Category: commentaries, rants & reflections

W. R. Lethaby: Architecture, Mysticism and Myth

W. R. Lethaby: Architecture, Mysticism and Myth

Hugh Strange

This is the first text in this series where Hugh Strange will be visiting key texts throughout W. R. Lethaby’s life. Here we start at the beginning with Architecture, Mysticism and Myth, first published in 1891. In many respects, and certainly in relation to his later output, William Richard Lethaby’s… Read More

Freddie Phillipson ‘The Ulysses Project’ – Review

Freddie Phillipson ‘The Ulysses Project’ – Review

Peter Carl

The exhibition of Freddie Phillipson’s drawings reconstructing the Dublin of James Joyce’s Ulysses opened on Bloomsday, helping to celebrate the centenary of the publication of the novel. The exhibition is essential viewing for anyone interested in how the European city and its architecture support a culture, and for anyone interested… Read More

Materia 2: Corrugated Iron

Materia 2: Corrugated Iron

Gordon Shrigley

This text is the second in a series by Gordon Shrigley titled ‘Materia’ in which the architect meditates on the physical and semiotic nature of a number of everyday construction products. Forthcoming texts will include thoughts on oxide-red paint, in-situ concrete, fired brick, plate glass and plastic. The first text… Read More

Sir Edwin Lutyens, by his Son

Sir Edwin Lutyens, by his Son

Robert Lutyens

We have republished below an extract from Robert Lutyens’ short biography of his father, published in 1942, while Robert was serving in the RAF and two years before Edwin died. The book itself is uncomfortable — an odd mixture of personal portrait, family background, and an attempt to at once… Read More

Roland Simounet: De La Verité en Architecture

Roland Simounet: De La Verité en Architecture

Pierre Riboulet

For an artist, ‘getting down to work’ is an instinct carried out spontaneously. […] The first outpouring in the pages of the sketchbook, when thought turns into action, at the meeting point between a project and a site, is so strong sometimes, so commanding, that one has the feeling that… Read More

Workshop: On Siza’s March ’77 Sketchbook

Workshop: On Siza’s March ’77 Sketchbook

Manuel Montenegro

This audio recording documents a workshop on Álvaro Siza’s Malagueira sketchbook delivered by Manuel Montenegro to Masters students from the School of Engineering and Architecture, Fribourg, and their tutors Patricia Guaita and Raffael Baur. The sketchbook is a record of Siza’s thoughts and responses over three days in 1977, on… Read More

Hélène Binet: The Outsider

Hélène Binet: The Outsider

Hélène Binet

a new way of looking at the world Working in my kitchen in the mornings of the 2020 spring.All is silent. Am I silent or is the whole world?In the darkness, you hear better, said Aristotle.In silence and in a closed environment, can you see better? Suddenly the walls of… Read More

The Evolving Role of Drawing

The Evolving Role of Drawing

Nicholas Olsberg

This text was first published in The Architectural Review in 2013. Carlo Scarpa, in a famously infamous gesture, opened all his courses in design at the University of Venice by demonstrating the art of sharpening a pencil. That was the precise point, he claimed, from which all architecture proceeds. And… Read More

‘For the curiosity of the article’: Excerpts from Architectural Drawing (1870)

‘For the curiosity of the article’: Excerpts from Architectural Drawing (1870)

William Burges

The following introductory text and drawings are reproduced from William Burges’ Architectural Drawing (1870). Each of the drawings has been chosen for its graphic interest or for the content of Burges’ commentary – which covers the problems of surveying buildings, the limits of nineteenth-century book printing, and his personal curiosity in… Read More

The Ruined Temple and Oberrealta Chapel

The Ruined Temple and Oberrealta Chapel

Zachary Torres

The plans of the Ruined Temple and Oberrealta Chapel were drawn nearly two hundred years apart, and yet they both speak to the Ruskian timelessness of the ruin. The temple and chapel are representative of their respective ages, with the former alluding to Romanticism’s longing for a pastoral past free… Read More

Materia: Render

Materia: Render

Gordon Shrigley

Render, a sticky viscous coloured slop traditionally applied by hand with a float, hawk and trowel to solid form, first as inchoate lumps, then smoothed down or mottled, to scatter particles of light in diffuse haphazard ways. Inaugurated as the application of mere ground to wall, mud render allowed a… Read More

The Iterative Power of Architecture’s Absence

The Iterative Power of Architecture’s Absence

Peter Sealy

In 1991, the Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron prepared a submission with the artist Remy Zaugg for the Berlin Morgen (‘Berlin Tomorrow’) exhibition organised by the Deutsches Architekturmuseum in Frankfurt, Germany. By surrounding Berlin’s Tiergarten with four new buildings, they proposed to restructure the park – then perceived as… Read More