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John Andreas, WMK Principal and Director, is an immensely talented architect who leads and inspires the WMK studios with his design flair, vision, and exceptional free-hand sketches.

John has led the design of numerous award-winning and innovative projects across multiple sectors which have all started with a sketch!

We sat down with John to discuss where he draws his inspiration from and what is sometimes referred to as 'the dying art of hand sketching."

1. What is your source of inspiration when sketching/drawing? 

My sources are many and varied. Essentially, it’s the combined influences of both the physical and cultural context of the site along with the client's brief that start off the conceptual approach. The sketching process allows me to free up my thinking on how best to deliver on the client's strategic vision.  Whilst many early sketches for a project are more often than not never used, it does helps break down my preconceptions on the way I see the design strategy unfolding.

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2. Is hand sketching a dying art, and how do you encourage hand sketching within the WMK studios? 

There seems to be less emphasis in the colleges on hand sketching and this does show up in the skill base of graduates. The many and varied modelling and rendering programs available also contribute to this. Fortunately, there are sketching programs such as Morpholio Trace that cross the boundary between CAD drawing and sketching. We have many opportunities in the studio to showcase and share with staff the conceptual design thinking process. Hopefully too, my sketches on the studio wall will inspire people to put pencil to trace before defaulting to the computer!

3. How do you use your sketches to test and trial ideas and influence early concept thinking?  

Essentially its is a very quick way for me to test and explore a range of options.

4. What advice would you give for beginners in sketching? 

Just start!  When I was working at DCM, Barry Marshall used to say to me it’s all about the process of thinking and sketching and not how great the drawing looks …..obviously all his drawings did look amazing!

5. Are digital technologies helping or hindering the hand sketching process? 

They can hinder, but the programs that enable the crossover between the two can also help to facilitate and enhance the overall design process. 

6. What architect past or present inspired your hand sketches?  

Definitely Barry Marshall.

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Posted by Claire Davies

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