A Critical Convergence of Hand and Digital
A series of a 100 drawings of routes, maps, thoughts and connections that intersect in a tabula rasa of 8.5 by 5.5 in.
Illustration series of some essential architecture projects from the 20th century.
What is your take on the tabula rasa?
Tabula rasas are everywhere and nowhere. I believe during education and academia as architects and designers, we are often led to cherish that ideal blank slate, or new found land where idealistic designs and utopias can take place. Yet, when you look at the profession, with budget-drive projects and realistic challenges within the practice, you understand there’s really never a situation like this. More or less, this take on Tabula Rasa meant to be more of a stand to break that blank slate state of mind (or writer’s block if you wish) and to push oneself to capture my surroundings in a blank piece of paper. In my case, I relied on experiences within living and working in San Francisco, California, as well as distant yearning of visited, and non-visited distant territories.
In the golden age of cartography where do you see the future of maps and what will these by mapping?
I see a critical convergence of hand and digital tools. As we continue to progress in the access we have to technology, for mapping, data collecting, infographics, you name it, I believe it’s of high regard to apply our own hands and filters in the process we are making. It’s here where the design aspect plays an important role, as I believe it’s really design what makes everything possible, in this case for the better.
What defined the 8.5 * 5.5 limit?
It’s meant to be a constant. A boundary and a limitation in order to explore freely, within one prescribed method. I also managed to only use black-ink pens only. It was extremely difficult to not break from this, but looking back at the 100 drawings I’m glad I did.
Within the illustrations, what were the main ‘points’ you wanted to convey for each architecture?
A big goal was to bring forward the conversation of craftsmanship, site-specific work and intention. I see in each illustration, and ultimately the original built work, a great deal of layers coming together, yet having their own autonomy. I read patience, love and uniqueness in each which is something we are missing in today’s built environment. As I continue to explore and discover new and old places (and cities) within my travels, I continue to come across a sameness and repetition in the architecture we are building today, at least within the U.S. context, which is what’s familiar to me. My hope is that this illustration bring back some of that nostalgia, to make us re think the way we are conceiving spaces today.
What dictated the projects you choose to illustrate?
Above all, I made sure selected spaces and projects that used color as strong drive within their designs. Ether it’d be Van Der Laan with a religious rigor for off-white spaces or Barragan in attempt to bring spaces to life within the intersection of chromatic palettes and light; also all projects were built only within the 20th century. A search to highlight architecturally beautiful projects.
To what extent and how have your own experiences influenced how you operate as an architect?
I relied on experiences within living and working in San Francisco, California, as well as distant yearning of visited, and non-visited distant territories.
Is the architect condemned to nostalgia?
My hope is that this illustration bring back some of that nostalgia, to make us re think the way we are conceiving spaces today.
Francesco Stumpo is a designer and artist known for his plastic and illustrative work that converge architecture, abstraction, strong colors and organic frameworks.
Born in Barquisimeto in 1991, he grew up in between the Caribbean coast and cities. He’s inspired by the immediate surroundings like the ocean and city grids, and most importantly by people, moments and places found while traveling. He received a Master of Architecture from Wentworth Institute of Technology (WIT) in Boston in 2015. He currently lives and works in San Francisco, California.