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Conceptual Designing: It Starts with The Hand and Heart

We go to the paper to reveal it. We don’t go to the paper to find it. -Norman Jaffe, American architect

Hand-drawn architectural renderings are becoming something of a lost art form.

With current technology and innovative computer-aided design, there’s less need — if any at all — to put pen to paper. New generations of architects are learning and designing solely through screens; their language is “click, click, click” on the computer.


But is this a positive shift for the industry?

For chief architect Marc Camens, he’s not so sure.

“While some of the programs replicate hand-drawing with remarkable skill, I personally feel that nothing can ever replace putting pen to paper for conceptual sketching,” says Camens.

For him, the revelation of the true heart of the design happens through the process of sketching — much like the quote from his mentor, the late Norman Jaffe

Over the years, Camens has developed his own hand-drawing method and it’s the crucial first step for any home design — with felt-tip pens seamlessly translating the heart of his designs on paper.

Sketching also manifests the way Camens designs — from the inside-out — and builds the interrelationships and connectedness in spaces from the start. He doesn’t ever begin from a preconceived idea or plan; he goes to the topography of the land as well as the backgrounds of the people who will be living in the home and creates the structure around them.

“With computers, you spend all your mental and creative energy connecting the points and all your thought process on how to move the line,” he added. “But, with sketching, it’s fluid and conceptual — I draw as fast as I think. My thoughts are solely and freely focused on the design.”

While Camens Architectural Group has the foremost CAD programs — and we put them to good use for our fly-through photorealistic renderings — they will never replace hand-drawn renderings.

Once we have those hand drawings, we go to the screen.

“We don’t lose a thing because we don’t go to the computer first,” says Camens. “Clients love working with us because of our process of ideation that’s first expressed through paper, then computer, then fly-throughs.”

If you’d like to learn more about chief architect Marc Camens’ process and how we bring incredible properties to life, contact us here.