Sketchbook: Charles Holland

How are you filling your time in the lockdown? The AJ’s Sketchbook series is a showcase of architects’ sketches and concept drawings

Today’s sketches are by Charles Holland director of Charles Holland Architects and former director of AJ 40 under 40 (2005) practice FAT

In the FAT office we used to joke about ‘sensitive sketches’, regarding them with the same suspicion that post-Punk bands reserved for the guitar solo.

But I sketch a lot now, partly because I move between projects and don’t have time for the slow, methodical pace of the
computer drawing – and partly because I like guitar solos.


My sketches are rough and ready. This might be to do with technical limitations but it is also because, when designing, I tend to draw the same thing over and over again, often on the same page, shifting the elements around until something I’m
happy with emerges.

Most of the drawings I do involve colour, as does the architecture. I never used to fetishise sketchbooks or pens and most of my old drawings exist in a random array of formats: cheap, spiral-bound notebooks, crinkled sheets of detail paper, pages torn from other places.

But, now I am no longer an ‘under 40’, I have given in to being ‘a proper architect’ and use an A4 Moleskine notebook, naturally.

These books contain everything from abstract formal doodles, to construction details, to the evening’s shopping list. I do some of them in the office but mostly I draw them during downtime, on the train, or at home listening to music or with the telly on.

Charles Holland, director of Charles Holland Architects and former director of AJ 40 under 40 (2005) practice FAT


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