Dafni Filippa: “What if the drawings were provocations?”

Dafni Filippa: “What if the drawings were provocations?”

Entries for the annual architectural drawing award are judged in three categories, hand-drawn, digital and hybrid. Last year, Dafni Filippa, a postgraduate Master of Landscape Architecture (MLA) student at the Bartlett School of Architecture, won in the hybrid category and was also deemed the winner of the award with her Flood-responsive landscape performancea virtuoso drawing created through a variety of rendering and modeling techniques produced by hand, in plaster and across and across multiple software platforms.

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Fascinatingly elegant in complexity, with an uncanny depth and beauty, Filippa’s drawing depicts, in her words, “a multi-scale territory operating under the constant influence of ever-changing ecosystem dynamics. Focused on dense urban settlements and responding to future sea level rise, my project proposes the deployment of London’s “hidden rivers” as a flood defense agent to absorb tidal water accumulations that endanger the city.

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© Dafni Filippa

Its design delves deep into the London terrain, exploring and explaining geological and man-made strata, including escalators and underground tunnels, expanses of brick, concrete and clay, a hidden river and delightfully pipes and conduits. drawn. This multi-layered design is just part of a “choreography” (Filippa’s word) of compelling images the young Greek-born landscape architect has created to convey the nature of her hidden river project “Deep Ground “. These include a flowing river shot of the long-buried River Tyburn emerging into the light of Westminster and flowing through an imaginative, organically layered park next to Westminster Abbey and the Palace of Westminster on its way to join the River Thames .

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© Dafni Filippa

Although it is unlikely that such a project will be realized in the future, Filippa’s designs command attention. What if? If only! “These are provocations,” she says, “a form of controlled released energy. I am interested in drawings that explore and engage, provoke discussion; designs to think with and through and from which to design. ‘Deep Ground’ designs show architecture that blends with the landscape.

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© Dafni Filippa

Filippa describes them as “melancholy”, which may seem odd at first, but when her design was exhibited, along with other award-winning and shortlisted works for the Architectural Drawing Prize, at the Sir John Soane Museum, she was looked at the pensively sad but seductive paintings of Joseph Gandy, Soane’s supremely talented draughtsman, or “imaginer,” and immediately felt an affinity. Famously, Gandy – an artist in his own right – painted Soane’s later projects as multi-tiered romantic ruins.

“I could see Gandy pushing his technique, portraying architecture changing, just as I try to do it in my own way today using a number of overlapping techniques to create . . . Bewitching, I suggest. “Drawings that explore what might be possible.”

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© Dafni Filippa

Sir John Soane’s museum, with its intricate layering and interweaving of unexpected models, paintings, objects, knick-knacks, domes and mirrors, walls opening into unexpected rooms and views beyond, was a perfect setting for Filippa’s award-winning drawing. Soane’s collection of models, drawings and paintings of Greek temples was also close to Filippa’s imagination. “Yes, somehow in the drawings you can find something from the Greek landscape – an architecture choreographed with nature – from ancient history and from my childhood. At school we used to go out and draw the landscape and these carefully placed buildings. At the Technical University of Munich where I studied for my bachelor’s degree in architecture, I learned to draw straight lines and to think rationally and technically.”

At Bartlett, Filippa’s work demonstrates that the two approaches to seeing and drawing coincide, transform and grow. She delights in hand-drawing and creating models just as she does dancing to her tune with digital visual programming languages ​​like Grasshopper – popular with architects. Together, these techniques, as proven by his competition for the architectural drawing prize, enabled him to imagine and give impressive form to the “Fluid Strata” which are at the heart of his Bartlett project “Deep Ground”. .

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© Dafni Filippa

Significantly, all of the winners of last year’s architectural design award were students. Architectural design is far, far from dead. Rather, it morphed on some level into something new and exploratory. In doing so, it can, like the work of Dafni Filippa, lead us into new ways of thinking about architecture, landscapes and the possibilities of architectural representation itself. Having completed her master’s degree, Filippa now plans to work for a well-established landscape architecture firm before setting up her own studio. Her participation in the architectural drawing award was, she says, a valuable agency along the way.

The Architectural Drawing Prize is co-organized by Make Architects, the Sir John Soane Museum and the World Architecture Festival and sponsored by Iris Ceremica Group with ArchDaily as lead media partner.

To participate in the 2022 architectural drawing prize, visit: https://worldarchitecturefestival.com/live/en/page/drawing-prize

The deadline is Friday, September 9, 2022