Category: commentaries, rants & reflections

Object of Desire — Haff Cross-Hatch Machine

Object of Desire — Haff Cross-Hatch Machine

Jeremy Peacock

Leaving the Architectural Association and starting at Ahrends Burton and Koralek (ABK) in 1978 was a complete revelation to me. Here, instead of the layers of smudged graphite used to illustrate abstract drawings—as promoted by Dalibor Vesely for instance—graphite powder from your rotary pencil sharpener was used to shade the… Read More

Watchful Solitude: John Hejduk and Venice

Watchful Solitude: John Hejduk and Venice

Marina Correia

The Thirteen Watchtowers of Cannaregio (with Waiting House) and House for the Inhabitant Who Refused to Participate were conceived as an urban ensemble and laid the foundation for the later phase of John Hejduk’s work, which he described as an ‘architecture of pessimism’, and encompasses his best-known projects, such as… Read More

Gavin Stamp: Interwar, British Architecture 1919-1939

Gavin Stamp: Interwar, British Architecture 1919-1939

Otto Saumarez Smith

When the architectural historian Nikolaus Pevsner was asked to draw up an inventory of interwar buildings that deserved to be placed on the Statutory List, the so-called ‘Pevsner 50’ that resulted was almost entirely composed of the whitest of white modernist buildings. Similarly, John Summerson argued that the only thing… Read More

Protected: Wolkenbügel: El Lissitzky as Architect

Protected: Wolkenbügel: El Lissitzky as Architect

Richard Anderson and Markus Lähteenmäki

There is no excerpt because this is a protected post.

Shatwell Farm: Covering over, bagging up, tying down

Shatwell Farm: Covering over, bagging up, tying down

Emily Priest

This text is the fourth in a series of studies of Shatwell Farm made by Emily Priest while staying on site in September 2023. Tarpaulin has its origins in 17th-century maritime communities. Sailors, who were nicknamed ‘tarpaulins’, used to sleep on decks under hard-wearing fabrics which were impregnated with tar- as a… Read More

Peter Wilson and Mark Dorrian in conversation – Part 1

Peter Wilson and Mark Dorrian in conversation – Part 1

Mark Dorrian and Peter Wilson

This is the first part of an edited transcript of a conversion held in Thurloe Sq, London, on 25 July 2020. Peter Wilson’s exhibition ‘Indian Summer and Thereafter’ had opened at Betts Project the previous evening. Mark Dorrian: What led you to architecture to begin with, Peter? You began studying… Read More

The Poetry of Concrete

The Poetry of Concrete

Lina Bo Bardi

The following text is reproduced from the catalogue to Lina Bo Bardi: The Poetry of Concrete, an exhibition of the architect’s drawings at the Tchoban Museum for Architectural Drawing, Berlin (1.06.2024 – 22.09.2024). Find more information, and purchase the catalogue, here. I was born in Rome, in Prati di Castello,… Read More

Hermann Czech: Approximate Line of Action

Hermann Czech: Approximate Line of Action

Mikael Bergquist

Hermann Czech: Ungefähre Hauptrichtung (Approximate Line of Action) is on show at Fanz-Josef-Kai 3, Vienna, from 16 March – 9 June, 2024. On 15 March 2024, an exhibition on the Austrian architect Hermann Czech’s work opened in Vienna at the exhibition space Franz-Josefs-Kai 3 (fJk3). It is the first retrospective… Read More

The Well-Constructed Joke: Comic Architecture

The Well-Constructed Joke: Comic Architecture

Holger Kleine

This article first appeared in German: ‘Der gut gebaute Witz’ in Der Architekt 4/21 ‘Effekt und Affekt, Psychologie in der Architektur’ (2021), 60-63. 18 September 2021 Kurt W. Forster writing to Holger Kleine (translated from German) ‘… reading your essay on Paul Rudolph’s Hastings Hall. A fabulous piece, itself a kind of… Read More

­­­Constant’s Ladders as Mythic Entity

­­­Constant’s Ladders as Mythic Entity

Alison Bartlett

The ladder, a seemingly unexceptional instrument within the array of futuristic and utopian architectural schemes, sits front and centre; the protagonist of not only this drawing but of Constant’s almost two-decade-long project, spanning 1956–1974, entitled ‘New Babylon’. Propped somewhat haphazardly against a series of horizontally-connected and vertically-angled planes, it exudes… Read More

Mies van der Rohe: Clarity as the Aim

Mies van der Rohe: Clarity as the Aim

Carlos Martí Arís

Mies’s work is an exemplary embodiment of the idea of architectural abstraction. His buildings are free of all the ‘figurative’ ingredients that characterise traditional architecture. They are made up of materials or constructive elements given cohesion and structure by a series of visual devices. But, although his language is so… Read More

Shatwell Farm: Appendages

Shatwell Farm: Appendages

Emily Priest

This text is the third in a series of studies of Shatwell Farm made by Emily Priest while staying on site in September last year. We regularly speak of reusing and refurbishing at the scale of a building but talk less about small gestures of fixing and repair. As secondary or even… Read More