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Sketch & Script


by Davisi Boontharm

Sketch & Script way argues for the recognition of visual essay of a thinking hand, seeing it as equally important to textual treatises of a feeling mind. Sketch & Script is simultaneously an open-minded means of knowing and a tool for production of knowledge which intertwines visual and textual methods of inquiry in the search of urban quality.

Throughout my academic career, I have developed expertise which cuts across spatial scales, disciplines and culture. From the scales of architecture, through those of the city and territory, my interests in urban design are placed at the nexus between built environment and cultural sustainability, with an increasingly significant input of my own creative enquiry, and research focusing at creativity itself. My methods of investigation have received recognition, through publications, invited talks and exhibitions, as innovative, complex and challenging. I advocate the importance of art and creativity in research and education, as an often neglected aspect of the quality of space and life.


I also cherish in the importance of increasingly neglected direct experiences of physical reality. That is why I tend to integrate various field trips and workshops in my teaching curricula, at local, national and international levels. I believe that experiencing the real world incites diverse understandings and knowledge and empowers the students with richer perceptions of the world. I encourage interaction and recording of the experiences in as direct as possible ways, such as in situ sketching and taking notes, which is directly related to my own Sketch & Script method.

I strongly believe that the complexity of the urban and many qualities of urban environment cannot be understood and studied through the numerical methods alone. This dialectic relationship between the place and self, and between a person and the media involve all senses and generate creative tensions. My key questions are: How not to give in the human sensitivity in design research? How to recognise and capture the qualities of our everyday environment which reach beyond measurable data? How to represent those qualities and embrace the complexity of urban environment without flattening it into numerical or graphical diagram?


Inspired by Roland Barthes’s The pleasure of text (1973) and Jean Luc Nancy’s The pleasure in Drawing (2007), I explore sketch & script as an indulgence in the most fundamental human skill, making traces with the hand that expresses one’s mind. The two authors emphasise how writing and drawing have the capacity to bring the ultimate purpose of life, to be content.


Sketching is, in a way, my own means of connecting to the place and capturing its essence. For me, drawing is simultaneously the process of searching for, and my immediate contribution to the meaning of that place, something that I see at the very core of its urban quality. Drawing has gradually become a main preoccupation in my work (both in teaching and research) and my everyday life.

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