Civil Engineering teaching unit: Docta Manus


Lecturer(s) :

Baur Raffael
Fernandez-Ordoñez Hernandez David Carlos
Fernández Ruiz Miguel
Guaita Patricia




Il n'est pas autorisé de se retirer de cette matière après le délai d'inscription.


L'Unité introduira le dessin comme l'outil clé de la communication entre ingénieurs et architectes et comme médiateur entre la construction et l'étudiant. Grâce au dessin, nous analyserons des projets structurels sélectionnés qui incarnent une interaction exemplaire entre l'espace et la structure.


Drawing constitutes a very powerful and critical tool of conceptual design. Drawing constructs thought, it acts as a communication interface between the work and the mind and between different disciplines; it is the most powerful language of communication in the working together between architects and engineers.

The UE Docta Manus Structures will introduce the basic drawing techniques (sketch, plan, section, elevation, axonometry, perspective). Based on these techniques, we will further investigate analytical drawing methods capable of exploring structural concepts and their architectural solutions.

Through hand drawing we will analyse selected projects that embody an exemplary interplay of architecture and engineering, as e.g. the work of Mies van der Rohe, Jean Prouvé, Luigi Nervi, Robert Maillard or Eugène Freyssinet. Our main focus lies on the load bearing structure and its tectonic and spatial articulation as common intersection between architecture and engineering. Through analysis, students will enter into dialogue with construction in a direct way. They will get a sense for the adequacy of tools and refinements of solutions. We will investigate proportion, material innovation and tectonic articulation in relation to the structural idea and become aware of the importance of detail. Analysis will take apart and make transparent the parameters and dependencies of the design process and will open the work into a condition of possibility. 

We will draw by hand, as this is the most direct and immediate way of becoming aware of technique in relation to intention (it forces to take decisions). Drawing by hand is a cognitive process where the dynamic relation between doing and thinking is essential. That is why `the more you draw, the more you see' and vice versa. The construction of points and lines on a sheet of paper will sensitize students to the notions of scale, size, proportion, transparency and composition. The learning hand will build up tacit knowledge.


Hand drawing, analysis, structures, tectonics, tacit knowledge.

Compétences requises

Concepts importants à maîtriser

- To understand and master the basic drawing techniques: sketch, plan, section, elevation, axonometry, perspective, structural sketch, structural plan.

- To understand the geometric logic of two-dimensional drafting planes and their implications in three-dimensional space;

- To analyse the structural and tectonic logic of a given project by means of an adequate analytical drawing method;

- To understand key structural concepts and their material solutions;

- To develop an understanding of material limits, material innovation and mounting principles;

- To  become aware of the enhanced potential of a project designed on the basis of a dialogue between architecture and engineering;

- To develop a coherent argument through drawing.




Acquis de formation

A la fin de ce cours l'étudiant doit être capable de:

Compétences transversales

Méthode d'enseignement

Hand-drawing, lectures, collaborative discussions; interdisciplinary teaching team

Travail attendu

Ongoing evaluation; students will be evaluated on the basis of the following criteria:


Méthode d'évaluation

Ongoing evaluation; students will be evaluated on the basis of the objectives stated in learning outcomes and their engagement (critical thinking, participation, initiative, collaboration).



Berger, J. (2008). Ways of Seeing. Penguin UK 

Cruz Prieto, Fabio. (1993)  De l'Observation.  Vina del mar: Inéditos

Dethier, J., & Walter, M. (1984). Images et imaginaires d'architecture: Dessin peinture photographie arts graphiques de théâtre cinéma en Europe aux XIXe et XXe siècles. Centre Georges Pompidou

Pérez-Gómez, A. & L. Pelletier. (2000). Architectural representation and the perspective hinge. Cambridge/London, MIT Press

Rice, Peter. (1994)  An Engineer Imagines. Artemis.

Spiro, A., & Ganzoni, D. (2013). The working drawing: The architect's tool. Park Books

Schön, D. A. (2017). The reflective practitioner: How professionals think in action. Routledge


Ressources en bibliothèque

Préparation pour

"Le contenu de cette fiche de cours est susceptible d'être modifié en raison du covid-19"

In the programs

    • Semester
    • Exam form
       During the semester
    • Credits
    • Subject examined
      Civil Engineering teaching unit: Docta Manus
    • Lecture
      2 Hour(s) per week x 14 weeks
    • Exercises
      2 Hour(s) per week x 14 weeks
    • Semester
    • Exam form
       During the semester
    • Credits
    • Subject examined
      Civil Engineering teaching unit: Docta Manus
    • Lecture
      2 Hour(s) per week x 14 weeks
    • Exercises
      2 Hour(s) per week x 14 weeks

Reference week

8-9  GRA332  
10-11  GRA332  
      Exercise, TP
      Project, other


  • Autumn semester
  • Winter sessions
  • Spring semester
  • Summer sessions
  • Lecture in French
  • Lecture in English
  • Lecture in German