Technology May Contribute To Lack Of Inspiration In Architecture Students

Updated on August 8, 2019 in Debates, Ideas and Discussion


I am more of a pro-computer guy and I couldn’t agree with what the professor said. Computer is just another tool replacing the technical pen. Just like an photographer, it doesn’t matter if what type of camera he is using, be it film or digital, photoshop or darkroom. Art is about creativity, not about what type of tools you are using.

Shaveta Bansal said: “Comparing computer drawing with hand drawing instructors say that computer graphics allow artists to move briskly, whereas in drawing on paper can be frustrating, forcing concentration, introspection and revision as an idea or vision takes shape. The process hones essential skills and sensitivity and personality that make artwork unique.”

The author is not a CAD expert nor a web genius. Just another guy spending too much time online. The tutorials featured here are meant for basic level understanding.


  1. sometimes students(newbies) think exageratedly about softwares, technology etc…
    the software it self is an art to master and is not to blame.
    in fact we can reinforce our imaginations in exploring forms through technological advancement. we can say this because it is already in our age of digital revolution.
    it is just the amount of push for a student of architecture either to slack off and/or explore the more of it…

  2. well being a second year arch. student, or (newbie) as doplemaker stated, I also have experienced a prof. preaching the needs of hand drawing, weather conceptual sketches, or final ink on mylar drawings. Also, since I myself broke my collar bone in two places about 3 weeks before my final crit i was unable to actually do many hand drawings or models, i was forced to use computer porgrams like CAD and sketch up. Having done this i couldn’t agree more about how hand drawing forces you to look intensively at your project, and really concentrate on it as a whole. On computers you are constantly zooming in to a detail then back out and in again, you never get the whole picture. You are also limited by your knowledge of the program and its limitations as well. When hand drawing you always have the whole picture in front of you, and have the freedom to design on a whole, rather than separate parts. I agree with how art is about creativity, not the tools used to create it, but sometimes the most creative tool available to us is the unrestricted movement of lead or ink on trace…..

  3. I’m an architect by day and student by night. I feel that the computer should be used only as an aid to design. It is very easy to take sketchup to create basic accurate massing then print and trace over them to develop ideas. However, good architecture comes from good ideas and analysis. They are most easily sought out and developed freehand.

    Once a concept is truly designed, it is often easier to CAD so that you don’t have to redraw the entire drawing every time. This is also better to understand tectonic relationships and find any inconsistencies within the drawing.

    As far as final drawings go, it is nice to have a combination of the two. Sometimes, I combine freehand and CAD into one drawing.

    Once a concept is truly designed, it is often easer to CAD so that you don’t have to redraw the entire drawing everytime. This is also better to understand techtonic relationships and find any inconsistancies within the drawing.

    As far as final drawings go, it is nice to have a combination of the two. Sometimes, I combine freehand and CAD into one drawing.

  4. Computer softwares are amazing tools that we cannot ignore now that we are living in the information age. What really differentiates architecture from other professions is its sense of involvement and the artistic indulgence. However one can only feel more attached to a project that he/she has looked at time and time again in its whole and that happen with the free hand drawn sketch. The longer we think about ideas the richer the concepts become. While drafting or designing with the help of the computer there is often alot that one doesnt see in truth. For instance in most computer generated buildings there is often a complete dis-regard to human scale and most buildings are often done to strike us dump in amazement! But after conceptualisation of a project then the computer becomes more handy as it can give limitless possibilities of ideas as it allows you to explore much faster and more accurately. Therefore a computer is a good drafting tool and not a design tool.

  5. Worthless rhetoric pushed by the lameness of architecture. An art that is far behind all others, and goffs at the idea of creating with technology. The media in which one creates doesn’t matter, the end result is what matters. Its like calling out Warhol for using silkscreens and acquired iconography. He didn’t actually paint his works so its affect is diminished? nope. Architecture is always held back by some rediculous right of passage. Hand drawing is fine and dandy, but it is simple minded to disregard the computer for anything and everything.

  6. I teach design and can honestly say that you can resolve a design faster with a pen that with a computer. T oget to a concept of what the building should be you are limited by the elements the computer gives you. Solutions tend to be geometrical & rigid, without a sense of scale. A sense of scale is the boggest loss that students experience, without even knowing it. We deliberately promote sketching, because the students tend to be less involved in the design resolution when working on the computer.

  7. I m a recent graduate of a Masters in Architecture program from the US – and I must say that I couldn’t have had a “better” experience as far as “obsession with softwares” in Architecture programs today. There is more and more of it – Rhino, revit, Maya, form-z, Processing, Maxwell render, generative Components and what not. The funny thing is, At the end of my two years, I felt the program was all about who knew the softwares best – because the student who had the best renderings will most definitely get the best grade!

