Drawing Into Architecture

The Architectural League and the National Academy of Design invite you to a discussion exploring how and why architects draw now.

October 11, 2023
6:30 p.m.

With Stan Allen, Olalekan Jeyifous, Hilary Sample, and Billie Tsien. Moderated by Gregory Wessner, Executive Director of the National Academy of Design.

Drawings in architecture serve a variety of purposes, from the functional to the conceptual. Drawings communicate the image of a building to a client or public. They guide a building’s construction. But drawing as a practice helps an architect or designer explore ideas–about a building’s site, its volume, its plan, its details, and more. Drawing is a tool not only of observation and management, but also of imagination; drawings can articulate a speculative realm of possibility that extends beyond established ideas and material conditions. Over the past several decades, the array of digital technologies that have transformed design have transformed drawing itself. As these technologies are absorbed by designers, what is the state of drawing in architecture today?

Stan Allen NA is an architect, writer and educator. His architectural work is published in Points + Lines: Diagrams and Projects for the City and his essays in Practice: Architecture, Technique and Representation. Allen co-edited Landform Building: Architecture’s New Terrain, 2011; and his most recent work, a series of artist’s studios and houses on rural sites in the Hudson Valley, was published in Situated Objects. Allen was elected to the National Academy of Design in 2012.

Olalekan Jeyifous is a Brooklyn-based artist whose work re-imagines social spaces that examine the relationships between architecture, community, and the environment. He has exhibited at venues including the Studio Museum in Harlem, Guggenheim Bilbao, and the Museum of Modern Art. Jeyifous has spent over a decade creating large-scale installations for public spaces, and was co-commissioned to design a monument for congresswoman Shirley Chisholm as part of the City of New York’s “She Built NYC” initiative. He was named an Emerging Voice by the Architectural League in 2020, and most recently received the Silver Lion at the 2023 Venice Architecture Biennale. 

Hilary Sample is an architect, co-founder of MOS with Michael Meredith, and the Columbia University GSAPP IDC Professor of Housing Design. In 2008, MOS was a recipient of The Architectural League of New York’s Emerging Voices award. MOS was awarded the 2015 Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian National Design Award in Architecture, a 2010 American Academy of Arts and Letters Architecture Award, and were the 2023 Rome Prize Architecture Fellows.

Billie Tsien NA has worked with Tod Williams since 1977. In 1986 they formed Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects | Partners in New York City. The firm’s body of work includes the American Folk Art Museum in New York, Cranbrook Natatorium in Michigan, and the Asia Society in Hong Kong. Tsien’s work has been recognized with the Thomas Jefferson Medal Award in Architecture and the Architecture Firm Award of the American Institute of Architects, the Arnold W. Brunner Memorial Prize, and the National Medal of Arts. Tsien is a former president of The Architectural League of New York and was elected to the National Academy of Design in 2010.

This event is co-organized by The Architectural League of New York and the National Academy of Design.



Dwelling as drawing

For FreelandBuck, designing a spec home provided the freedom to explore the links between drawing and building.

Drawing as thinking

Steven Holl, Mary-Ann Ray, and Nicholas Olsberg discuss the role of hand drawing in Michael Graves' work.