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Nowzar Hedayati

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Tchoban Foundation – Museum of Architectural Drawing

On April 2014, I visited the Tchoban Foundation in Berlin for the first time. Tchoban foundation is also known as the Museum of Architectural Drawing and it is located in the eastern part of Berlin on Christianstrasse.

The museum was designed by Russian-German architect, Sergei Tchoban and it was opened to the public in June of 2013. The purpose of the museum was to promote architectural drawings by hand. A form of art that can be listed as "the endangered species" these days.

The building is a 4-storey structure. 3-storeys are dedicated to the museum and the top floor is the office space for the foundation, which is covered with glass.

Perhaps the most striking architectural feature of this rather small museum is its façade design. Tchoban foundation's façade is the first noticeable element in this structure. The entire façade is detailed with depictions of enlarged portions of architectural sketches.

These architectural sketches have been carved as positive incisions onto a fireboard with a CNC cutter. Positive forms were later casted with liquid acrylic to create a negative on the façade pattern. Using this technique, the architect skillfully depicts the historic architectural drawings on the façade, which cannot be any more fitting to a building that is housing Architectural Drawing Museum in Berlin.

The technological development and the digitalization of our lives and the immense improvements in the Computer-Aided Design programs over the past years, have made it not only easier to draw on computer, but it is now necessary for architects and architectural offices to design with CAD programs.

No one can deny the improvements in our lives using computers; in this case designing on screen rather than a piece of paper. However, we should recognize, celebrate and preserve the art that was once part of any architectural office and any architect's life. Sergei Tchoban beautifully illustrates this in his design. Not only, the museum is filled with great master pieces of Architectural Drawings, not only it holds exhibitions showing the amazing hand drawn techniques by various architects to the visitors, but its façade also acts as a permanent exhibition to the passersby, reminding them of the importance of hand drawing skills in architecture, and how architecture can be art and science at the same time.

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