Architecture as Painting

What if architecture can be as painting? Would there still be a difference between artistic making and architectural making? When we see painters as builders and architects as sculptors can an architectural drawing become a work of art?


These are questions that I tried to answer during my graduation at the faculty of Architecture, TU Delft. For my thesis click here

This project hypothesizes a new way of making architecture induced by 3D printing techniques and scientific developments in plastics. Inspired by painting techniques we can accelerate and deepen our knowledge of additive construction processes. We learn from the art of painting to destabilize the engineer inside the architect and with that bring out the artist. When plastic is applied in its full plasticity a new realm opens, new forms and new expressive values, where the domains of the artist and the engineer transcend each other. The making process becomes open to serendipity. What if material properties can be applied like color is used in painting or when gravity shapes our walls during material solidification. Imagine architecture as painting; a tool through which we can design and build more intuitively. Then, the city becomes the canvas and the drawing architect becomes the designing builder.

The pointillist, impressionist, expressionist and action painting present different thoughts on i.a. painting, line, color, composition and brushes. They all reveal how bodily movement, be it through hand, arm or fingers, create works with a hierarchical structure which naturally flows from the mode of application. Looking at these styles opens up doors to all new kinds of possibilities for 3D printing. 

In transferring this thought to 3D printing the only natural straight line is the line created by gravity: the fall-line. Where a material solidifies during its fall, comparable to the forming process of a stalactite. Through technological developments in material science one can imagine this to become a construction process of for instance structural columns and vertical façade elements. It creates natural structures in which the material is moved by gravitational and centrifugal forces. The potentials of this idea are being further exploited / investigated on the levels of thermo-dynamical properties of the material, how it moves from liquid to solid in 'Where are we, Art?'.

The drawing as art or as a tool


Here we see how abstract a working drawing might become for this method. The drawing merely represents the directionality of the movement that needs to be translated to the machine. If the practice of architecture is repositioned in relation to painting and sculpting, we can say two things; the drawing can become art or it can be ignored in its entirety and substituted with, in this case, the digital code.



It juxtaposes the material and the immaterial. The abstract drawing has limitations in representation and not all things architectural can be arrived at through drawing. Therefore one could say that the abstract drawing should be abandoned if the architect judges the effect of a certain materiality more interesting than the information for construction. Then drawing is no longer a code for construction but remains an enigma. Similarly to 20th century painting, the drawing is introduced as a work of art, it is no longer a working drawing for construction but becomes an image of thought.


Below a short movie of the making of the final model. It shows how large and small movements make up the building process.


Music: Rone - Tempelhof

Edited by Milou van Min