Over the last few decades, the rise of computer modeling also brought about the decline of architectural drawing, and from a pragmatic standpoint, this is a welcome development. Digital renderings do, after all, make for more photorealistic depictions of what a potential building might actually look like. Meanwhile, in the other camp, cultural gatekeepers prone to handwringing will inevitably lament "the death of drawing" and all that was lost with it. As dramatic as that kind of thing may sound, a recent book by Neil Bingham, 100 Years of Architectural Drawing, might just be impressive enough to convince you to join their camp. Featuring illustrations by such heavy hitters as Frank Lloyd Wright, Mies van der Rohe, Frank Gehry, and Zaha Hadid, Bingham's work treats architectural drawing as an art form in and of itself, and charts the changes it went through over the course of the twentieth century.
In showcasing 300 architectural drawings spanning 100 years of design, Bingham hopes to, as he writes, chart a "historical visual narrative" of "tradition, experiment, and beauty," one that starts in the early 1900s with pretty straightforward illustrations and slowly expands to incorporate different styles and mediums, eventually allowing for departures like Stephen Kanner's Cubism-influenced painting of the Harvard Apartments he designed for L.A.'s Koreatown in 1989 (pictured below). But though a lot of these buildings are iconic now, and were planned out in a visually impressive manner commensurate with that status, Bingham also gives attention to the unbuilt and the scrawled off. Le Corbusier's diagram of his vision for Buenos Aires fits both categories, and it's pieces like it that lend a welcome lighthearted touch to a collection marking the end of an era. Head over to Slate for more highlights from a century's worth of architectural drawings.