Drawing Matter is a public forum for examining the architectural drawing, not only as an object or means to an end but as an active way of thinking about, expressing and making architecture. We seek to nurture a culture – through writing, thinking, drawing, making, exhibitions, workshops, events, lectures, teaching and archive visits – of understanding the drawing as a practice of looking, and a form of endless enquiry.

At the core of these activities is a working collection of many thousand drawings, sketchbooks and models, dating from the sixteenth century to the present. Established 25 years ago by Niall Hobhouse, the collection preferences material that reveals the conceptual processes of design – the first thought before the presentation drawing; or the unbuilt (or unbuildable) dream over the technicalities of the building process. The description of these drawings is equally multifarious; catalogue entries are never definitive but are works-in-progress, to be expanded, enlivened, often contradicted.

This approach extends beyond the collection, into the editorial, curatorial and educational projects of Drawing Matter Trust, which was set up to explore representations of the architectural drawing, through this online journal, publications, exhibitions and workshops. Like the collection, these activities prioritise discussion, juxtapositions and associations over conventional models of examining the architectural drawing. Space is made (and encouraged) for the literary, non-definitive and pluralistic ways of thinking about architecture, as opposed to the technical, the accepted or the singular point of view. This approach is intended to reflect, and to expose, the myriad ways architecture itself operates – through many forms and lexicons.

Drawing Matter welcomes visitors to its home at Shatwell Farm in Somerset – we maintain that the drawings themselves really must be seen to be read. Interested and qualified researchers, students, tutors or practitioners may write to registrar@drawingmattercollections.com.

For more details see Visiting the Archive.

Selecting the exhibition, 21 January, in 8.44 / out 8.16, at the Drawing Matter Archive.

We are grateful to all in our network of institutions, museums and galleries from around the world: educators, curators, scholars, collectors and archivists; architects, artists, writers and critics, historians and friends who keep the Drawing Matter project alive.

If you join our mailing list at the bottom of the page we will email you an Update every week or so with links to the latest Drawings of the Week or news of up and coming events, exhibitions or publications.

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© Drawing Matter. All content including images, text documents, audio, video, and interactive media published on the Drawing Matter website is for non-commercial, educational, journalistic and/or personal use only. For information on the use of reproductions for publishing and/or commercial use, please direct your enquiry to Craig Stevens at craig@drawingmattercollections.com.  

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