1. Renzo Piano quoted by Robbins. Robbins, E. 1994. Why architects draw. MIT Press, Cambridge and London, 127.