Exhibition 23 March–14 April 2019

Robbrecht en Daem, image 08 crop

Robbrecht en Daem (*1975), On Corbusier's Chapel de Notre-Dame-du-Haut, Ronchamp: plaster model of the south wall, 1950, 2018. Plaster.

6 Cork Street, Mayfair

Open Saturdays and Sundays only 11am–6pm; private view, and opening colloquium, 23 March, 2pm

Curated by Jantje Engels and Marius Grootveld, in collaboration with Drawing Matter and the Architecture Foundation

Acknowledging that architecture is a corpus of inherited ideas, Alternative Histories invited more than 80 contemporary practices in the UK and Europe to imagine an exchange with architects from the past. Each office was assigned a different drawing from the collection of Drawing Matter – from the frontispiece of the abbé Laugier’s 1753 Essai sur l’architecture, a plan of the Villa Snellman, to studies for a theatre by Carlo Scarpa. The architects were then tasked with making a model that not only responded to what they saw, but envisioned an alternative future for the original drawing while adhering to the constraints of the project: although comprising different materials and scales, the models had to be transportable, and their footprints had to fit within the surface area of the historic drawings. Recently a large, white van crisscrossed the UK and the Continent to collect these enigmatic objects to be exhibited in London. Seen together, the models reveal a spectrum of interpretations of historical reference, insights into design methodology and the intertwined processes of thinking and representation.

At once an exhibition of new architecture in Europe and an enquiry into how it is now being made, Alternative Histories presents a shared past and present that is kaleidoscopic and undefinable, where there is always room for more and different points of reference, and expansion.

Click here to see a slide show of models ⟶

Click here to see the full list of participating architects and studios, and the models and drawings as they emerge ⟶


India sketchbook, 1975

Eric Parry, India, p. 10

This sketchbook results from a journey through west and northwest India focussed on the study of low-cost settlements in Bombay and Ahmedabad. It followed a seven-month period of research around nomadic environments in Iran and Kuwait ...

... And then this is Jaipur. A very beautiful moment just watching this group of women sleep on the floor in the station whilst waiting for our train. – Eric Parry

Click here to leaf through the pages of Eric's sketchbook as he narrates ⟶


Schinkel: 'A Stranger to His Own House'

Schinkel, House at Gabain (low res)

The Gabain house in Schinkel’s painting appears to be in a dormant state – no sign of life from the inside, while a ripe silence pervades the vegetation outside. The scene is under the spell of a melancholy farewell at the witching hour. The architect, excluded as he is from the property, beholds the mirage of a work as if he had fallen upon it during an absent-minded stroll ...  – Kurt Walter Forster, extracted from Schinkel: A Meander through his Life and Work

Click here to read the full chapter on 'Schinkel's House' ⟶


Call for Applications

Summer School 2018

This is the third iteration of our Summer School, which was first held in 2017. The programme has been widely praised by all students as providing unrivalled insight into architecture as a subject, and their likely life in university.

The Summer School is organised by the Royal Fine Art Commission Trust in association with Drawing Matter, Hauser & Wirth Somerset,  Kingston School of Art, Queens University Belfast and Bruton School for Girls with generous sponsorship from Eric Parry, Peter Wilson and Níall McLaughlin Architects, and individual scholarships funded by a growing list of architectural practices in the UK and Europe. Expert tuition will be led by Andrew Clancy, Professor of Architecture at Kingston, with a team of tutors and experts from each of the universities.

To apply ⟶

To sponsor a student ⟶

Drawing Matter

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