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Architectural drawing: The culture of learning an unstable currency

Burch, James

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James Burch
Associate Professor of Architecture


This paper develops a preliminary map of the contemporary culture of learning of drawing in UK schools of architecture using Bourdieu's related notions of field and habitus, as applied in Hodkinson, Biesta and James' 'theory of learning cultures.' In developing this proposition the paper argues that drawing has been the defining currency by which architectural production has developed cultural distinction during the twentieth century, but that information technology is destabilising architectural drawing as the established currency of this culture. Examining the teaching of drawing as a learning culture demonstrates that drawing is learnt within an open field of objective forces, that students define their drawing habitus in negotiation of these forces, many of which are extraneous to architecture as a distinct cultural practice, and that in their subsequent redefinition of drawing students also redefine something of central importance to how architecture has expressed its exchange-value over the past century.


Burch, J. (2014). Architectural drawing: The culture of learning an unstable currency. Charrette, 1(1), 20-35

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Apr 11, 2014
Online Publication Date Jun 1, 2014
Publication Date Jun 1, 2014
Deposit Date Mar 21, 2016
Publicly Available Date May 9, 2016
Journal Charrette
Print ISSN 2054-6718
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 1
Issue 1
Pages 20-35
Keywords drawing, habitus, learning cultures
Public URL
Publisher URL


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