A Monument to the Early Explorers of Minnesota, Jacob J. Liebenberg, ca. 1916, pen and ink wash mounted on heavy half inch thick board, 64.5x87in.
The College of Design's Drawing Archives contain more than 2,000 drawings by architecture students from the last hundred years. This overwhelming collection shows the range of projects that have interested students and faculty, as well as the changing views about architectural representation. Student work of the past, much like ours today, either followed the current trends within the field or reacted against them. The student drawings display the individual's style of representation and the common beliefs of each generation, which are visible in the architectural design as well as the compositional details.
Observatory, P.W. Kilpatrick, 1927, ink wash, watercolor on paper, 63.9x96.8 in.
For example, the representation of trees in these drawings varies significantly through time. They show contemporary views about the use of color and line weight, as well as the preferred media. There is a distinct difference between the carefully clipped greenery of early 20th century drawings done in monotone washes and the vibrant globular trees that begin to appear in the 30s. During the 40s there is a stylistic split in the student work between the free-form umbrella style and angular geometric trees that transitions into the leafless stick trees of the 50s.
Gateway to a Great City, Albert Ameson, 1939, watercolor on heavy board, 97x63.5 in.
The trees also display the students' beliefs about the role of nature in architecture through their relative scale when compared with the surrounding buildings and the choice of which drawings to show them in. Even the purposeful lack of trees in many mid-century projects indicates the priorities of architectural representation at that time.
Visual Art Center, T.J. Schlink, 1962-63, graphite, ink, watercolor, plastic on board, 76x101 in.
A selection of student drawings will be displayed on the second floor of Rapson Hall and in the Architecture Library during the Centennial Reunion, October 25-27. Pause to look at these drawings and let their details inspire your own representational style.
by Madelyn Sundberg, GDIII M. Arch & M.S. Heritage Conservation and Preservation candidate