2021 Sketching School

Instructors: Prof. Ricardo L. Castro, Prof. David Covo, and Gonzalo Muñoz Vera, with guest critics Juan Fernández González and Dr. Henry Tsang.

Dates: The course will run from 9 am ET, Monday, August 23, to 5 pm ET, Sunday, August 29, inclusive.

ARCH 325, Architectural Sketching:
Seven days of supervised field sketching in selected locations outside Montreal. The course develops traditional skills in architectural sketching in pencil, ink and watercolor. Sketching is explored as a process that frames the student’s encounter with the environment and as a strategy for acquiring knowledge and understanding of the world.

ARCH 680, Field Sketching:
Seven days of supervised field sketching in selected locations outside Montreal. The course reinforces traditional skills in observation, notebook recording and architectural sketching. Students are encouraged to approach the subject critically and thematically, and to treat sketching as a mechanism for documenting experience and expressing their knowledge of the environment.

The course develops and reinforces traditional skills in observation, notebook recording and sketching in a variety of media, and explores the kind of sketching that architects and artists do when they travel. The emphasis is on sketching and painting ‘on location’ as opposed to in a studio, so students draw outside every day, working individually and in small groups, and under the supervision of the course instructors. Rainy days provide convincing demonstrations of the importance of public interiors (like churches), porches, arcades and roof overhangs in an urban context.

The act of sketching is examined as a process of inquiry and searching. The sketch is revealed as evidence of curiosity and the result of our attempts to understand the world by observing and drawing what is seen and experienced.

The course requirements are based on the development of a portfolio of work, at least 20 developed pieces completed in the field. Students are also expected to curate the annual exhibition of work produced in the 7-day field exercise, and may be asked to participate in the production of a document that serves as both a catalogue of the exhibition and an anthology of their reflections on the process and the sites visited.

We will meet formally as a group eight times over the period of seven days, in four morning workshops and in four evening meetings.

The course starts on campus at 9 am, Monday, August 23, with the first of four in-person morning workshops at selected locations in Montreal. Following each workshop, students will work independently, with instructors available for both in-person and online consultations. Please note that students will be required to upload their work on a daily basis according to instructions that will be circulated later.

Workshop 1: Monday, August 23 – front steps of the School of Architecture, McGill campus
Workshop 2: Tuesday, August 24 – Lachine Canal: Bassin Peel, foot of Peel Street
Workshop 3: Wednesday, August 25 – Vieux Montréal: Musée Pointe à Callière
Workshop 4: Friday, August 27 – the Plateau: Carré Saint-Louis, corner Prince Arthur/Laval

The first of the four evening meetings will also take place on Monday, August 23, at 6 pm. The evening meetings are designed as opportunities for an open discussion and review of the work produced to date, with the active participation of guest critics, and will run from 6:00 to 7:30 pm (except for the last meeting on Sunday, which will take place between 3:30 and 5:00 pm). The evening meetings will take place online, via Zoom, but with in-person participation at the School of Architecture, when possible.

Meeting 1: Monday, August 23, 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
Meeting 2: Wednesday, August 25, 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
Meeting 3: Friday, August 27, 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
Meeting 4: Sunday, August 29, 3:30 pm – 5:00 pm (in-person, if possible)

Please consult this PDF icon document with information on required/recommended media and equipment. In the coming weeks, we will circulate and post (on MyCourses) additional information, including:

  • the course outlines;
  • the themes, required media, and exercises associated with each of the four morning workshops;
  • selected readings related to the aims and objectives of the course and the kinds of drawing that we will be doing; and
  • detailed instructions for uploading your work.

In the meantime, please do not hesitate to contact us with suggestions (for great sketching sites), or questions/comments about the schedule and any other aspect of the general program.

Evaluation:  Final evaluation will be based on the portfolio of work produced.

Students currently registered in the B.Sc.(Arch.) program are required to attend ARCH 325 Sketching School.  Students currently entering U2 or U3 in Fall 2021 will register for ARCH 325 with the remaining Fall 2021 courses.  Early registration is open.

Newly-admitted students / returning students to the M.Arch. (Prof.) program will register for ARCH 680 Field Sketching with the remaining courses required in the Fall 2021 term.

The regular Add/Drop deadlines for Fall 2021 will be in effect (now until September 15, 2021; with full refund).

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