The drawings in this portfolio were put together over a number of weeks under the theme of Reinventions in architecture. They illustrate the era of experimentation that followed post-war reconstruction and form part of selection for the This is Tomorrow exhibition.

OMA/Rem Koolhaas, Interior view of the Eurodisney Hotel, 1988, DM 1797 IN SET – Drawing Matter

Rem Koolhaas (*1944), Interior view of the EuroDisney Hotel, Marne-la-Vallée, France, 1988. Print on translucent paper, 532 × 665 mm.

Looking up toward a glass ceiling, the drawing shows the atrium of this luxury hotel – a ‘bridge’, which was to connect an island to a park creating a sequence of flowing, layered landscapes both inside and outside. Using sinuous forms, rising to a view of the sky, Koolhaas turns an atrium in a flat, former urban wasteland into a self-contained and playful mountain topography of its own.

Jacques Couëlle, Etude Intimiste: Study of the waterfall for the roofs of a villa, 1982, DM 2061.10 IN SET – Drawing Matter

Jacques Couëlle (1902–1996), Etude Intimiste: Study of the waterfall for the roofs of a villa, c. 1982. Pen and coloured ink on trace, 622 × 900 mm.

Call it ‘Potomania’ — plants and flowers above all … a column of water cascading freely on to a little pond…the column a staff both shining and singing.

— Jacques Couëlle

Cedric Price, Competition entry for Parc de la Villette, Paris, 1982 DM 1438 IN SET – Drawing Matter

Cedric Price (1934–2003), Competition entry for the Parc de la Villette, Paris, 1982 – 1983. Lithograph on paper with painted mylar overlay, 350 × 465 mm.

A lung for the city. A 24-hour workshop where all can extend their knowledge and delight in learning. From its start and throughout its construction and development, all must be welcomed to observe its continuous growth and change. No area should be hidden and no hour inappropriate. The opportunity to work as well as dream echoes the potential of the future.

People, service and activities are layered to enable a filigree of voluntary movement and self-choice activity. Not all areas are used, and not all the enclosure designated. The individual is in control and the park is the intelligent, friendly toy that invites investigation.

– Cedric Price in Cedric Price, 1984

Robert Venturi, Facade Study for Gordon Wu Hall, Butler College Princeton, 1981, DM 2041 IN SET – Drawing Matter

Robert Venturi (*1925), Facade Study for Gordon Wu Hall, Butler College, Princeton, 1981. Marker pen ink on trace, 304 × 645 mm.

Lying on the border between an elevation and a perspective, with a bold delineation of the facade and a vague evocation of the volume it bounds, this sketch seems to reflect — in its manner as in the form it explores — everything Venturi had to say about the weaving together of contradictions, the decisive and the uncertain, to achieve the ‘difficult whole’.

Michael Graves, Beach House, Loveday, New Jersey, 1979, DM 2294 IN SET – Drawing Matter

Michael Graves (1934–2015), Beach House, Loveday, New Jersey, 1979. Pen, ink and gouache on white trace, 682 × 682 mm.

I personally like to draw on translucent … tracing paper, which allows me to layer one drawing on top of another, building on what I’ve drawn before, and again, creating a personal, emotional connection with the work.
With both of these types of drawings [the referential sketch and the preparatory study], there is a certain joy in their creation, which comes from the interaction between the mind and the hand. Our physical and mental interactions with drawings are formative acts. In a handmade drawing, whether on an electronic tablet or on paper, there are intonations, traces of intentions and speculation. This is not unlike the way a musician might intone a note or how a riff in jazz would be understood subliminally and put a smile on your face.

– Michael Graves, ‘Architecture and the Lost Art of Drawing,’ New York Times, 2012

Aldo Rossi, Urban Fragment, 1977, DM 1799 IN SET – Drawing Matter

Aldo Rossi (1931–1997), Urban Fragment, 1977. Ink, oil crayon and felt pen on paper, 300 × 290 mm.

