Drawing on drawing in architectural education

By David Holm
Byera Hadley Travelling Scholarship

Part of series 'Drawing Italy'. PiazzaGrande Aveggo

David Holm   2003 Recipient - Byera Hadley Travelling Scholarship

Architect Category.

This paper is the result of an investigative study into secular and non-secular Italian architecture to explore and encourage the act and skill of drawing and its value to the architect.


Drawing on drawing in architectural education
This Byera Hadley Travelling Scholarship (BHTS) 2003 for Registered Architects has enabled academic research and field verification to be undertaken that will lead to the establishment of a regular study tour of secular and non-secular Italian architecture.  The purpose of this scholarship is to explore and encourage the act and skill of drawing and its value to the architect.
The origins and value of the ‘Grand Tour’ as undertaken by many generations of architects and artists seeking fresh inspiration by way of travel, pilgrimage and observation is defined, reviewed and assessed.  The selection of Italy as the study focus is assessed, defining its value as a geographically compact crucible of Western Architecture representing many of the icons of architectural development since the C6th BC.
This study analyses why, as architects, we draw; considering the analysis of precedent, the drawing of record and the communication of the imagined.  Understanding the differences and connections between observing and imagining is fundamental to the architect’s ability to communicate.
This research explores the connection between ideas and drawing and the expression of the imagined into communicable forms, defining the connections between observation and perception, ideas and drawing; key to understanding the psyche of the architect.
Design, which by another name is called drawing… is the font and body of painting, sculpture and architecture…the root of all sciences.
Informing the research is a series of interviews with seminal architects currently practicing in Sydney, Australia.  These architects offer a diversity of opinion and experience on the value of drawing to an architect as well as the connection between the observed and the imagined.  Full transcripts of these interviews have been included as an appendix to this document.
Following the development of academic research, field verification occurred in Italy in October and November 2004.  The purpose of this work was to analyse the long list of sites that could form the basis of future study tour packages.  This has been distilled into a compact itinerary, developing into a valuable study tour agenda.  A full itinerary, including abstracts and visuals of each building or built form visited, has been assembled into a booklet that forms an appendix to this document.  This booklet may also stand alone as a valuable reference source for architects travelling through Italy.
As a benchmarking process, the author has explored other study tours that are available, which offer similar curricular benefits.  The outcomes of this are included as an appendix to this document.


The Byera Hadley Travelling Scholarships (BHTS) are awarded each year to graduates and students from NSW schools of architecture to undertake research into architectural issues of interest to the profession and to the public.