Finding A Balance_Exploring Architectural Narratives

Collage, Students, Texture

Finding A Balance_Exploring Architectural Narratives 

Mengyao Han 

These illustrations explore a variety of projects from Mengyao’s masters study in Politecnico di Milano. What she finds the most difficult and valuable in architecture drawings is the correct balance between being realistic which is clear enough to show the project and being artistic which enhances the atmosphere as an extra message.  That’s exactly what she tries to achieve in this collection.

The  black and white images are her self-portraits from my personal illustration collection “fragments”, through which she use the same skills of doing architectural drawings to record the beautiful moments in daily life.




What dictated the graphic language used for this project?

First is what I want to transfer as a message in the graphic: Function/ Material/ Spatial characters, etc.  I try to simplify it till the minimum before I start adding details. Of course there is always a level of randomness since what I have seen as an inspiration recently is always included in the drawings.


You talk about achieving a balance between real and artistic, how important is it today to reveal the more poetic/narrative and experiential side of a project?

It depends on the character of the project. If it is meant to be a hint of thoughts, then the quality of this transformation is what produces this poetic/narrative way of expressing. It is touching since it brings design to a sentimental level. But everything is a preference.


The images are mainly immersive perspective drawings, how important are these when compared to the classic plan/section/elevation in communicating the proposal?

They are as important as the classic architectural drawings since it communicates a lot more direct. I use them to test the design meanwhile since in perspectives you can find flaws a lot easier. It is a great tool both for the designers and the audiences.


Recent years have seen an explosion in creating images which are rich in narrative and which stand in rebellion to the hyper realistic render, why so you think this is the case? 

Honestly, I think it is because the city has a lot less to be built compared with before, which gives architects a lot of time doing experiments. It is a sign that architecture will merge with art since it slowly becomes a luxury resource for architects.

When you think about representing an idea through drawing what are the first things that come to mind? Composition/colour/ method/ format?

If it is a personal drawing, the first thing I think about is what mood/emotions this drawing should have. Then it more or less determines the composition and color. Secondly, in my head there is always a scale of narrative: either it is detailed, partial or overall. They determine the rest of the objectives.









3 thoughts on “Finding A Balance_Exploring Architectural Narratives”

  1. Katie Abraham says:

    These look amazing! Are those texture overlays or are you making your own pattern swatches in illustrator?

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