And these old drawings that now have their own history, an almost enforced form of composition. And yet I wonder at the fact that they are the origin or germ of these new architectural works, which others could regard as more professional. In actual fact, invention and imagination have deeper roots than the occasion. But the occasion, like the history of every project, is always different.

– Aldo Rossi

John Hejduk, Silent Witness, 1975, DM 2290 IN SET – Drawing Matter

John Hejduk (1929–2000), Silent Witness, 1975. Magic marker and watercolour on three boards, 315 × 647 mm.

I believe in books and the written word, therefore I fabricate works with the hope that they will be recorded in books. I am pragmatic and believe in keeping records. I believe to record is to bear witness.

— John Hejduk in Such Places as Memory, 1998

Buckminster Fuller, Geodesic Sphere study, 1975, DM 1022 IN SET – Drawing Matter

Richard Buckminster Fuller (1985–1983), Study Drawing for a Geodesic Sphere, 1975. Pen on paper, 610 × 480 mm.

Slenderness, lightness, and strength...

– R. Buckminster Fuller

Haus-Rücker-Co, Conference Room, Wind Cover, 1971, DM 1984 IN SET – Drawing Matter

Haus-Rücker-Co. (*1967), Drawing of the 'Conference Room' for the project 'Wind Cover' at Museum Haus Lange (Mies van der Rohe, 1930), 1971. Photomechanical print from a pencil and coloured pencil drawing, 300 × 400 mm.

This art collective – we might call them the ‘house thief company’ or ‘house drawing company’– took its name from a pun on the verb ‘to draw’ and an old slang word for ‘thief’. Their projects during this period involved interventions in which a house or building would be ‘stolen’ and adapted to radical new uses. The proposed occupation of Mies van der Rohe’s Haus Lange covered the building with a wind cover and reinstalled its rooms to house visionary functions anticipating new media technologies, including a conference room in which all communication would be through tubes – an ironic variation on Ugo La Pietra's exploration of the ambiguity of isolation and sociability.

Jirí Kolár, Crumplage (recto), 1971, DM 1489 IN SET – Drawing Matter

Jirí Kolár (1914–2002), Crumplage (recto), 1971. Newspaper and paste, 235 × 365 mm. © Estate of the artist.

Ji?í Kolá?, Crumplage (verso), 1971, DM 1849 IN SET – Drawing Matter

Jirí Kolár (1914–2002), Crumplage (verso), 1971. Newspaper and paste, 235 × 365 mm. © Estate of the artist.

Ugo la Pietra, Immersioni uomouovosfera, 1969-70, DM 2243.2 IN SET – Drawing Matter

Ugo La Pietra (*1938), Immersioni – Uomouovosfera, 1969 – 1970. Print on wove paper, 180 × 235 mm.

Isolation or participation? The immersions were allusions to two contrary attitudes ever present in the deportment of so many in this era: a readiness to join the currents of social change or a determination to isolate oneself, waiting for what might be next.

– Ugo La Pietra, 2015

Adolfo Natalini, Superstudio Sketchbook, New York, 1969, DM 2141 IN SET – Drawing Matter

Adolfo Natalini (*1941), Sketchbook 12, New York, p. 74, 1969 – 1969. Ink and pencil on paper, from a spiral -bound Canson sketchbook, unbound, 340 × 275 mm. © The artist.

My sketchbooks show a really typical project called the Continuous Monument. The Monument was a demonstration of the falsity and the absurdity of some of the theories that went on in that period. We started producing images of this sort of continuous monument, the continuous strip of urbanisation which was going around the world. And that was compared with the beautiful landscapes, the real cities and so on.

– Adolfo Natalini, 20 June 2015

Carlos Diniz, Weyerhaeuser Headquarters, 1969, DM 2045 IN SET – Drawing Matter

Carlos Diniz (1928–2001), Weyerhaeuser Headquarters, 1969. Black ink on trace, 735 × 1370 mm. © Estate of Carlos Diniz.

Building design: SOM San Francisco (Edward C.Bassett, architect)


The architects' guiding idea has been to create a building which would ‘literally tend to disappear – becoming one with the landscape’ … The dramatic architectural concept and primarily coniferous flora of the landscape were especially compatible to a crisp execution in ink line.

