Sunday, 14 February 2016

Urban Sequence Maastricht

Here is something that I teach my students to do, but I never did myself. It was long overdue.

As part of my course in sketching for 1st year architecture students I do the following exercise: They have to start in the street and give a very quick impression of what they see, and how the location is felt. Big modern buildings, passing people, views towards the market place.
Then they have to walk to the half open atrium; at the point where they feel they entered that space, they have to sketch what they see again. It's a public, semi closed area, with tall treelike columns, and an intricate glass roof. And shopwindows, bicycles etc
Then they have to proceed to one of the façades: a huge medieval grey stoned solid wall, with square solemn holes with frosted glass as windows. Again: sketch what they see and feel.
The same for the shopwindow next to it.
Finally they have to ketch the stones of the façade. Try to catch the rugged stones.
It's like zooming in from large urban space to urban details.

I tried to do it myself, 13 images, done in less than 30 minutes, including walking, finding the right spot, making pictures. About 2 minutes per image.

The series was made during a lunchbreak in early december. I wanted to come back a few days later to add colour, but...... the shop had a fire, and the atrium was closed for a few months.


Michael Lukyniuk said...

That's a really intensive exercise. I think that I'd have a hard time to complete something like that. When we do 90 second gesture sketches of models in our life study classes, I have a hard time to finish a gesture. So it must be very similar in your classes.
I was curious to know what the purpose of this exercise is for architecture students - working quickly, setting down first impressions, developing skills of observation?

Rene Fijten said...

The purpose is to develop the skill of observation. I find it more important that they realise that there is a point where one spacial feature goes over into another. What is the point where a wall stops being a wall, and becomes a set of stones. I also make them draw "mindmaps", where they have to use texts or words or symbols on a non-realistic map, to describe the idea of a spacial feature.
BTW, The students make only one sketch of each position, and they get a quarter of an hour to do one. And that is already challenging.