Period: c19th

Shaping Landscape: Schinkel and Erratics

Shaping Landscape: Schinkel and Erratics

By Tom Cookson

It is the unique trait of the section drawing to fragment the singularity of built form, to allow the reading of a building as a series of individual pieces, and thereby delay our innate predilection – at least momentarily – for gestalt. Much like an erratic (in geology, an erratic is a material… Read More

Balzac architecte (1856)

Balzac architecte (1856)

By Leon Gozlan

No drawing, nor stone in the ground, remains of the dream house near Paris which the young novelist was never able to complete. By the time Balzac resold the whole property in 1840, with debts of 100,000 francs, it had collapsed back into the landscape, together with the terraced plantations… Read More

Adam Bede’s ‘Discourse on Building’ (1859)

Adam Bede’s ‘Discourse on Building’ (1859)

By George Eliot

This speech on building- and on architects- was made by Adam, to Mr Poyser, and comes in Chapter 49 of the novel. It was pointed out to us by the Eliot scholar, Dermot Coleman, who added that ‘it is generally a safe bet that views on such matters expressed by Adam… Read More

Sir John Soane’s Museum: Bound Legacy

Sir John Soane’s Museum: Bound Legacy

By Alexandra Politis

John Britton, a topographer and antiquarian by trade, began preparations to publish a guidebook to John Soane’s house-museum in 1825.  The earliest mention of such an endeavour appears in a letter to Soane dated 3 November, in which Britton outlines his desire to ‘produce a vol to surprise the public,… Read More

The Architect and the Matador

The Architect and the Matador

By Thomas Gould

On one sheet, a matador;on the other, a design,with measurements, for a cathedral pier.  What unites these drawingsis provenance:both, apparently, executedby the architectEugène Viollet-le-Ducin meetings.  As Viollet-le-Duc’s mind wanderedfrom doodle to design,my attention,beholding the drawings,is drawn between the two sheets; drawn, by the insistently connective impulseof looking,into associations.  Between architect… Read More

Viollet-le-Duc: Ruins in Reverse

Viollet-le-Duc: Ruins in Reverse

By Thomas Gould

In 1844, architect Eugéne Viollet-le-Duc won a competition to supervise the restoration of the Notre-Dame Cathedral.  Blasted and defaced during the Revolution, the condition of the great church testified less to the promises of an infant republic than to the bloody throes of its birth. For its restoration, the Comité des… Read More

The Meaning of Lines

The Meaning of Lines

By Laura Bonell and Daniel López-Dòriga

A series of seemingly abstract lines occupy the whole space of the paper. Each of them is formed by a thin black line that defines the geometry, accompanied by a thicker, semi-transparent brown line, which highlights it. Written annotations are placed on top, sometimes following the drawing’s wavy shape like… Read More

Anna Atkins: Laying Out the Blueprints

Anna Atkins: Laying Out the Blueprints

By Nicholas Herrmann

They began to bloom on websites a couple of years or so ago – stretching out on social media, unfurling in the arts sections. Pale alien shapes suspended in deep blue: something like lightning flattened in a flower press; a sleeping creature emerging from a cloud of coral; a spectral… Read More

Soane’s Temple Stye

Soane’s Temple Stye

By Rosie Ellison-Balaam

A temple for pigs? for swine? for hogs? Not a temple to worship them in, nor a temple for them to be sacrificed in. A temple for them to live in. These are not the pigs which invented their own form of latin, or those powerful Orwellian pigs, but normal… Read More

Drawing, Collaging, Rendering

Drawing, Collaging, Rendering

By Cameron Lintott

When the ‘hard-line drawing’ has become so synonymous with the image of the architect it is easy to forget that the convenience of the everyday pen is relatively recent. For most of the long history of the world’s second-oldest profession, pen, paint and ink were reserved for competition boards or… Read More

Collection of Sections

Collection of Sections

By Allen Keith Yee

The following drawings and commentaries have been excerpted from Visual Discoveries: A Collection of Sections (Oro Editions, 2020). The publication surveys the use of section drawings in the histories of architecture and other professions, from the 17th century to the present. More information on the book can be found here.… Read More

William Heath Robinson ‘Tightening the Green Belt’

William Heath Robinson ‘Tightening the Green Belt’

By Laura Freeman

On 22 March 1921, The Times reported on ‘the urgent need of a green belt being preserved round London.’ It was the first recorded use of the phrase. By the time William Heath Robinson came to makes sketches for ‘Tightening the Green Belt’ (c.1935–47), the urban ring o’ roses was familiar enough… Read More