Call for Papers | Drawings as Objects of Knowledge Part II. The Archive Nurtures a Culture of Circularity

Louis Kahn, Travel Sketch, Study for a mural based on Esther I. Egyptian Motives, 1951-53. Drawing Matter, ink on paper, 298 x 400 mm.

In this second symposium in the series on Drawings as Objects of Knowledge, the focus shifts to the drawing in its capacity to hold both history and the future. This is done by activating drawings in the light of the contemporary theme of reuse in architecture, inducing the archive to be operative. Special guest is The Drawing Matter Collection, which is brought to life through re-readings, re-drawings and re-enactments. The pursuit of a circular construction economy introduces the notion of material scarcity, where existing conditions define, even confine, the future; we propose that there is an accompanying abundance, which we would like to identify.

This symposium views drawings as important moderators in this process of re-use and re-appropriation. The past imagined through the drawing can predict a future that is no longer pure and linear, but hybrid and layered. Through their stories, drawings thus become part of a culture of circularity. The archive, which encourages physical encounters with drawings, is a place where practicing architects, researchers and other hybrid practitioners can meet to communicate and exchange their perspectives and interpretations.

  1. Re-imagining the past
    We interpret potential meanings of built reality as evident in the drawing, rather than through texts and theories, in a search for alternative types of communication between past and present. and so invite papers to experiment with the drawing and the spoken word/writing. 2. layered. Through their stories, drawings thus become part of a culture of circularity. encourages physical encounters with drawings, is a place where practicing architects, researchers and other Re-imagining the past Architectural drawings provide tools for understanding the past that is embodied in the physical built environment and the design approaches and attitudes that shape it. This section focusses on the drawing so as to fathom intentions and effects and to enable imaginative narratives. In its physical integrity, each drawing is an ‘as found’ object. The lines drawn and the worlds encompassed offer important insights into the way that architecture is imagined and ultimately constructed. We propose that re-enacting a drawing process can reveal hidden intentions and decisions interweaving of drawing and the spoken word/writing.
  2. Projecting into the future
    What role can archival drawings play in the future re-use of buildings and what gets lost on the way? When the re-reading or re-drawing of archival drawings becomes a tool within the culture of circularity a creative friction between the present and its potential is created. This has the power to unlock new readings and even transform the meaning of these objects. Re-reading and re-drawing is, therefore, an evocative and productive act, where a rediscovered understanding of an underlying architectural logic generates new ideas. The act of re-building, re-using and re-conversion shifts from the existing building to the drawings that precede it. We invite papers to unlock the knowledge within a specific drawing or series of drawings, so as to become operative at heart.

Papers should address one or both of the perspectives described above through a drawing or a series from the Drawing Matter Collection.

Please send an abstract of 300 words + CV (150 words) to by 30 January 2023. Notification of selection will be given in February 2023.

Selected authors will be invited to attend the symposium @ Drawing Matter in Somerset on Friday the 28th and Saturday the 29th of April 2023. Travel by bus from London to Somerset and back will be organized, for which a fee (that includes lunch, dinner and a site visit) will be charged. Attendees are expected to organize overnight accommodation independently, a list of suggested options will be available. The symposium will be recorded and broadcasted life.

On the 27th of April, there will be an online session engaging with the first symposium of Drawings as Objects of Knowledge (April 2022). This day will close with the book launch of The Hybrid Practitioner at the office of Henley Halebrown in London. Full programme available in March 2023.

More info can be found at the Architectural Research webpage.

Organisation: Caroline Voet (Faculty of Architecture, KU Leuven) and Eireen Schreurs (Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment, TU Delft) with Helen Thomas (Drawing Matter and Department of Architecture, ETH Zürich)

On the previous conference, The Practice of Architectural Research, see: Caroline Voet, Eireen Schreurs, Helen Thomas (eds), The Hybrid Practitioner. Building, Teaching, Researching Architecture (2022). Leuven: Leuven University Press.