building a drawing



3 Day Workshop organised by Stephanie Brandt and Constance Lau in association with the Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London.

Venue: the international conference Material Matters – materiality in contemporary architectural practice and theory, University of East London, Docklands, UK.

1 The word architecture in this brief is taken to include all aspects of conveying and creating architectural information from ideas concepts to drawings and images of realized buildings.

2 The understanding of the word book(s) in this brief is assumed to be of the most traditional form, i.e., pieces of bound paper.

3 AA Files number 12, 1986, article by Robin Evans, ‘Translations from Drawing to Building’, p3-17


Material Matters has been devised as a means of [re] presenting architecture1, discussing its language and methods. The workshop was driven by discussions about the interface between abstract concept and its physical appearance, theory and practice, writing and design.

We started the workshop with the exploration of one given material, a book, individually chosen by each participant for its own qualities and in relation to the brief, aiming to question, challenged and manipulate this prefabrication.

The purpose and the basic question was, whether the process of compiling architecture into a book2 has limited the understanding and appreciation of these [architectural] ideas in their pure and initial but most importantly intended form. Perhaps a different method of [re]presenting architecture is required?

The exploration and analysis of such new requirements have outlined the main content of the project for the next three days.

As an alternative to ‘Translations from Drawing to Building’3, we started to engage with the process of Building a Drawing in the study of ‘Translations from Word to Design’, hoping to create an awareness of the ambiguous nature of architecture through the process of shifting its reading and understanding as matter.

The workshop projects happened to be great examples of exploration, each, elaborating the specific relationship between architectural concept and real space. The resulting work, every individual interpretation, an approach to see architecture not just as merely physical matter.