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Architect Johanna Hurme: ‘Sketching helps you see the piece more clearly’

A series of sketches from a competition that just closed for the Greater Victoria Art Gallery by Johanna Hurme, co-founder of the Winnipeg-based firm 5468796 Architecture.

Johanna Hurme

"I do a lot of hand sketching. Somehow, there's a different touch altogether when you're doing it by hand," says Johanna Hurme, co-founder of the Winnipeg-based firm 5468796 Architecture, which has been racking up awards since launching in 2007.

"There's a sensibility that remains intact. Sometimes the computer is limiting, or takes the soul away from the drawings, especially in the design phase. It's almost the same as a writer: As you engage in the writing, it helps you clarify your thoughts. Sketching helps you see the piece more clearly. Even if I'm having a conversation with someone in the office and we're talking about a project, I'm drawing it at the same time. It helps us build the idea together. We do a lot of collaboration, and obviously drawing is a form of communication."

Hurme and her team are hoping to be selected to work on the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria (the competition recently closed, meaning now they are waiting to hear if they won). "These sketches are from our design process," she said in an e-mail.

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"The current gallery consists of an existing historic mansion that must be maintained, and a series of newer additions that were done over the past 40 to 50 years on a beautiful site full of mature Garry oaks and sequoia trees. The task was to envision how to add to and improve the gallery and give it a new image. Working on an art gallery is a dream for any architect."

The team's final submission "looks much different from any of [these] process images," Hurme says, "but they illustrate some of the key concepts that led to our final design."

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About the Author

Dave McGinn writes about fitness trends for the Life section and also reports for Globe Arts. Prior to joining the Globe, he was a freelance journalist, covering topics from trying to eat Michael Phelps' diet to why the Joker is the best villain in comics history. He's working on improving his 10k time. More

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