It Starts with a Staircase

In Blog by Alex Woogmaster

If you can forgive the inconsistencies of some poorly-lit late night photographs, here are images of my progress in drawing a building Section that I completed back  in August of 2012.

I get to draw these compositions every so often, and they take a number nights in a row to complete. They are always imaginary, and allow me opportunities to explore ideas of space, proportion, movement, balance, and contrast – within both smaller room interiors, and at larger architectural scales. I never begin with a full idea, and the drawings usually grow organically from a very basic starting point: in this case, it was a Main Staircase inspired by the Hotels Particuliers of Paris.

This kind of work is deeply personal to me, and while the process can be exhausting, it allows me time to meditate, to invent, and to adapt. The only rule is that I can’t go back and erase the fountain pen ink, so it’s a chance to explore compositions around unplanned mistakes as the drawings grow, and to build off of lucky decisions. So much of historic architecture develops over time, as one designer builds into, around, and over the work of another, and this drawing process helps me understand why so many of the most chaotic and convoluted spaces in our built world are also often the most enchanting.

My drawing explorations are always personally exciting, therapeutic, and enriching, and I’m glad to be sharing one with you.