– Carlos Diniz

Jean Aubert, L' Escargot et la Tortue, 1969, DM 1489 IN SET – Drawing Matter

Jean Aubert (*1935), L' Escargot et la Tortue, 1969. Pen and ink on trace, 320 × 473 mm.

Andrea Branzi/ Archizoom, Axonometric for an element of No-Stop City, 1969, DM 2057.2 – Drawing Matter

Andrea Branzi (*1938) and Archizoom (1966–1974), Axonometric for an element of No-Stop City, c. 1969. Ink on trace, 280 × 430 mm.

Archizoom describe this ‘hypothetical theatre’ as part of a fluid and unstoppable culture, a non-stop metropolis re-imagined to fit the times, characterised by mobile theatres, unbound books, rooms without plan, unwritten music, … and cities made of voids.
For the first time the presentation technique has … become a specific technique that has no connection with the architectonic idiom. The drawing is no longer a scaled reduction of reality, but a finished product in itself which need not necessarily be put into effect. The impossibility of realization is accepted and becomes not a source of frustration, but one more degree of freedom.

— Andrea Branzi

Zund-up, Auto Expander, 1969, DM 2157.2 IN SET – Drawing Matter

Zünd-Up (*1967), The Great Vienna Auto Expander, 1969. Pencil and red ink on tracing paper, 300 × 490 mm.

An element in this Viennese collective’s proposal to extend the city into a newly ‘psycho-dynamic’ street and park system, this ‘Cortina-Bob-Bahn’ would have ornamented the gardens of the Prater with a drive-yourself roller-coaster tower some 1500 metres high.

eisenman_1802r_cs_p.1200.jpg – Drawing Matter

Peter Eisenman (*1932), House II, 1968. Ink on paper, 290 × 102 mm. © Estate of the Artist.

[W]hat is it to read a drawing? Traditionally, we read writing and see drawing. But if we transgress that custom, then we accrue to drawing the privilege of the autonomy of the reader. If we limited ourselves to seeing drawings as drawings then there would be no possibility of unhooking signs from objects …

– Peter Eisenman, 1983

Hans Hollein, City Communication Interchange, 1962, DM 2490.018 IN SET – Drawing Matter

Hans Hollein (1934–2014), Study for the City, Communication Interchange, 1962. Pencil and ink on paper, 329 × 418 mm. © Estate of the architect.

Limited and traditional definitions of architecture and its means have lost their validity. Today the environment as a whole is the goal of our activities — and all the media of its determination: TV or artificial climate, transportation or clothing, telecommunication or shelter.

The extension of the human sphere and the means of its determination go far beyond a built statement. Today everything becomes architecture. ‘Architecture’ is just one of many means, is just one possibility.

– Hans Hollein, ‘Everything is Architecture’, 1968

Walter Pichler, Study for underground city, 1960-64, DM 2327.19 IN SET – Drawing Matter

Walter Pichler (1936–2012), Study for an Underground City, 1960 – 1964. Pen and ink and photo collage on wove paper, 300 × 350 mm.

Architecture … is a brutal matter … it crushes those who cannot stand it.

– Walter Pichler in a manuscript statement, c. 1962

Constant, New Babylon, 1963, DM 1472.6 IN SET – Drawing Matter

Constant (Anton Nieuwenhuys) (1920–2005), New Babylon, 1963. Lithograph, 400 × 760 mm. © Estate of the artist.

Stones speak. Towns speak. Ruins and skylines: the story of the people.

– Constant, ‘Preamble to a New World’, New Babylon, 1963

Michael Webb, Spiral ramp, Sin Centre, 1961, DM 1101.2 IN SET – Drawing Matter

Michael Webb (*1937), Sin Centre, Leicester Square, London, wire frame axonometric, c. 1961. Black pen on mylar, 300 × 963 mm. © The architect.

[A]ll this can, and is meant to happen on the parking ramps of the Sin Centre: couples bring along their own mobile living room and view the action, neck or talk.

