Behind the lines

Rex Savidge (1932), Entrance vestibule to civic building, Newcastle, 1957. Photomontage, ink and black and white photographs on Whatman 1956 paper, 585 × 800 mm. DMC 2907.

Imagining and making buildings is an amorphous, chaotic and indistinct process, yet one that some architects, and many architectural historians, like to present as tidy and orderly.

Architectural history likes to think that from a set of drawings one can piece together the story of a project – but the reality is that the story told will never be more than a partial, fragmentary truth.  The area of certainty around any drawing is rather small.  Such a faith in the ability of a drawing to document a project conceals how very limited and imperfect our knowledge of most projects, even the best documented, actually is.

Philippa Lewis’s stories brings home how great the area of uncertainty is, ignorant as we generally are of the wider motives, hopes and dreams that went into any individual drawing.

– Adrian Forty

For all of Philippa Lewis’s Behind the Lines, click here.

For a great review by Caroline Dionne for Montreal Architectural Review, read here.