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Sketchbook: David Innes-Wilkin

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How are you filling your time in the lockdown? The AJ’s Sketchbook series is a showcase of housebound architects’ sketches and concept drawings. Today’s sketches are by Bristol-based architect David Innes-Wilkin

Working from home, I like doing freehand sketching. We downsized from a family house to be in this three bedroom flat that I designed, so we use two of them as a study. The view from my window is of the fine Greek Doric front of St Georges Hall. My youngest son Jamie is also an architect and he still goes alone into our office which we converted from a builder’s workshop, the staff being furloughed.

We are designing a cat hotel near Bristol, and I set myself the task during lockdown at home to design a visitor’s maze in the next field. The bird’s maze has many freehand curves in it which probably would not look so good in CAD. I learned the art of curves from my father who was a woodwork teacher – a fine swan neck once mastered is better than using French curves. “Look at that curved foot of the wooden gable over there, “ he would say. “ It’s not done freehand – most joiners can’t draw curves. They use a lavatory seat !” When in Suffolk I still look for that particular shape which one of his boys will have used.

Wanting to improve what I had learned to draw at school I went to Lowestoft Art College on Saturdays where I was able to learn to do boats – the hardest curves of all. So, in lockdown hours as I cannot go into the office to join my son Jamie, I have been drawing more boats from my voyaging photographs.

For a beach site on the south coast of Sri Lanka I touched up this house design sketch in the traditional local style. It replaces one that was washed away by the tsunami. Again, I used colouring of crayon and felt tips. But it’s not a traditional construction. The corners are strong masonry boxes and a future tsunami wave will surge through under this house leaving the family safe on the first floor. The late engineer Bill Curtin explained the strength of boxes to us at Liverpool University. It is built now, but the locals did not need any engineering or architect’s technical drawings. I thought an impression in this style would be fun to draw during lockdown, and one day help the client’s holiday website.

Share your working-from-home sketches with us on Instagram 
Tag @architectsjournal and use #sketchbook

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