01.06.21

My life in Architecture with Declan Davis

The first in a series of interviews with the Apt team offering an insight into what has informed and inspired their architectural journeys. We start the series with one of our recent Part II's Declan Davis. 

When it comes to hand drawing, where do you draw inspiration from? Is there any source of creativity in particular that comes to mind for your perspectives?

For my thesis project artists were a big inspiration for me. Artists who manipulate the drawing conventions they used to deliberately create a sense of enigma within their paintings were particularly inspiring.  Giorgio de Chirico and Edouard Manet both pursue themes of enigma, ambiguity, and discovery within their paintings. While Giorgio Di Chirico achieves this through manipulating perspective, Edouard Manet uses mirrors to create multiple realities within his work.  My ambition was to create space in a similar vein. Creating “spatial enigma” will be inevitable because of this specific way of working, the difficulty lies in embedding the enigmatic qualities of the drawings into the architecture the perspectives describe. 

Giorgio De Chiroco Study Drawing.jpg
Public Route Through The Hotel.jpg
How would you describe your approach to creating the drawings? What is your workflow?

My approach to the drawings stems from the thesis research which explores how space can be generated through the use and manipulation of drawing conventions, specifically the perspective drawing system.

Perspective drawings are not merely a form of representation, they act as a device which can be used to design space, and therefore, architecture. Each drawing I have produced represents a spatial episode within the design proposal, describing a possible reality of how the building could be occupied. Within each episodic drawing lies a promise of another which awaits just around the corner, creating an architecture that has a heightened sense of expectation and intrigue.

Perspective is not reality; it is a drawing system. This method allows a depiction of a desired orchestrated view rather than what is ‘true’. Perspective drawings create a fiction which offers a unique way of seeing the world. By using the flexibility within the drawing system as a device for design, it creates opportunity for discovery during the design process.

Strongly abiding by the rules of the perspective drawing system can lead to absurd outcomes, however the system can be manipulated so that it is an advantageous design tool.  A question I asked myself to avoid going off track was: Can “enigma” transcend the architectural drawings and manifest itself in the Built reality?
Declan Davis Apartment Study.jpg
How do you imagine your skills can be applied in practice within an architectural studio?

The drawing skills I have gained during my thesis research can be very useful during all stages of a project. During the early design stages of design these drawings can be particularly useful as hand drawn perspectives are very useful design tool while being a very persuasive method of representation when presenting to clients. 

The rigorous approach to both research and the drawings I produce can be easily applied in practice. Every project has its own unique set of challenges. As designers its our role to unlock these challenges and turn them into opportunities.  

For me, the most important thing which I can bring forward into practice is my skills as a space maker. My thesis introduced me to a way of working which is productive and efficient, while enabling me to create architecture in a confident and intuitive manor. 
Declan Davis_The Hotel at Night.jpg

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