May 10, 2024

The Art of Field Drawing: Gothic Architectural Details at Princeton University

ICAA Members: $75 | General Public: $90

6.5 credits towards the Certificate in Classical Architecture (Measured Drawing and Analytical Drawing) | Submitted for AIA CES Approval

One of the best ways to study precedents is through observation and drawing in the field, in direct contact with original models. Two time-tested techniques for studying architectural precedents are analytical and measured drawing in sketchbook. Field drawing was the principal method by which architects historically advanced their skills and knowledge. Studying details, buildings, and places via drawing reveals ways in which precedents are continuously adapted to new programmatic and regional conditions. The Art of Field Drawing course series presents a method of sketchbook drawing focused on accurately measured and analytical drawings of accessible architectural details, drawn in a sketchbook. Courses emphasize orthographic drawings of plan, section, elevation and profile. Perspective and three-dimensional studies are also discussed

This course is an exploration of Gothic architecture, particularly details such as: door and window surrounds, building bases, and mouldings. The campus of Princeton University features many excellent examples of Gothic architecture. In 1896, inspired by Oxford and Cambridge Universities, the college trustees mandated Collegiate Gothic language for new buildings. Key university architects who designed in the Gothic character include Cope and Stewardson; Day and Klauder; Ralph Adams Cram; and, more recently, Demetri Porphyrios.

The course will begin with an online presentation the evening preceding the in-person field drawing program. The presentation will introduce the history of measured drawings and include discussion of methodologies for the study of buildings and the adaption of precedents. The next day on-site at Princeton University, instructors will provide basic demonstrations and offer insight while participants draw. The course will conclude with a review of sketchbooks and a final discussion.

The course is intended for both students and seasoned architects, as drawings can be tailored to experience level. Basic pencil drawing and drafting skills are recommended, including knowledge of the use of an architectural scale.

Required Materials

Participants are required to bring drawing materials to participate in the program:

  • Sketchbook: hardbound (+/-) 8” x 10”, stitched binding so the book can open flat
    (Strongly recommended: Moleskine Art Collection A4 Sketchbook, 8.25” x 11.75”)
  • 12” triangular architects scale with 1/8”, 1/4”, 3/4”, 1 1/2” and 3” scales
  • Tape Measures (recommended, 25’ Stanley Powerlock, and Lufkin 6’ folding wood rule)
  • Mechanical pencil with 0.5 HB lead (Alvin Draft/Matic or similar)
  • Wooden drawing pencils, H, HB and 2B leads. (Recommended: Tombow Mono)
  • Pencil Sharpener (Recommended: Blackwing Longpoint or similar)
  • Eraser (Recommended: Tuff Stuff Eraser Stick or Alvin Vinyl Eraser or similar)
  • Drawing Stool (optional)
  • Foot-inch calculator (Recommended, Measure Master Plus App or similar)

Learning Objectives

  • Learn about the use of measured, analytical, and perspective sketchbook drawing as a design
    tool and resource from the Renaissance to the present day.
  • Learn techniques for architectural measured drawings, accurately drawing them to scale in a
  • Expand architectural design skills through familiarity with architectural precedents that can
    inform future architectural design endeavors.
  • Develop a sensibility for size, scale, proportion and composition through measuring and
  • Obtain a working understanding of Gothic architectural language.
  • Inspire a lifelong passion for sketchbook drawing.