    Unfortunately, there is an increasingly visible dichotomy between academic architecture, and the practice of architecture, which is a result of this obsession with softwares, which is just producing “skilled labor” – in the architecture job scenario – versus to producing ‘Architects’ – who are capable of thinking, conceiving, and producing Innovative Design. Its quite ironic!

  8. Everything great emerges from two places – the imagination and the doodling sketch pad.
    All the nice pretty drawings are formality.

  9. every comment that have bee suggested above is right. but things should be putted in consideration. all architects are not the same
    we use our time properly

  10. Computers will eventually be just another tool to express design.

    The current failure of computers are:
    -underdeveloped users
    -display capability (size, resolution)

    We spend our lives hand drawing from the age of about two, until university. The majority of us started using computers for drawing after univerisity and as new generations hit the workforce that start date crawls more and more to an earlier age.

    We will eventually see a generation of students who are as familliar with drawing using a computer as drawing using a pencil. It is then that the hardware and user interface device will stop being an immpediment.

    Our technical drawings will suffer until we either have the capability to display drawings at their intended size and resolution, so we can use the drawing set as it was intended, or until the users update themselves and learn to use the new form of media. Why when we can build a full scale virtual model of the building is the builder still looking at three abstract 2d representations of a detail when he could be measuring the virtual model in every direction?

    2d art will become a nostalgic, novel page of history. Movies will be 3d, then holographic, then eventually will be an experience fed directly into our brians. There will be no need for 2d art when you can have an “art experience”. Our race currently uses drugs for this. It sounds Sci-Fi Fan boy, but I believe it.

    Architecture and construction are so far behind the technological world. Teenagers are experiencing alien worlds, world war 2, formula 1 racing in convincing first person real time interaction. We as architects are still struggling to produce 2d perspectives and can’t decide if they should be hand drawn or computer drawn.

    AEC is such a backward, slow developing industry that is limited by the skill and professionalism of the lowest common denominator. Builders need to start hiring site supervisors who can use virtual models. The job trailer needs a computer, not a drawing set on a stick.

  11. i am looking for some info about principles for designing a shopping there any one to help me with this plz?

  12. i created a blog that concentrate more on freehand sketching rather than computer skill days ago.(however,for this time being the blog doesn’t have enough post yet)..i wrote a post, Freehand Sketching Vs. Computer Skills.

    yup, art is about creativity, not about what type of tools you are using…however,if you are too obsessed with computer skill,don’t ever forget freehand

    in my opinion,the computer software such as the infamous sketch up is just a tool in designing building..a tool to be used in making 3d perspective or a tool to be used in creating the end product.It is a skill that not necessary be learn by architect. It can be done by the graphic designer.

    Mean while,freehand sketching is a skill that is used in creating design in design process. A skill that must be learnt and practised by architect.

  13. Hi,

    I am doing a study on pen vs computer in architectural design. Does anyone have a link to this pro. discussion/ article. Or to any other articles or information. Would be greatly appreciated.


  14. hi, just like Harry, I’m also doing a study on pen vs computer. If anyone have a profesional discusion / journal, please contact me at my website. Thanks a bunch :)

  15. “Builders need to start hiring site supervisors who can use virtual models. The job trailer needs a computer, not a drawing set on a stick.”
    as long as a squirt from the hose will wash the mud off the hologram that’s fallen into a ditch…

  16. I totally agree with you. The computer is just another tool that can help you express your creativity in so many different ways. I think that many older architects are just not able to chase the technological evolution and they are afraid of not being able to compete with younger generation in the future.

  17. The points on scale are interesting in this discussion.

    For students writing about pen vs computer the craftsman by richard sennett is worthwhile dipping into and would be well received if cited.

    What I find interesting is creation of physical objects or structures through a medium that is non physical.

    Having worked in Ireland during the boom, im depressed by the built legacy. When I look at the buildings I see them as the colored auto cad lines on the technicians screen, copied and mirrored and mirrored again ( this used to be called handed – when the activity involved the body as the reference).
    Its not a ‘drawing’ its an algorithm. Data. With a 2 dimensional representation – the screen is two dimensional representing the renaissance technique of perspective.

    This is not very progressive for such powerful tools.

    Its most notable aspect is motion which has the capacity to communicate spatial quality well.
    Even with the advances in lighting plugins it will always be an approximation to physical space and our perception of it.

    Ive made many a good evocative image and recently started to pop a turing rendered model into a site drive by.

    Though, in terms of comunicative value i have never been more pleased with a well considered physical model which contains traces of your time and commitment, made with hands from materials and not data.

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