– Michael Webb

Friedman – Drawing Matter

Yona Friedman (*1923), Ville Spatiale concept model: hoop wire structural study, 1958 – 1959. Wire, 180 × 600 × 600 mm.

The ‘spatial city’, or rather its infrastructure, is the support for a great number of heterogeneous messages. The spatial city, in a way, is the ‘blank sheet of paper’ on which a work is drawn. And it is precisely this nature of the blank sheet of paper that allows nearly every composition in space, heterogenous or regular ones.

In drawings of the ‘spatial city’ the models are composed at random. Without insisting on details such as facades, disposition of furniture, or particular forms of the volumes enclosed in the infrastructure. I left these details to the inhabitants. The ‘spatial city’ is not a ‘frozen form’ but it is rather, in my drawings and models, an ‘instant’ image which arises out of a long and indefinite process. Only an instant later, this instant image would already be different.

– Yona Friedman in Pro Domo, 1997 and undated

Friedman – Drawing Matter

Yona Friedman (*1923), Ville Spatiale concept model: wooden structural study, 1958. Wood, 200 × 510 × 260 mm.

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

Paul Rudolph, Model Flap House Grand Rapids, 1955, DM 2300 IN SET – Drawing Matter

Paul Rudolph (1918–1997), Model Flap House for Grand Rapids housing exhibition, 1955. Black and brown ink with pencil underdrawing, 654 × 1060 mm.

Paul Rudolph, Model Flap House Grand Rapids, 1955, DM 2301 IN SET – Drawing Matter

Paul Rudolph (1918–1997), Model Flap House for Grand Rapids housing exhibition, 1955. Black and brown ink with pencil underdrawing, 654 × 1060 mm.

I try to find a graphic means of indicating what’s happening to the space. Space can move quickly or slowly. It can twist and turn. Space extends the dynamics of any building, because if the thrusting and counter-thrusting of the spaces aren’t balanced, then people feel unstable, the building doesn’t feel harmonious.

The usual definition of scale is the relationship of the human dimension to the environment. We talk about a building being ‘in scale’ or ‘out of scale’, which is really nonsense. Most buildings that really count have multiple scales. Buildings need to be understandable in their varying dimensions – sight, sound, smell, relationship to their environment, their spot on the globe, materials, climate, the mode of approaching, modes of movement.

Renderings are made primarily to clarify the building concept for the owner, but they also serve as a point of reference. They have a life of their own.

– Paul Rudolph

Le Corbusier, Design for Open Hand Monument with Modular Man, section, 1954, DM 1733 IN SET – Drawing Matter

Le Corbusier (1887–1965), Design for Open Hand Monument with Modular Man, section, c. 1954. Brown ink, pencil and green and yellow crayon on tracing paper, 280 × 400 mm.

The Open Hand will affirm that the second era of the machine-civilization, the era of harmony, has started.

– Le Corbusier

Louis Kahn, Sketch for Mural, 1951-53, DM 1382 IN SET – Drawing Matter

Louis Kahn (1901–1974), Sketch for a mural, 1951 – 1953. Ink on paper, 298 × 400 mm.

I gave myself an assignment: to draw a picture that demonstrates light. Now if you give yourself such an assignment, the first thing you do is escape somewhere, because it is impossible to do. You say the white piece of paper is the illustration; what else is there to do? But when I put a stroke of ink on the paper, I realised that the black was where the light was not, and then I could really make a drawing, because I could be discerning as to where the light was not, which was where I put the black. Then the picture became absolutely luminous.

— Louis Kahn

Le Corbusier, Chapel de Notre-Dame-du-Haut 2, 1950-51, DM 1349 IN SET – Drawing Matter

Le Corbusier (1887–1965), Chapel de Notre-Dame-du-Haut, Ronchamp, model of south wall, 1950 – 1951. Plaster, 216 × 127 × 38 mm.

I should like to give you the hatred of rendering … Architecture is in space, in extent, in depth, in height: it is volumes and circulation. Architecture is made inside one's head. The sheet of paper is useful only to fix the design, to transmit to one’s client and one's contractor.

— Le Corbusier