James Gowan

James Gowan, Dismantled Sketchbook, 1956, DM 2355.3 IN SET – Drawing Matter

James Gowan (1923–2015), Dismantled Sketchbook, 1956. Pencil and ink on wove paper, 138 × 335 mm.

To some extent this is the battle-ground of the British architectural avant-garde; the incompatibilities of graphics and architecture, the freedom that the former allows and the restrictions that the latter asserts. In recent years, the graphics have got smoother whilst the dialectic has remained largely unresolved. A conclusive project is yet to appear, one which allows the spectator to move close-to and savour the content. This suggests that, as in painting, the elementary aesthetics are inherently intractable and, without substantial adjustment, are likely to have an isolated rather than a general significance. 

– James Gowan


On the exhibition which features Gowan's East Hannigfield and Greenwich housing project, alongside two by Álvaro Siza, Housing and the City curated by Ellis Woodman and Manuel Montenegro; on the eponymous publication Siza Gowan; for a downloadable iBook of Gowan's sketchbooks; and for more on Gowan's sketchbooks and the Expandable House