Exploring The Atypical Drawing
Hugh Strange Architects
Who influences you graphically?
We often find ourselves drawn to medieval drawings and illustrations of the city, buildings and landscapes, particularly those found in the books of Petrus de Crescentiis. We are also very keen on the work of the American painter Agnes Martin, the delicacy of line and subtlety of colour we find in her paintings.
Your images are very tactile, what is the effect and purpose of this? Does it relate to an atmosphere or voice in materials?
I think we want to communicate a certain human quality through our drawings that relates to the way we design buildings – the opposite of alienating perhaps.
How important is the loose sketch in both developing a proposal and when communicating with the client?
Everything starts with a sketch, but we quickly move on to models, and then back to drawings – a back and forth perhaps. The drawings aren’t really shown to clients, though we often draw during client meetings.
You explore the tool of the axonometric, to what extent is this the most complete form of drawing or an alienating tool as the proposal will never be perceived in this way?
We are interest in drawings that are constructed in an unusual way, drawings that have an unexpected viewpoint or depart from a more conventional use of perspective. Sometimes this might be axonometrics, where we explore atypical angles, but we also use oblique drawings, planometrics and flattened perspectives as well as perspectives with a more standard viewpoint. The axonometrics in particular are useful at communicating a relationship of parts; either within the building, or between parts of the site.
What is your work process, and how is photoshop used as a post production tool?
We certainly prioritise the hand-drawn and the physical drawing as a one-off artefact that exists following the process, but photoshop is very good for expedience! We therefore often make textures and colours by hand and then use photoshop to multiply and duplicate these textures, such that the final image is a composite of the two techniques.
Hugh Strange Architects is a recently formed, award-winning practice based in London with a developing reputation for well-crafted buildings that marry innovative construction with a sensitive approach to site conditions. The practice has a keen interest in precise contextual responses and has a strong track record of delivering innovative – and often surprising – buildings on sensitive urban and rural sites. This expertise is reflected in a series of commissions for and around Hadspen House, a Grade II listed Country House in Somerset including the Architecture Archive, which was nominated for the 2015 European Prize for Contemporary Architecture – Mies van der Rohe Award and won RIBA National and Regional Awards. The practice is currently collaborating with the renowned Portuguese architect Alvaro Siza on a project adjacent to the Architecture Archive, a white concrete sculpted canopy that will link two agricultural silos that we are converting into a private library and store for architectural models. Prior to establishing his practice, Hugh Strange studied at Edinburgh University, graduating in 1994, and worked for practices in London, Vienna and Berlin.
“I think we were extremely lucky to find a practice in which flair for design is matched equally by an industrious and attentive attitude to clients.”
Author Maggie O’Farrell