François-Joseph Bélanger

Dance Dance Revolution

François Joseph Bélanger, Interior elevation for Maison Dervieux, 1790, DM 1333

François-Joseph Bélanger, Design for interior wall decoration with grotesque ornament, c. 1790. 

Few architects heeded Quatremère de Quincy’s advice. In late eighteenth-century Paris, arabesque decorations snaked through nearly all of the residences constructed in the city’s great building boom that took place from the end of the Seven Years’ War in 1763 to the start of the French Revolution in 1789. The cultural critic Louis Sébastien Mercier described enormous buildings emerging 'from the earth, as if by enchantment, and new neighborhoods are composed of nothing more than hôtels of the greatest magnificence'.[4] At the top of this ancien régime speculative building heap and the viral explosion of arabesque sat François-Joseph Bélanger. Known as the architecte des folies and the great rival to Alexandre Brongniart and Claude-Nicolas Ledoux, Bélanger made no bones about being the builder to the great, the powerful, and the gorgeous. – Iris Moon

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For other gems by Iris Moon see:  Archives, or Ardour and A Clean Mess

Zaha Hadid

Planetary Architecture, Van Rooy Gallery, Dec 81 – Jan 82

Zaha Hadid Planetary Architecture 1

A Christmas gift from Luce van Rooy to the Drawing Matter archive – two of six polaroids of the Planetary One installation.

Hadid’s exhibition Planetary Architecture was her first solo exhibition, and the ninth exhibition held at the van Rooy Gallery. As hinted in Cook’s review, this exhibition was where Hadid had tested many ideas about the intent of an exhibition for architectural practice. The exhibition itself became a mirror of the new spatial potential of architecture ... It is the distinctiveness understood between print media and exhibition venue that became the site of ‘work’ in this exhibition that had an impact on architectural thought. – Desley Luscombe

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For earlier articles on the impact of the van Rooy Gallery, see: Madelon Vriesendorp and Rem Koolhaas, and Madelon Vriesendorp, Three Works.

Or, for across the pond at the Max Protetch Gallery, see: Michael Graves.

Behind the Lines 8

Graveyard Memorials and Tombstones

Moos, Page from an album of designs for memorials and tombstones (10). 1811. DM 2453.10r IN SET

‘Number 20’ Moos, Page from an album of designs for graveyard memorials and tombstones, 1811. 

Werner had been silent. His venture into publishing poetry was making him daily poorer, so the idea of expense made him inwardly shudder. His soft voice shook slightly: ‘I think of Mutter as shy and retiring. She would have disliked such show, why don’t we choose one of these plain ones at the back of the album? Here, the right hand one on sheet number 20 [2453.10r] — just a plinth with a lidded funerary urn. We could run to a piece of black veined marble for the inscription. Have we decided what words we will use? I would be delighted to write a short poem…’

Dummkopf, that is a terrible idea — well, perhaps not the poem, but design is impossible. People would think Vater a skinflint,’ Friedrich almost shouted. ‘Also, a cross is obviously essential, after all Mutter went to the Johanneskirche every Sunday.’ – Philippa Lewis

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In case you missed one, Philippa is a genius at reconstructive method acting; the most innocuous looking architectural drawing springs to life: see Philippa Lewis.

Drawing Matter

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