Blog - Privacy at the Beach


The Art of Sketching: Use of Sketches to Convey an idea for a Community Centre

Tuakau Community Centre - MRA Concept

We were approached by a client about his community's ideas for a new recreation and administration centre in North Waikato. This sketch was our interpretation of a complex that would provide a contemporary and flexible hub for local activity. The concept reflected the area's history & development as a busy portage that had served pioneer farming and flax growing agriculture activities. 

The contemporary gathering place would reflect the communities past in its media projecting glazed panels, and flax motif panel. Landscaping and building materials would include reference elements of the original jetty, river bed, flax vegetation and corrugated-iron farm building/accessories. Water-tanks would provide function as grey-water storage as well as presenting a straight-forward rural vernacular. Steel cladding would provide geographical reference to the nearby Glenbrooke Steel Mill, with the colour of the building using a pallet of native flax and river bed stones and mud.

The Community Centre facilities would include a Basketball/Auditorium, Council offices, Indoor Swimming Pool, Library, Meeting spaces, and Community Library supported by a vibrant Cafe annex and outdoor playground. The spaces being flexible by use of partitioning that would allow for reconfiguration to accommodate a range of user groups.

Our vision was for a Centre which would be a Landing place for gathering, celebration and reflection, and a Launching place for future ideas.

Hand Sketching: Free Form Thinking

The sketch has traditionally been an extension of the Designer's thought process, where 'lines' and 'curves' take the place of words and punctuation. The collection of pencil strokes craft a story and a vision conceived in the designer's mind based on a client wish-list brief and the hard elements of construction and materials. As a project proceeds the sketch conveys a 2 or 3-D explanation of the workings of the design, punctuating technical conversations and instructions with clarity and practicality. 

Is the 'sketch' a thing of the past? Should it be? Can CAD imagery replace the hand sketch?

Certainly, many people believe that CAD documents are more 'real' or carry greater authenticity. In reality, and perhaps somewhat harshly, its perhaps more a matter of 'rubbish-in, rubbish-out'. The skill of the technician determining the value of the document. 

But we believe, that the value of a sketch is the personal connection of the Designer's mind with the physical translation to paper, one stroke at a time as the idea is evaluated and considered in the context of the project. Every step is conscious. No part of the image is automatic or AI simulated.

We recently came across this excellent blog on  by Bob Borson on the subject of value of architectural sketching. We love the following comment which reinforces our thoughts perfectly

"When I sketch, I think it slows my thought process down and forces me to think through my idea a bit more completely in my effort to actually be able to draw it out in a manner that allows someone else to understand what I am trying to convey". (Bob Borson: Malone Maxwell Borson Architects)

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