Sketches and Photographs

The rapid, free hand sketch of Stoke Newington Church Street was made when the buildings were cleaned recently. Finished drawings were not necessary as the sketch gave enough detail for instructing the builder. Construction work would have required technical architectural drawings, but these too would probably have started with a freehand sketch.

A good photograph is very useful when drawing existing buildings as it gives precise details. Surveyors often calculate heights and widths of window openings, chimneys etc. by measuring heights in courses of bricks and widths in brick lengths. They then measure the height and width of four of five bricks with their mortar and, back in the office, they can calculate measure­ments very exactly. A photograph gives all this information and should be regarded as a good tool. But remember to measure the bricks before you leave the site.


An Environmental Exercise

This idea might be adapted to our area as follows:-

  • Let each pupil sketch one or two adjoining houses to a common scale.
  • Photograph the houses.
  • From sketches and photographs make more finished drawings of the facades to scale and assemble a street scene.
  • Remove one or two houses or move them apart.
  • Write a client's brief describing the building which is wanted, its purpose and the client's ideas.
  • Write a letter to the client explaining politely why the planners will be unlikely to accept some of his ideas — three floors of plate-glass windows, which may be suitable in a selling-ground like Oxford Street but not in a conservation area; raising the roof-line by a couple of storeys; building in concrete blocks and corrugated iron etc.
  • Write to the planners and ask them to accept some of the client's ideas.Pro­duce a drawing and submit it, with a covering letter, to the planners.

The possibilities are endless. The method is to get pupils, architects and teachers together, onsite, to discuss real problems.

Stoke Newington Church Street
as a Conservation Area

A Victorian Villa

Updated: October 8, 2011