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For nearly twenty years Edward Robbins, an anthropologist, has been studying and writing about the system of architectural education and practice in the United States and abroad. In this book he examines the social uses of architectural drawing: how drawing acts to direct both the conception and the production of architecture; how it helps architects set an agenda, define what is important about a design, and communicate with their colleagues and clients; and how it embodies claims about the architect's role, status, and authority.

The centerpiece of Robbins's provocative investigation consists of case study narratives based on interviews with nine architects, a developer-architect, and an architectural engineer. The narratives are illustrated by the architects' drawings from projects in Japan, England, Italy, Germany, Spain, Portugal, and the United States, from conception through realization. Included are orthographic and axonometric projections, perspectives, elevations, plans, sections, working drawings, sketches, schematics, construction, and finished drawings.

Drawings and interviews with:
Edward Cullinan, Spencer de Grey, Jorge Silvetti, Renzo Piano, Alvaro Siza, John Young, Itsuko Hasegawa, William Pedersen, Rafael Moneo, Rod Hackney, Peter Rice.