The Drawing Machine - an investigation into process design and top down ego based design

Process Statement:

This project aims to approach the notion of group based design differently to that of the top down ego based structure that is inherent in the typical framework.

To strip the designers down to their rawest form of production and imagination, and re-integrate them into a process devoid of the usually apparent hierarchies.

We re-imagined a form of collaborative group design in a way that would challenge the ego and individual desires of each designer, and instead allowed the desire of the process to decide.

Fast paced, intense sessions of creation aimed at lifting the filter between the mind and the pen to bring forth only that which is seen as most vital to the process and production of such a task.

The process reigned superior throughout the project, but was not agreed in its totality as a set of pre-determined phases. It developed as the project did. It was reactionary and challenged each participant’s dogmatic and personal design methods.

What is produced are not specific solutions, but simply architectural gestures re-imagined into space to ignite a discourse for further inspection.

To begin with, we asked ourselves a set of questions:

- How does a city stay vibrant and vital? - How does one interrogate what makes a city so? - Can the process of exploration unearth the vitality of a city, both materially and immaterially? - Can the process itself be liberated from the generic top-down ego based methods taken as gospel in today’s climate? - Can one interrogate vitality and not reduce it into a concentrate, but enhance its vivacity through unconventional means?


We then superimposed the three drawings, of water ecology, transport and public space, on to one another digitally, resulting in the collaborative drawing.

Within this image we could further identify elements of a fantasy city with new individual and composite elements. Some initial elements were distorted or even lost due to the superimposition. Densities appeared and a life began to fill the page. It was unorthodox, but produced an incredibly visually complex drawing.

The technique of superimposition was to become an important component of our process.

Site(s) Analysis

To refine the process of collaborative drawing we implemented drawing utensils for a finer control of technical presentation. Rules, Circle templates, and French Curves gave a more crisp and defined aesthetic to the drawings produced as we introduced specific sites to the process.

We restricted ourselves again to 5 minutes on each site.

This resulted in only the most stimulating information of the sites being defined, the rest being turned down.

On the next page the 5 site analysis’s are superimposed on one another. They gave the drawing machine a sustenance. The aim of the drawing machine is simple:

To be used as a device to disrupt the conventional top-down form of ego based design and to liberate the designers toward a more pure collaboration.

The One Hundred

We each produced 20 drawings digitally through:

- Superimposition, - Rotation, - Scaling, - Cropping, - Plying, - Layering, - Framing...

... of the original 5 site analysis drawing layers, spending a maximum of 2 minutes on each piece. We collectively created these 100 drawings. The possibilities however, are seemingly endless.

Credits: Ashley Waitt, Declan Ralph, Richard Ford, Shu Min Shen, Edmund Yu