Lego Space Planning
Rodrigo Castro Peñalva
Who influences you graphically?
I tend to like more drawings from past times than contemporary architecture or art. I usually find myself saving a lot of b&w CAD drawings because I think they are intrinsic to architecture and one can read them better than a full coloured plan. When I was studying I loved the technical drawing courses in which we had to represent sections of complex geometry pieces.
Although this is a cliché for architects, I played a lot with Legos when I was a kid. Sadly I can´t play anymore but still to this day I remember the unfinished plans of the objects more than the finished pieces. The whole idea for these drawings actually started remembering the plans of some space legos in which the ground was a grid; giving the idea that everything was measured and had an order. All was standard and fitted into that grid. Something that I usually want for my projects. I guess my love for exploded axonometric started there.
I enjoy the drawings by John Hedjuk and the brick wall house axonometric of Mies, although I don´t know if he did that drawing or not. I absolutely love Sanaa plans as well. I also follow very interesting drawings in Pinterest and Tumblr from anonymous people, architects and graphics designers. But in general I look to a lot of things every day and I could´t really say what influenced my drawings, I guess would be an unconscious mix of a lot of things.
To what extent do you trust in the notion of the axonometric as the most complete form of drawing?
I think the axonometric doesn’t allow you to perceive the interior spaces or the feeling between inside and outside like in a perspective. The reason I use them is because it is a nice form of drawing to illustrate the whole building in a rational and technical way. For me it’s the perfect balance between plan and section. The axonometric is very analytical and explains a lot things in terms of number of floors, an intuitive total height, general shape etc. Moreover there´s a lot of things you can do with them, such as exploding volumes, deleting walls and so on.
You appear to use the same colour throughout all projects, what is the effect and purpose for this?
Because these drawings were made for my portfolio, I wanted to give them a similar feeling. I think all my projects are very different from one another and in this way, implementing the same colour scheme and angle allows the viewer to understand that all the projects share the same architect. I also like when everything shares a same language, there´s a sense of intuitive economy and consistency that I think is important.
What dictates you choice of palette in terms of blue for foreground, red for people etc?
Nothing really, I wanted to use few colours to give them more clarity. My objective was that everyone who look at them for one minute could understand everything. For the building the white with black lines was a professional requirement; so to create contrast I set the background to black. Then I was left with the general ground floor. For this I had the pressure to use a shade of blue, after all plans used to be printed with blue background. Having the background in black I chose a light color to give the general drawing more serenity.
What is your work process and what programs do you use?
When I design I consistently use a grid to create rules and set spaces. I even print my own dotted notebooks with different scales. I love Muji, everything seems to be made with a certain proportion to fit together.
I use a lot of SketchUp. Because I work in China, people usually want to see SU models with textures and shadows to be able to rotate and change perspectives and angles without the need of renders or set views. I add almost all the details in SU and then I export them to AutoCAD in vector lines and from there to photoshop or illustrator to give them the final touch.
To what extent is your graphic output dictated by the company?
None, in my current company I have total freedom to do everything as I like. I had to set my own rules of representation, color palette and so on.
Rodrigo studied Architecture in the University of Seville, Spain and the Ecole Paris val de Seine, France. He finished with a final score of 9/10 in his Masters project. He started his own Studio in Spain and won with teachers a proposal for a pavilion in the Art Biennial of Seville. Eager for new experiences he set sail for China in 2013. He is currently Team Leader in CSCEC in Shenzhen ever since. They have been awarded several prizes including a winning proposal for a theatre in Shaanxi and a second place in the Tai Ran Industry Park in Shenzhen. His major hobby is travelling.