Furniture, Structure, Infrastructure: Making and Using the Urban Environment

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Furniture, Structure, Infrastructure: Making and Using the Urban Environment
NMBW, North Fitzroy House/ © Lucinda McLean
Furniture, Structure, Infrastructure: Making and Using the Urban Environment
NMBW, North Fitzroy House/ © Lucinda McLean

A life drawing teacher once taught me that drawing was about seeing: “Everyone can look, but not everyone can see,” he said. The act of drawing involves sharpening one’s ability to see, challenging the myth that the ability to draw is linked solely to enhanced creativity. Just like the myth that architectural design is an esoteric knowledge entrusted only to creative types, and not simply a discipline that can be observed, learnt, explained and tested.

Furniture, Structure, Infrastructure: Making and Using the Urban Environment presents a design methodology that uses “observation as a design tool and design as an observational method,” involving “noticing, drawing and naming.” It explores strategies for sharpening one’s ability to make appropriate interventions in the built environment by firstly seeing.

This latest addition to the “Design Research in Architecture” series produced by UK-based Ashgate Publishing is not a monograph on the Melbourne-based practice of NMBW Architecture Studio. Although authored by Nigel Bertram, one of the founding partners of NMBW, and illustrated with seductive images and drawings of work by the practice and its collaborators, this manuscript is not what Elizabeth Farrelly has termed a self-funded “trophy album” nor is it an attempt to announce the manifesto of NMBW. […]

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