Sketching Series 1: Finegold Alexander Architects Director of Design Tony Hsiao on Why Sketching by Hand Still Matters

Tony Hsiao offers insight into the importance of sketching in the process of creating, evolving and communicating architectural designs.

September 24, 2021
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Working for public, private and institutional clients, Tony Hsiao, AIA, LEED AP, as Director of Design, leads the collaborative visioning on how each project relates to its site-specific context and broader communities. In this two-part series, Tony sat down with us to explain the importance of freehand sketching when it comes to conceptual design for complex projects. In this series, we'll share examples of sketches at various parts of a projects’ processes, and how different types of sketches suit different needs.

Conceptual Sketches

“This was a generative sketch that organized the design into two residence halls that were linked by a bridge element containing the shared common spaces. Very early on this kernel of an idea formed the basis to present a residence hall that was both a gateway and bridge from the lower campus to the upper.”

Residence Hall at Mount Ida College (Now Mount Ida Campus of UMass Amherst) Newton, MA

Colored Pencil Sketches

“These more developed sketches were used to show the client how the design conveyed the sense of creating a temple in the woods, with a view towards the outside that framed the landscape through a series of large wood arches within.”

Temple Beth Tzedek Amherst, NY

Sepia Pencil Sketches

“Early on in the design, the idea of creating a library that was uplifting and soaring that spoke to the spirit of Christa McAuliffe was the inspiration here. I wanted to create a sense of dynamism, and expanding the library that opened to the woods and to the sky above.”

Christa McAuliffe Branch Library, Framingham, MA

Pen and Ink Drawings

"In an early phase of the project, the idea to expand the beloved pub in the alumni center at the ground level not only enlarged that space, but also opened up the possibility of an upper terrace that connected the magnificent historic rooms to outdoor gatherings with views to the Charles River."

The Dahod Family Alumni Center at the Castle, Boston University | Boston, MA

Stay tuned for the next installment, coming soon!