Writer: Helen Thomas

Yasmeen Lari: Drawn Closer

Yasmeen Lari: Drawn Closer

By Helen Thomas

In 2005, earthquakes in northern Pakistan killed 80,000 people. This was an eye-opener for me, and I was drawn to work with these remote, impoverished mountain communities, to help to rebuild their lives. Having retired from conventional architectural practice, and this was something I’d never done before. Unlike NGOs offering… Read More

Six Architects on their Dream Desks

Six Architects on their Dream Desks

By Roz Barr, Biba Dow, Elizabeth Hatz, Stephanie Macdonald, Helen Thomas and Emma Letizia Jones

Drawing Matter recently acquired this design for a table, below. Although the work’s last sale in 1972 attributed the drawing to Thomas Chippendale, we are (perhaps wishfully) hoping that it might be an architect’s own design for desk. The sheet set off a flurry of chatter about the platonic spaces… Read More

Lina Bo Bardi: Public Plaza and Museum of Art São Paolo

Lina Bo Bardi: Public Plaza and Museum of Art São Paolo

By Helen Thomas

This text is excerpted from Drawing Architecture (Phaidon, 2018) by Helen Thomas, which brings together over 250 drawings, with short narratives for each one about the circumstances in which they were made, the techniques used to produce them, and the realities that they were depicting.

BUCKMINSTER FULLER’S GEODESIC SPHERE

BUCKMINSTER FULLER’S GEODESIC SPHERE

By Helen Thomas

Frail and delicate, Richard Buckminster Fuller’s drawing of a geodesic sphere floats, without context, in the space of the paper it inhabits. More than the form it reveals, the net of thin, red lines expresses the presence of the space within it. A perspective effect emanates from the central point… Read More

Hugh Ferriss

Hugh Ferriss

By Helen Thomas

In 1916 a series of laws came into force in the city of New York called the Zoning Ordinance, the first of its kind in America, which regulated building use, area and height of new buildings.

The facade is the window to the soul of architecture: Venice Architecture Biennale, 2018

The facade is the window to the soul of architecture: Venice Architecture Biennale, 2018

By Adam Caruso and Helen Thomas

In response to the Biennale’s theme of Freespace, Caruso St John Architects put together an exhibition that celebrates the historical richness and social generosity of the façade. Whether a building is public or private, whatever its intended use, its façades have the responsibility to make a positive contribution to the public… Read More

Freestanding: Sigurd Lewerentz

Freestanding: Sigurd Lewerentz

By Helen Thomas

Inhabiting and transforming the lozenge-like space of a long room in the heart of the Central Pavilion’s labyrinth, an installation by Petra Gipp creates a series of veiled rooms, corners and framed views, making spaces both ordered and complex. Everything is luminous. Light drops drops down from the skylights opened… Read More

Architectural Ethnography: Japan Pavilion

Architectural Ethnography: Japan Pavilion

By Helen Thomas

Flooded with light cast across alluringly animated walls, the Japan Pavilion at the 16th International Architecture Biennale in Venice is lined with drawings gathered together under the name of Architectural Ethnography. Momoyo Kaijima of Atelier Bow Wow has been developing the thinking underlying this method of observing and recording the human environment since the… Read More

San Rocco

San Rocco

By Helen Thomas

This beautiful and black glossy image lies on top of the contrasting ground of a thick, white and matt-surfaced magazine binding. The substance of the drawing is not composed of lines but rather made of solid fields that recoil from each other, very neatly, to leave spaces. These slivers where… Read More

Thomas: Aitchison / Prendergast

Thomas: Aitchison / Prendergast

By Helen Thomas

This finely detailed watercolour drawing is a perfect miniature representation by George Aitchison of his proposal for the composition of a wall in the morning room of Lord Leconfield’s house in Chesterfield Gardens, London, 1881. The figures that define the room – the door and its frame, the fireplace and… Read More

The Black Drawings of Marie-José Van Hee

The Black Drawings of Marie-José Van Hee

By Helen Thomas

Zuidzande When they are confronted with the beginnings of a project, architects start the complex mining of their imaginations from different approaches, each one entirely personal. Their way of being and thinking, encapsulated in how they absorb and sort a million things at once, is not necessarily expressed in the… Read More

Barthélemy Enfantin

Barthélemy Enfantin

By Helen Thomas

This strange, flat drawing in watercolour, ink and pencil comprises a sheet of studies thought to be made by French economist and political theorist Barthélemy Prosper Enfantin in 1849. It depicts ideas for the organisation of a military complex, a cité militaire, possibly with Algeria in mind as a location. Enfantin published… Read More