Writer: Nicholas Olsberg

William Butterfield

William Butterfield

Nicholas Olsberg

Nothing Permitted But What Has Been Foreseen William Butterfield eschewed the illustrative perspective, preferring instead to develop even his studies as contract drawings that would serve three tasks: as presentations through which a project could be comprehended, as instructions from which his contractors and clients could not swerve, and as… Read More

Herbert Matter

Herbert Matter

Nicholas Olsberg

This is the work of the Swiss photographer and designer Herbert Matter, who after a short career in New York had moved to California in 1943 with his wife, the American painter and art critic Mercedes Carles. Both were friends and associates of Fernand Leger, with whom Herbert had been… Read More

Gordon Matta-Clark

Gordon Matta-Clark

Nicholas Olsberg

The Genesis of Architecture (and the Genetics of an Anarchitect) During a poetry reading at St Mark’s Church in the East Village of New York in 1973 Gordon Matta-Clark announced that he would draw on a roll of butcher paper an account of the history of architecture with a single… Read More

Louis Bricard

Louis Bricard

Nicholas Olsberg

The Dominican monastery in the centre of the city of Laval on the Loire was seized during the first year of the Revolution, while an expansion was in construction, and then acquired by the regional government as its seat of administration. In 1803 the medieval cloister and chapel were demolished… Read More

Some Thoughts on Sheds

Some Thoughts on Sheds

Nicholas Olsberg

In architectural terms I take ‘shed’ as a neutral word, meaning a structure at any scale open at one or two ends, devoted to storage, display or industrial activity, in which the roof providing shelter is its primary element – in effect a cover with minimum foundations and form: train… Read More

Richard J. Neutra: Visitor Center at Gettysburg National Park

Richard J. Neutra: Visitor Center at Gettysburg National Park

Nicholas Olsberg

In 1941, the US National Park Service acquired one of numerous versions of a 360-degree cyclorama, an in-the-round painting of the turning point in the great rebellion against the American union at Gettysburg in July 1863. First painted 20 years after the battle, the panels filled a drum 80 feet… Read More

The Stones of John Ruskin

The Stones of John Ruskin

Karen Eve Johnson, Nicholas Olsberg and John Ruskin

Ruminations on the collection of siliceous minerals What follows is a selection from the collection of minerals given to and arranged for St. David’s School, Reigate, by John Ruskin, who prepared a full printed Catalogue of the Collection of Siliceous Minerals, dated 1883. The collection is still largely intact. Stones… Read More

Future Scenarios, Part II

Future Scenarios, Part II

Niall Hobhouse and Nicholas Olsberg

FRAGMENTS: THE BUILDING SITE AND THE RUIN Louis-Jean Desprez turns to another legendary city of the ancient world — Alexander’s capital in Egypt — to advocate in a dream view of Alexandria in construction what great ambitions might be aroused in the new king of Sweden, after his predecessor, who… Read More

John Lautner: house and studio for Edgar Ewing

John Lautner: house and studio for Edgar Ewing

Nicholas Olsberg

On presenting himself as a potential apprentice at Taliesin to Frank Lloyd Wright Jr., Lautner heard no objection except the sly comment that he would be ‘too big for the rooms’. Everything about his approach to visualising a design speaks to the distance from which this towering figure saw the… Read More

Erik Gunnar Asplund: the father

Erik Gunnar Asplund: the father

Nicholas Olsberg

Erik Gunnar Asplund’s son Ingemar told me that their father would pick him and his brother Hans up on Sundays to take them to the summer house. (He was then living with a woman other than their mother.) Father would make a little conversation as they made their way to… Read More

The changing metropolis 1940s–1980s

The changing metropolis 1940s–1980s

Niall Hobhouse and Nicholas Olsberg

Part III: Monumentalism and motion 1940s –1980s A night rendering, making cinematic use of the dynamics of movement to suggest modernity, appears in the émigré architect Vassilieve’s ideal Manhattan, his animated drawing technique demonstrating how the varied shelves and openings of a setback megablock scheme bring energy and momentum, light… Read More

The changing metropolis 1815–1900

The changing metropolis 1815–1900

Niall Hobhouse and Nicholas Olsberg

Part I: Shifting scales and structures The transformation of the modern metropolis is not so much about expanding urban mats and changing topographic patterns as about how architects responded, structure by structure and type by type, to the shifting scales, capacities and ways of working that the city demanded of… Read More