Architecture Program


Date of this Version



A DISSERTATION in Architecture Presented to the Faculties of the University of Pennsylvania in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy, 1992

Copyright © 1992 Rumiko Handa


Drawing has the power to generate design. It is not only the depiction of an image in the architect's mind, but also, more importanlly, drawing, either the act or the product, can contribute to design as a physical counterpart to architectural imagination. Many architects might agree with this proposition, based on their daily practice. This research is an attempt to cast light on this phenomenon, offering a rigorous analysis and concrete yroofs. The study begins with an attempt to define architectural drawing, which ieads to an extensive investigation of the characteristics of repri::!sentation in architectural drawings. Eero Saarinen's winning entry in the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial Competition of 1947-48 was chosen for examination. A total of twenty-one drawings, ranging from early sketches to the four submission sheets, have survived to be studied. C,;,ntemporaneous comments by the architect and team members are also examined. 1Nith the limited interaction between the architect and client during the competition, it was possible to identify and set aside extemitl de5ign influrnces. That done, the study examines changes that occurred in the evolution of the design and traces many of them to the effects of drawing. Five ways in which drawing generates design development are proposed and related to the case. Drawing suggests a specific way in which an ambiguous design may become more concrete. Multiple interpretation of a drawing, either conflicting with the original or n0t, offers a particular design development. Dra¾'ing may suggest design alternatives, sometimes by clarifying the particular problems of the design, other times by helping the architect exhaust the possibilities of design. Dra¾'ing sometimes brings an unforeseen issue to light and forces an architect to consider it. Dra¾'ing may concretize an accidental, unintended form before an architect's eyes. Seen in all its possibilities, drawing becomes more than a :~ere mean~ of communication, it is a generator of creativity. Through the production of physical objects, architects are able to formulate, change, and elaborate such complex mental images as architectural designs. In the realm of architecture, imagination grows out of the experience of making.