The Beautiful Home, Architectural Drawing

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From mind to hand, to pencil’s point to line, the drawing of the house will make its way.  Yet before mind, the eye, the acquisition of knowledge, of taste and discernment.  If you would learn a craft, first you must discriminate.  Discrimination is necessary to all forms of knowledge.  No less in pen & ink than in violin & bow, than in origin & essential.

 

Architectural Drawing, Cozy

Architectural Drawing, Distyle Doric Honeymoon Cottage. M. Curtis, des.

 

All who have acquired an artistic skill will admit, must admit, judgement, the ability to discern, distinguish, differentiate the worthy from the unworthy, the degenerate from the virtuous.  In truth, we are born knowing.  God, the designer, fashioned us to recognize what is beautiful and true.  You know, you feel the good when in its company, that participation in beauty when mind, soul, body feel at home.  This is natural.  This is healthy.  We must be taught to appreciate the ugly.

I have no need of dilating on all that is ugly in modern, progressive schools; the evidence is everywhere, spawning anew as if each second was pregnant with degradation.  For one hundred years, schools of art and architecture have initiated the hopeful into ugliness.  The next time that you are confronted by some modern progressive thing, or when in it, allow yourself to feel its attack, and then reflect.  And know, the innocent were taught to appreciate the ugly, to be at home, comfortable in degradation.

 

Distyle Doric Cottage Building 2 Clifton

Architectural Drawing, Clifton, Distyle Doric Cottage. M. Curtis, des.

 

The computer screen through which you are reading is, as you know, an instrument of vice, of invitation to all things unworthy and degenerate.  Just so when the screen is an agent, a tool of drawing.  Notice the buildings, churches, houses, 7-11s, thin as computer screens, empty inside, little bits of design untouched by hands, calculated cold, foreign to the experience of earth and flesh and God.

Most every architect, sculptor, painter, and writer under 45 came to art through a keyboard, came to skill on a touchpad, came to craft unnaturally.  Little wonder that all things, movies to books to pictures seem soulless, artless, cold and empty.

And that a long introduction to brief comments on the craft of architectural drawing.

 

Architectural Drawing, Caretaker

Architectural Drawing, Caretaker’s Cottage House. M. Curtis, des.

 

Just now we are drawing cozy houses, snugness, the comfiness of blankets and books and yarns, embers and favorite cracked pots, the homey vase of bright flowers and the well-worn wall where pictures enjoy the reunion of generations distant in time, close in sympathy.  Before all, an architect must have sympathy to family and friendliness, to the good in good people.  Daring, rebellious, callous and cold progressive modern architects are not friendly to the good, to well-worn walls, yarns, embers and cracked pots.

As always, we begin with the person of a family, the father, the mother, the child and the nature of each, their wants, needs, and ways.

We consider the pace of the day, the morning sun through shade, where the blanket lays, the slipper, the private place and the place to put away.  We see how favorite things are laid at table, the hiding or showing in cupboard, the seat of pot and pan in use and in display.  And there the coat on rack, left hand reaching to open the door, and the sweep of going away.

 

Cartakers Cottage Building 4 Version 2 Clifton

Architectural Drawing, Cottage, Intermediate Study. M. Curtis, des.

79 XXI Greek Revival page 1

Architectural Drawing, Epimetheus Cottage. M. Curtis, des.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The house grows from the body, its height, its step, its reach, its pleasure in comfort and ease, especially the comfort in beauty, that harmony of all good things in place.  Look: your body is bilaterally symmetrical.  You’ve a bottom, a middle, a top, two sides and center.  For witness, observe your face.  See: your rooms have tops, middles, bottoms, centers and sides.  See: you are comfortable when the whole is symmetrically placed, when your eye needn’t wrestle with an architect’s opinion, when stairs step easy in flight, when windows, mantels, pictures are centered in conception and in sight.

There is measure in all things, especially in things of beauty.  There is the measure in pace, in time, in prudence and in space, in all things that are designed, houses and machines and you.  A late reference would have us believe that above the door to his Academy, Plato had engraved the motto, “Let no one ignorant of geometry enter.”  Philologists correct the translation, “no one inapt to geometry can come in”.  Yes, I too much prefer the first statemen, eloquent, full in taste, informed by the Bible, King James Version.  Even so, both phrasings intend, “if disinclined to geometry, you are likely inclined to absurdity, incapable of perceiving the transcendent, and therefore unworthy of entering into high things”.

 

Architectural Drawing, Frost Brothers Building, Fort Worth

Frost Brothers Building, Fort Worth, Presentation Drawing. M. Curtis, des.

 

There is a design, a pattern in all things; in your DNA, in song, in lumber stacked on shelves, measured to the height, width, breadth of body, muscle and use.  Most often, after perceiving a house in the transcendent vastness of the mind (that eternity, that immaterial space which eyeless pictures all things beneath the sun and everything beyond), I bring the house, temple or teapot into the physical world by drawing the house, temple or teapot on a grid in one- or two-point perspective.  For illustration, reference Leonardo’s Adoration of the Magi drawing and his Last Supper fresco.

Then, to translate into practical, material language, I outline the house in grided plan & elevation (much as I will outline a face in silhouette of four major views before beginning a portrait bust).  You will notice that growing things are curvilinear, that constructed things are rectilinear, that we are beings whose ease is found in natural curves, whose reason is confirmed in angled measure.  Both ease and conformation, nature and reason, curve and angle are necessary to our coziness in the cozy house.  Then too, the men who build the houses need measure and want instruction in the construction of space, a picture and numbers drawn in the language of building.

 

Architectural Drawing, Follies

Architectural Drawing, 500 – 800 Square Foot Follies, Study. M. Curtis, des.

 

And one thing more, style.  You should know that style has being, ontological being full in idea, rich in history, summoning in sympathy.  Perhaps you have noticed that you are comfortable in one museum period room, that your companions are comfortable, happy in another.  Why this is true I cannot say.  I’ve Negro friends comfortable in French Empire, Caucasian friends comfortable in the Ming, Oriental friends comfortable in the Benin.  There is something in spirit that transcends body.

For my part, I delight in all the fashions of hand and mind, our rich cornucopia of design in beauty, that history of all people made one in this the first united nations, America, these united states.  I hope you find snuggled between these paragraphs, and in postings of recent months, a cozy home that makes you happy.

 

Architectural Drawing, Fresco

Architectural Drawing, Interior Fresco Thumbnail Study. M. Curtis, des.

 

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The Beautiful Home’s 2021 Architectural Prints Collection is now available at MichaelJCurtis.com.

The collection includes Georgian, Greek Revival, Mid-Century Modern, and Jeffersonian compositions in horizontal elevation and in vertical plan with elevation.  Also available, the Jefferson Doric Porch and The Greek Orders.

The Beautiful Home Architectural Prints Collection continues the Renaissance tradition of precedent, invention, and beauty in architectural drawing.

M. Curtis, the architectural designer, was trained in copper and steel engraving by master Dennis Galffy.  Mr. Curtis is also an architectural historian and sculptor, and these disciplines add context and solidity to each architectural composition.

 

 

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THE BEAUTIFUL HOME

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Alexandria Classical Academy First State Blueprint. M. Curtis des.

Alexandria Classical Academy, First State, Blueprint. M. Curtis, des.

 

ARCHITECTURAL DRAWINGS