Architectural practice is full of moments of quick, insightful sketching. These bits of paper show the need to record an otherwise fleeting design idea or to communicate a thought when words are insufficient. Sketches made during student years show the process of working through architectural design and honing drawing techniques. These drawn remnants turn up in many architectural collections in the form of notes, scribbles, and concept sketches. They offer valuable insights into the career and studies of an architect and they also offer pure visual pleasure and inspiration to other creative individuals.
The sketches, notes, and printed ephemera that follow showcase just a few of the many notations that can be found across architectural collections in the International Archive of Women in Architecture.
School notes and drawings
Ink and graphite on paper
Jean Linden Young Papers (Ms1988-022)
Notes and sketches recorded by Young during her architectural studies at the University of Illinois document her process of learning about different types of classical architecture. Her sets of alternately highly-detailed and quick sketches illustrate the extensively-noted concepts put into practice.
Second Street studies
Graphite on paper
Dorthy Alexander Architectural Collection
This set of concept sketches from an undated project shows the importance of using quick drawings as a way to brainstorm and work out design details.
Why don’t you be an architect?
Dorothee Stelzer King Architectural Collection (Ms2013-023)
This brochure promoting the study of architecture was produced by the Alliance of Women in Architecture (AWA). Among other the content, the text asserts that architects have variety in their work.
“Architects: design, plan, draw, study, supervise, criticize, organize, photograph, sketch, collaborate, travel, teach, research, solve problems, and communicate ideas.”
Nearly all the collections in the IAWA contain loose drawings, fragmentary scribbles, and marginalia. A few more parting images from Susana Torre, Eleanore Petersen, Olive Chadeayne, and Jean Linden Young.
For more information on any of the IAWA collections visit Virginia Heritage to peruse the finding aids and visit Special Collections at Virginia Tech to view the originals.