Created as a collaboration between Sir John Soane's Museum
with Make Architects and the World Architecture Festival, The Architecture Drawing Prize is now in its fifth year. It attracts entries from around the world and displays the best and most innovative architectural drawings of today. The extent to which the drawing makes a proposition about the possibilities of architecture is an important criterion in the judging process as are technical skill and originality of approach.
As part of The Prize programme, finalists and winners are exhibited at Sir John Soane's Museum. This year there are two exhibitions. Sir John Soane's Museum is hosting the 2021 Prize exhibition and has also curated a virtual exhibition with Make Architects, a Five Year Retrospective of the Architecture Drawing Prize. Both celebrate how communicating ideas or design concepts effectively are at the heart of what makes a strong architectural drawing, be it purely conceptual or relating to a project intended to be built.
The 2021 Prize Exhibition at Sir John Soane's Museum
The exhibition explores the latest developments in the art of the architectural drawing and has a strong focus on how traditional rendering techniques are combined with latest digital tools. Last years entrants also demonstrate how drawing has been an important medium during the pandemic in reconnecting with ones surroundings and seeing these afresh.
A heightened sense of place has come to the fore in the applicants submissions, which is thought-provoking because many architects have become physically distanced from their projects, as their design processes have been increasingly screen-based during lockdowns and work-from-home periods.
The exhibition at the Museum is a snapshot of the online retrospective, exploring many of the similar themes but also demonstrating how architects and students, in particular, are excelling in the use of digital tools in an artful, mature way. This was the first time that all category winners were made up of students, thus showing the artistry possessed by the latest generations of architecture graduates
The Five Year Virtual Retrospective of The Architecture Drawing Prize
The Retrospective showcases drawings by the winners and finalists of The Architecture Drawing Prize since its inception in 2017. It exemplifies how virtual space is able to facilitate the mounting of large exhibitions that can work as a strong complement to more focussed and smaller physical exhibitions.
Greg Willis from Make Architects who led on the design of the virtual gallery and collaborated closely with Curator Louise Stewart on Sir John Soanes Museum retrospective exhibition design says,
The Vault of Contemporary Art uses our placemaking skills to create a digital platform that plays with materiality, light, sound and sense of place in an innovative and distinctive way giving great care to how objects are displayed. The idea has been to improve our experience of digital space, making it more memorable and distinct.
Curator of Exhibitions at Sir John Soane's Museum, Louise Stewart, has organised the Retrospective around ten themes ranging from "Light, Space, Shade, to "This Crowded City" to "Dystopian Visions" of which says,
"In this group of drawings, artists grapple with future threats. In doing so, they take account of issues such as climate change, overpopulation, and energy provision. Their unsettling imagery demonstrates architectures impact on people and planet, and its potential to underpin, exacerbate and solve the problems faced by society.