The sketches are (pretty much) all on Instagram now at @sandysdrawingroom so I’m not posting them here so much. I like the immediacy of Instagram: draw them, photograph them post them. Quick. Here are some of the drawings from my 54th concertina sketchbook. Music at a fundraising dinner in the Grange Cricket Club.
Members of the Royal High Pipe Band.
Discussing design at a Planning Appeal Hearing.
Discussing design with partners and staff at HTA. We review our projects in every Monday afternoon. Over the course of a few weeks we try to get round them all.The other guy is on a train. I love drawing people on trains now.
The passengers are captivated by their phones and don’t seem to notice. I miss out everything except the person to try and draw them more accurately.
Ali Germain on his way to the HTA Christmas party in London.
Some training with the Scouts.
And a great night watching Deacon Blue’s 30th Anniversary Tour, 31 years after I last saw them. Loved it.
Drawings of people I know and people I don’t.
The London Underground is a pretty unpleasant place: too busy and too hot from from April to October. I avoid it when I can but you can’t use a Boris bike for every trip so to pass the time I’ve plucked up the courage to draw people i don’t know who’re sitting four feet away.
They get off, of course, so I’m quite often left with incomplete faces, but I quite like that anyway.
No negative reaction from any of the subjects so far.
Drawing people I know is more straightforward.
Innes waiting for Fraser to finish swimming.
Fraser & Innes watching football on Tv & Ipad.
Julie in Heathrow. Easier to draw people at events.
Watching the Proclaimers in London.
My mum, and others, celebrating 40 years since she became minister in Townhill Parish Church.
The traditional church hall cup of tea afterwards.
Peter Murray & Richard Rogers introducing the NLA’s exhibition on offsite manufacture in construction, which features a number of our projects.
The Cubs doing a craft project at their camp.
Kenneth Williamson guiding us through an illuminating talk on Edinburgh’s suburban railways. I live right on top of one, so i’m very interested.
At the RIBA Stirling Prize in the Roundhouse in Camden.
Fraser, Isla and Innes at the Armistice Memorial.
The kids watching the fireworks next door.
Listening to a moving talk from Hannah Graf, the UK’s highest ranking transgender army officer.
At Coram, for the launch of Cycle to Mipim 2019.
And finally, a small number of drawings focused on buildings, rather than people. This is Market Street with HTA Sketch Club.
At Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop, a really beautiful place.
Talton House in the Cotswolds with my mum, my three sisters and all our families. Busy, but 2018’s weather meant life was mostly lived outside in the garden.
Some time with the people I’ve known the longest.
Gardens were the theme of the week. Hidcote.
The kids drawing on the wall. That was allowed.
In Stratford-upon-Avon with the family. Isla says none of these people look anything like themselves.
In between times I did some travelling.
And we started a competition to design some accommodation for a school in Malawi. Without safe accommodation many of the kids, particularly the girls, don’t make it through school. Education is a route out of poverty so we’d like to help. Deadline mid October, winner goes to Malawi to help build it.
The Parthenon. We walked out onto the apartment balcony and there it was. The view of Europe’s most famous ruin wasn’t mentioned on Air B’n’B which made for a nice surprise.
Athens is a brilliant city. The government let villa owners develop their plots with six storey apartments and the resulting streets, built to a consistent height on lots of small land parcels, looks great I think.
To get up to the Acropolis, you queue for a ticket in the raging heat and chat to your fellow queue-ers, including sketcher Geoff. I’ve been randomly sketching for seven years and this is the first time I’d come across someone sketching me.
The Agora was the most interesting place I thought: wander through the ruins on paths once walked by Plato or Socrates.
Before Athens we stayed in Milies, on Pelion, for a wedding.
The wedding was as different as these things always are when you travel abroad for ritual you think you’ll recognise. A different culture with a different emphasis on a familiar ceremony. A lovely, friendly, welcoming experience. We love Europe, we thought.
The wedding wasn’t the only cultural shift we had to get used to: we’re too noisy at the pool…
…in the afternoon.
Here are some drawings mostly done whilst working.
Not all of them obviously, this is Innes waiting whilst Fraser played football with his Cubs.
But mostly: cycling reunion to celebrate being part of the HTA team that raised £725,000 for children’s charity Coram.
Lunch at the Scottish Property Awards with Dr John Boyle and Hazel Sharp Webb of Rettie. Rettie were award winners on the day.
Alan Caldwell, our client for Studio Dundee, sitting in the garden of the Whin House he built with Makar.
And making lunch for my family: very kind, and not an easy crowd to please. “I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – my Dad is the best human in the entire world” tweeted Alan’s daughter recently. Isla certainly reckons he does a great pasta sauce.
Actual work is often meetings rather than drinks receptions, lunches or hanging out in your client’s garden: London management meeting.
In Manchester. Popped by to visit our hard working team, and a huge site.
Sketching some ideas for transforming my local area: open spaces amazing, traffic bad.
Picking up the kids from the school on May the fourth.
The stylish hall in the school.
A forgotten holiday sketch, lock gates on Neptune’s Stair Case, Fort William.
