Drawing and conceiving space: how to express spatial experience through drawing?

R. Schaeverbeke, H.M.T. Aarts, A. Heylighen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
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Teaching drawing in architectural education raises questions regarding the representation of spatial experiences: to what extent can sensory experiences of space be intensified through observing and drawing and, perhaps equally important, what those drawings would look like? In the context of their drawing classes, the authors started to inquire the discrepancy between conceiving and perceiving space, and the aptitude of representing spatial concepts upon a two dimensional surface. Through observation and translating observation into drawings, students discover that conventionalised ways of drawing, such as linear perspective, only reveal part of the story. While linear perspective remains the dominant way of representing space, obviously visible in photography, film, 3D-imaging and architectural impressions, the authors started looking for ways of drawing which inquire possibilities of expressing spatial experiences. Drawing as an activity which is able to enhance spatial understanding, rather than as a tool to communicate virtual spaces. Next to drawing as a 'skill', which can be learnt, the drawing classes started to inquire non-visual aspects of space by analysing attributes of spatiality, which are difficult to convey through two dimensional drawings. Starting from a contextualisation of spatial drawing within architectural practice, the article examines the discrepancy between geometric space and lived space, in order to reveal the dubious role of linear perspective within (architectural) culture and history. After a brief return to how we imagined and represented space in our childhood, the article presents a series of practice based examples. Drawing on the authors' teaching practice, it illustrates possibilities to expand our visual language by exploring space and spatiality through observing and drawing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)74-79
Number of pages6
JournalOpen House International
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Architecture
  • Drawing
  • Pedagogy
  • Representation
  • Spatial experience


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