As an architecture student taught in the era of computer-based, parametric architectural design, I’m often inspired by organic, natural curves that are unique to their own and also respond to the natural landscape. But contrary to my preference and style, I’ve recently found orthogonal drawings extremely beautiful, specifically the axonometric and isometric drawings.
1) Reality & Unreality
Image source: MIR
In the era of digitisation, creating a photorealistic rendering has become a common practice in the field of architecture or industrial design. Whether you visualise the entire building or represent layout or programs, well-documented renderings certainly persuade the viewers. Just like renderings, axonometric drawing can do all those in its own way.
Image: The City of the Captive Globe Project by Rem Koolhaas
Restricted by angular composition, its unique perspective that’s different from what we see from our own bare eyes convinces the viewer to imagine the space while reading its programs/structure. One of the very first axonometric drawings I’ve seen as I studied architecture was the the City of the Captive Globe Project by Rem Koolhaas in his notable book, Delirious New York. The beauty of this drawing is that its unique, unrealistic perspective takes the viewer to a different vision, allowing to picture the message.
2) Satisfyingly organised composition.
Image: 41 Cooper Square by Morphosis Architects
Axonometric drawings were originally produced as technical working drawings to layout different parts of an object, whether an industrial product, building or public space. It’s a combination of technical information garnished with aesthetic add-ons. Thanks to its organisation, staring at a well-made axonometric drawing is almost like reading a very well-structured (i.e. technical) book with great story, choice of wording, flow, or composition (i.e. aesthetic).
3) Simple and Informational
Image Source: Axonomatrix
Learning how to sketch one-, two- and three-point perspective drawings would probably be the starting point of all technical drawings. The fundamentality and simplicity of its nature means it’s fun and easy to be read and sketched by most people, and even better with information.
Take your three minutes to see the axonometric drawing of the renovation project of the Museum of Modern Arts (MoMA) in New York City that our principal architect of Studio Jonah, Onah Jung, was involved. Its see-through drawing not only shows the overall massing and volume of the building but also visually arranges the program without the need of annotation. The representation, organisation and simplicity of axonometric drawing is often underrated over 3d renderings. If you’d like, try drawing something simple (like the room you are in!) in axonometric projection!