Eye Line postbag is pure joy

Seeing and sifting all the images for our annual drawing competition as they come in is the most enjoyable chore I can imagine

It’s the time when we open up our pages to architectural drawing, pure and simple. Once again we are in fruitful partnership with AVR London. From an entry of 1,000 images from all over the world, roughly one-third practitioners to two-thirds students, we declare the winners of Eye Line 2018.

We always say that we’re interested only in the skill and talent of the image-making and do not judge the architectural merits of the schemes they depict. At times I have to remind our judges gently of this. But who am I fooling? Is it possible to have a sublimely good drawing of a really bad, misconceived architectural concept? I’d like to think not. Even the fantasy worlds of students have to have their own logic. With drawing as with writing, Coleridge’s rule applies: we the viewers have to be willing to suspend our disbelief. And so we let ourselves be drawn into the drawings. This is why my self-imposed job of seeing and sifting all the images as they come in is the most enjoyable chore I can imagine. This year we even unexpectedly had an entry from a nine-year-old, Lev Griffin, consisting of fantasias on famous buildings which were much appreciated by the judges (see below).

  • Nine-year-old Lev Griffin submitted this fantasia on Fallingwater to Eye Line.
    Nine-year-old Lev Griffin submitted this fantasia on Fallingwater to Eye Line.
  • Lev took the OMA Interlace Building in Singapore in this pencil sketch and added detail such as a running track.
    Lev took the OMA Interlace Building in Singapore in this pencil sketch and added detail such as a running track.
  • Starting from a skyscraper he saw in a picture book, Lev drew it with a ballpoint pen and then imagined other buildings old and new until he had made a city.
    Starting from a skyscraper he saw in a picture book, Lev drew it with a ballpoint pen and then imagined other buildings old and new until he had made a city.
  • Detail from the imagined city of Lev Griffin, aged 9.
    Detail from the imagined city of Lev Griffin, aged 9.
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Eye Line has grown enormously since we started it in 2013. It’s grown in the number, calibre and geographical spread of entries; in the number of practitioners taking part, in the dissemination of the results (this year with exhibitions at the RIBA in London and Liverpool, and the chance to be in the RIBA Drawings Collection); in the interest of sponsors and the huge contribution of our judges. These include not only architects at the top of their game (thanks this year to Emma Gibb from Foster + Partners, Christina Seilern of Studio Seilern, Chris Wilkinson of Wilkinson Eyre, last year’s winner Matthew Kernan, now working with Hall McKnight, and Joe Robson, architect proprietor of AVR London), but often also practising artists – Deanna Petherbridge this time. 

A win is no bad indicator of career development. Emma Gibb, second in the first Eye Line with her beautifully hand-drawn work from the Scott Sutherland School, is now an associate partner at Foster + Partners; while Tom Noonan, our first overall winner with his Bartlett diploma project, is an associate at Hawkins\Brown, a practice that similarly prizes good visual communication. Drawing, basically. It all comes back to that and that’s why we showcase the best in Eye Line.  


Fantasy to reality

Eye Line is produced in association with AVR London

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