Monthly Archives: January 2014

Extract from Peter Cook’s essay ‘Looking and Drawing’.
see  ‘Drawing Architecture’, AD no.225, pp 80-87, edited by Neil Spiller, Wiley, (2013) for the full essay:

“How can people draw in the abstract? Even plotting a line on a scrap bit of paper
– ‘here’s the nearest place to buy potatoes’ – followed by a scribbled arrow,
a wobbly line to the supermarket door, is the product of memory and episode.
In the invention business, this involves a considerable scrambling of all sorts of memories and episodes allied to many, many, wish-dreams.
I knew how to keep going: attacking the awkward parts of a drawing in the morning and coasting along with the easy, repetitive parts in the evening.
Yes, the business of drawing became not only a case of interpreting one’s dreams, but of assembling the likely episodes in some king of predicable echelon. For me, the best drawings have always been those in which more than 60 per cent was, on the outset, merely a ‘sniff’ of what was to come. To have the whole thing plotted out beforehand and entirely predictable and therefore just a graphic exercise – this is infinitely boring. A drawing should be an investigative device, a voyage of discovery, a series of glances into the future. ‘Oh my God, was that what it was about?’ seems to be a reasonable conclusion.”

Chris Macdonald and Peter Salter ICI Trade Pavilion, at the Royal Agricultural Showground, Stoneleigh, England, 1983

images and text below from Lebbeus Woods blog

“Once upon a time, before computers came to be the pre-eminent architectural design tool, architects made drawings by hand. Instead of leaving it up to the computer’s software to make and assemble the lines defining contours and edges of forms, architects would draw line by line, gradually building up the drawing.”

and even if you do use the computer today, it is important to remember that you are drawing the building, and not the computer…

salter macdonald 01 salter macdonald 02 salter macdonald 03 salter macdonald 04


Below is an extract of Raimund Abraham’s article published in Design Quaterly 122, under the heading of “The Meaning of Place in Art and Architecture”, published in 1983.
After refuting the opposition of Art and Architecture, and introducing the idea of site using Charles Olson’s critical study of Melville’s Moby Dick, Abraham writes :

“I believe that where the sky and the earth collide, elements of the earth and the sky produce an intervention – the first architectural event. […]
Architectural space can only be understood as a polarity between physiological space and geometric space. Physiological space is limited to sensory experience; geometric space is the pure invention of our mind , reflecting upon the infinite.
I believe there is a very definite limit to geometry as the idealized language of architecture, and I believe that geometry alone can never produce an architectural idea. Because I think architecture has memory, as this memory is imprinted in the history of matter, geometry can only be a device to idealize it.
Geometry has no memory. Geometry can only produce an architectural idea and not an architectural event. ”

These words resonate with discussions we’ve had in the studio. I subsequently did a bit more research on the internet and found this brilliant article by Geoff Manaugh (from BLDBLG) on the Canadian Centre for Architecture website:
The article is titled ‘I’m exposing matter to the forces of time.’
There he talks about collisions and confrontations in architecture, not least in the process of building, and how Abraham’s architecture is ultimately poetic, imbued with myth and individuality.

raimund abraham house without rooms 02

‘House without Rooms’

church on the berlin wall 1

Church on the Berlin Wall

raimund abraham house without walls

‘House Without Rooms’

raimund abraham city of twofold vision

‘City of Twofold Vision’

raimund abraham universal city

‘Universal City’

The Wapping Project’s Final Act, thank you for thirteen brilliant years …

The Wapping Project closed on December 22nd, 2013, with the exhibition ‘the lady from the sea’. The photographic essay of Henrik Ibsen’s eponymous play was shot in Svalbard, Norway, North of the Arctic circle, by photographer Thomas Zanon-Larcher and directed by Jules Wright.
A filmic experience, of photographs alone, each of which contains the energy of the entire story, where the narrative is found within each and every frame and the succession only serves to reinforce the strength of the individual image.

the final act