Fragments from Drawing to Building: Kingston Unit 6
1928 February 2019

19–28 February 2019
Kingston School of Art
Knights Park
Grange Road
Kingston upon Thames, Surrey KT1 2QJ

Opening reception: 20 February, from 6 pm

This academic year, Unit 6 is operating within the space of translation. As part of this investigation, the students are translating a drawing of a building fragment from the Drawing Matter collection into a full-scale building element. The source drawings for the fragments range from free-hand sketches to highly finished pen-and-ink hard-line drawings.   

When we first began to engage with the classical language of architecture, we thought the deployment of the language was an act of creative copying: copying because the long-established forms of the orders are being employed, and creative, because no two buildings can ever be exactly the same, even if the architect would like them to be. 

Now we think that the use of the classical language is more accurately described as an act of translation, with the familiar forms of the orders and the classical way of ordering a building establishing a physical and theoretical structure within and against which all the other forces during design must act. Inevitably, this physical and theoretical structure will adapt too during the process – perhaps having been translated from an ideal into a contingent state, although the defining attributes of a classical building will still be present: balance, proportion, order, hierarchy.

To us the creative friction of this translation – from canonical archetype to particular built instance – offers fertile ground for exploration. 

The fragments are expediently constructed and focus on translating the form of the object from two-dimensional drawing to three-dimensional reality. Perhaps more than in other modes of architecture, element and whole are more explicit, and more nuanced. In making their fragments the students are confronted with the glorious physicality of the ‘stuff’ of architecture.

– Timothy Smith and Jonathan Taylor


On Alternative Histories in which architects were given drawings selected from the Drawing Matter collection, and asked to propose an alternative future in model. Click here for the curatorial statement, alongside a slide show, and here to see a list of participants.