Some sketches, in chronological order (unusually).Dragging the boys round the shops in the car, making last minute preparations for a holiday on the beautiful west coast of Scotland.
On the beach at Camusdarach making the first of many sand castles.
Over the sea to Skye. Skye is home to a disproportionate number of beautiful, subtle, architect designed homes.
These two are by the inspiring Dualchas.
An uplifting community centre with a nice cafe, a cracking view and great hall. By Will Tunell. I love what a community development trust can achieve: remove the profit motive and make something great.
The train journey from Mallaig to Fort William is amongst the most scenic in the world. And very popular with Harry Potter enthusiasts. We took the (cheaper) local service.
The highlight of the trip is the Glenfinan viaduct. It looks out towards the memorial to Bonnie Prince Charlie. Arrived 22nd June 1745. Made it to Derby. Routed 16th April 1746. Back to Europe 20th September 1746.
Eigg, Rhum and Isla in the same picture.
There’s some cracking domestic architecture on the mainland too.
I do work too (though sometimes this all looks like holiday). Back home and waiting my turn to talk at a Scottish Government seminar on Build to Rent.
My sister’s brilliant fundraising book sale in aid of Alzheimer’s Research UK. With excellent help she raised £1,700.
Back to the cold. Fraser and Isla sheltering from the elements at our local community football academy, Spartans.
Back in February: at the beautiful (and somewhat hidden) Ardclach Bell Tower. We stayed in Nairn. I loved running on the beach in the dark and the snow, then retreating back to this cosy flat to warm up.
Culloden Battlefield. The line of the Red Coats and the line of the Jacobites, in the snow. The bothy on the left was a field hospital, the battle was over in an hour. There’s not much in the sketch, but standing here and looking gave me the time to consider what had happened.
The aftermath: the impressive Fort George. The Victorian splendour of Nairn.
Back amongst the sculptural shapes of the city.Chatting to the architects of EH4 and listening to a theory about how the spaces we make and the patterns of ownership contributes to the loneliness that afflicts society.
At the Devil’s Cut to celebrate Craig Jone’s Rowley’s 50th. Craig is trying out fifty a wee bit before me. I’ll check how he gets on, if he doesn’t like it maybe I’ll not bother.
Some folk on the tube. I used to be shy about drawing people on the tube but now I realise we are so close together that everyone is pretending there is nobody else here.
A great ceilidh to end a lovely day celebrating Jennie & Steven’s wedding.
Sketching the three beautiful bridges while listening to three good speeches. Family weddings are so much easier than when I last turned up at them twenty five years ago. This is mostly because I’ve decided how many cheeks to kiss and nobody asks me if it will be my turn next.
At the lovely ceremony in Dalmeny Church. The four guys in front of me are Andreas, Ruari, Marc and Douglas: three boys and their dad. As the register was signed they played a brass medley that ranged from Wild Mountain Thyme to Star Wars. It was amusing for everyone and moving for some of us, a memory of my dad. A very special event.
That was undoubtedly the main event of the last wee while, but here are a few other sketches of recent events. Above is Fraser at World of Wings. We learnt about how the vulture is really a good thing, despite the reputation. He cleans up after animals have already died and gets disease out of the eco system. I liked the red tailed buzzard as he was happy to pose for a sketch.
Watching a film about the housing crisis: dispossession. We need more subsidised housing, across the country.
Trying to get planning to put new homes on brownfield land, but people make it difficult so don’t expect all our housing to come through this route.
It’s not easy. You might need a barrister. He turned up with his suitcase of papers. Another reminder of my late father.Duff House.
At a talk about the excellent work of architects Reiach & Hall.
Staying at the Culpeper. A London pub with five bedrooms.
A small businesses being creative and making the most of every inch of space in our cities. The opposite of bland hotels with long corridors and a smell concocted by an expert in user experience. Loved it.
The last drawing of the year, at Hugh & Murray’s house
The party is over there. I’m watching from the far side of the table.
The Kerrs watching Elizabeth II (trad).
Watching the panto-esque Arabian Nights at the Lyceum.
Fraser watching the TV football chat before going to watch the Pars beat Falkirk 2-0.
Watching Innes work through two days of Lego building.
In London, by the office, I choose to sit in the not so nice cafe in order to watch the diners in the nice one on the far side of the street.
Fiona and Paulina sleeping on the way to the HTA Design London party
Recovering the next day on the long trip home.
Earlier in the month I’d gone to Islay with the guys I began studying architecture with 30 years ago who are still architects.
We got thrown out of the pub and the police were called.
This sort of thing didn’t happen 30 years ago. That’s middle age for you.
By the time we flew home we knew just about everyone.
Recovering in London, trying to understand the detail of our new office. You don’t learn that much in 30 years.
It’s the time of year for shows: Fraser in his school Scots Night.
Brother in law and nephew excelling in panto.
A Christmas lunch or two, though this is the only one that made me cry. It raised money for charities So Precious and CHAS. Click on the links for more information on these excellent organisations.
It’s time for some time at home…
…chatting to friends…