Past Events

Ascribing Value: The Production and Collection of Architectural Drawings


  • 3 to 4 February 2006
  • 9:45 – 7:30 pm
  • Public Study Room, V&A Museum

The Paul Mellon Centre is supporting this internaitonal conference to celebrate the coming together of the architectural collections of the Royal Institute of British Architects and the Victoria and Albert Museum at the V&A. Drawings lie at the core of the new joint collections, forming an unparalleled resource for the study, understanding and enjoyment of architecture.

Drawing of architectural details around windows

Aston Webb, detail from an Elevation for the V&A, circa 1901

Digital image courtesy of V&A Images

Drawing has been central in the designing of architecture for centuries while toay, the dominance of computer-aided design notwithstanding, drawing by hand still plays a vital part in the creative process. Like architectute itself, architectural drawings are both practical objects and objects of beauty. They have been collected since the sixteenth-century, first by architects and connoisseurs and later by museums and archives.

This conference brings together a broad range of speakers, including leading practitioners, curators and archivists, collectors and historians, to look at the calues and meanings that architectural drawing has gathered over time and in different professional disciplines. Speakers will examine how makers of drawings (architects and artists) use them as notations and expressions of the processes of looking, thinking and designing. They will look at how academics (curators, historians and archivists) view drawings as repositories of historical information, at at how collectors (dealers and patrons) respond to the values proposed in the work of academics, as well as to the beauty of the drawings.

Complementing the papers with a series of lunchtime seminars in which drawings and other objects from the V&A/RIBA collections will be presented for handling and discussion by the institutions' curators and invited academics.