Understanding Architecture through Drawing - Sydney Opera House

February 4, 2011 | 2 Comments

A few things going on in my brain today and yesterday…

Yesterday: At work I was thinking how easy it is as an architect to design within the latest fads. Thanks to various blogs and my extensive magazine subscriptions I am getting lots of information about the latest and greatest…but how to design something that won’t date? Hmmm

So at night I can home and pulled off a new book and started to read. It is Twenty Buildings every architect should understand by Simon Unwin. What I read in the introduction is worth writing in my book… so I did that tonight. (Tangential question: is do I have my own architectural voice?)

Today: I am working on a BIG sketch(more about this later) which includes the harbour bridge and the Opera House…so doing a bit of research…what am I actually drawing?

Yesterday I worked out accurately how many bays the Harbour Bridge has and how to draw it without looking at it(Confession:most of the time I just guess how many bays it has!)…It made me realise that I really don’t know it or the Opera House very well. So tonight… I got another book off my shelf – Ken Woolley’s wonderful new book on the Opera House.

I really what to read this book -cover to cover! I have never studied this building or even ever really looked at the plan.

Putting these two thoughts together…I need to start drawing the Opera House and studying drawings of it. I am not sure that I will suddenly discover if I have my own architectural voice by doing this …but I will sure have fun!

BTW – I used to be addicted to cross hatching…when I am sketching and designing, cross hatching is a reflex action that helps me think through problems – for some reason tonight I felt in the mood for some.
BTW 2 – I am in a very serious mood for a Friday night aren’t I? Maybe I need a Baroque sketch to finish the night off in style – it is after 11pm after all!


  • It's good to think and draw accurately – but it's also good to just draw your impression

    I certainly agree that the only way to understand how a building really works is to try and draw it!

  • AutumnLeaves says:

    This opera house reminds me a bit of the Denver airport. Not an architectural style I really like but it is definitely unique and I'm sure presented its own set of challenges to the architect and to the engineers determining its structure.

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