The Unconscious Voyage of a Pilgrim


Detail from Portal

digital playground



Spatial Division

Study on Entrance

Unconscious City and Apartment Block


The Unconscious Voyage of a Pilgrim

Subhan Manafzade

Bachelor of Architecture, Azerbaijan Architecture and Construction University, Year 2014


The drawings can be perceived as the unconscious voyage of a pilgrim through a series of paradoxical spatial relationships. Whilst these relationships can be mainly viewed through dreaming I was interested in juxtaposing or superimposing them with real life. I envision chaos as the main medium as I believe it effectively establishes tensions between elements. Consequently it creates a subtle equilibrium in a space where everything can be understood dynamic whilst behaving statically. I mainly consider myself as a pilgrim who submerges within the dimension emptiness where I am given the opportunity to design a surrounding which defies issues of context.


Who influences you graphically?

During my early years of university I started to analyse buildings through the sketches of architects, one of the most influential being Renzo Piano. Later I discovered different kinds of mediums such as collages, small scale models for experiments. However what truly had an impact both graphically and theoretically were the places where I spent my childhood and those that I visited throughout the course of my life.

I recall looking at abandoned elements, elements which are now only connected through memory. As a result I generally try to use the geometry of those elements as a connective agent which results in a chaotic but harmonic composition. Directors such as Abbas Kiarostami, Andrei Tarkovsky, David Lynch, Nuri Bilge Ceylan have also influenced me. The way they understand their surroundings and manage spatial relations has had a great impact.

What role does colour play in your sketches?

I generally prefer to work with graphite, monotone and pastel-cold colours because of their calm characteristic. Sometimes I use bright tones in order to establish contrast. Although my hometown is multi-coloured, I am not glued to a fixed palette.


To what extent are sketches the only way to portray this chaos you talk about?

Before addressing your question please allow me to express what chaos really means to me especially within the realms of Architecture and Society. Architecture is the transformation of society into built form. In Architecture I believe there is confusion between approaches – Architecture as Art based on poetry, light, shadow, aesthetic and Architecture through abstraction. I consider Architecture as the equilibrium between art and the application of theory. As this balance between these opposing factors is hard to achieve this results in the chaotic outburst of my sketches. This is also viable when analysing the last Biennale where Rem Koolhaas mentions the very contrast between the Vernacular and the modern international.  In my view contrast gives birth to chaos and when I attempt to find balance inside this chaos, space itself becomes through which we can dream. In conclusion my sketches are my way of ordering and expressing disorder. This in addition to short video allow me to understand the relationship between space and the elements that lie within. The medium of video moreover allows me to focus on a particular area. When someone appears on the camera little small scale representation of human space relation opens to me.

 How and when do you sketch? 

I do not sketch very often as I have to listen, read, observe and analyse in order to transform visual information onto paper. I mainly spend time alone as to not be distracted. When I start to draw I try to abstract myself into emptiness. Everything during sketching that comes to mind happens unconsciously as I believe this is information which has been stored instinctively. I know what I am doing, and how I am doing it but I do not know how that chaos is going to be reflected on the paper. That’s why I refer to the unconscious voyage of a pilgrim.

You seem to always explore your idea within three dimensional means of representation, what importance does the plan and section hold for you?

I generally use two dimensional drawings for experimentation whilst the final product is always explored in three dimensions.


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