The Curious, Formative Drawings of Frank Gehry, Zaha Hadid, and Other Renowned Architects

Slate’s design blog.
Aug. 19 2014 11:06 AM

The Curious, Formative Drawings of Frank Gehry, Zaha Hadid, and Other Renowned Architects

140819_EYE_09
Alex Wall, Office for Metropolitan Architecture, The Pleasure of Architecture, 1983. Poster based on competition drawings for Parc de la Villette, Paris, 1982–83.

Copyright Office for Metropolitan Architecture. Courtesy of the Alvin Boyarsky Archive.

The art of making beautiful architectural drawings by hand is a fading practice as new generations of architects shift to digital tools. Just as news emerged that an early Frank Gehry building is being turned into a Whole Foods supermarket, curators at the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum at Washington University in St. Louis are setting up an exhibition that offers a rare glimpse of early formative drawings and other handmade visuals from Frank Gehry, Zaha Hadid, Daniel Libeskind, Rem Koolhaas, and other distinguished architects.

140819_EYE_06
Daniel Libeskind, V – Horizontal, from the series Chamber Works: Architectural Meditations on Themes From Heraclitus, 1983.

Copyright Daniel Libeskind. Courtesy of the Alvin Boyarsky Archive.

Drawing Ambience: Alvin Boyarsky and the Architectural Association features drawings from the private collection of the late Alvin Boyarsky, longtime chairman of London’s Architectural Association, the U.K.’s oldest independent design school.

The show opens Sept. 12 and runs through Jan. 4 before traveling to the Rhode Island School of Design Museum next spring.

140819_EYE_05
Zaha Hadid, The World (89 Degrees), 1984. Arial view; compilation of projects to date. Print with hand-applied acrylic and wash on paper, 27 1/2 x 22 5/8".

Courtesy of Zaha Hadid Architects/Erik Gould/Alvin Boyarsky Archive

140819_EYE_03
Frank Gehry's pen-and-ink sketch for the Goldwyn-Hollywood Library, 1983.

Courtesy of Frank Gehry/Alvin Boyarsky Archive

Advertisement

Boyarsky was the influential head of the Architectural Association from 1971 until his death in 1990. “Boyarsky encouraged young architects to embrace the emerging global culture and probe contemporary issues while defining their own visual and spatial languages,” the curators write in a press release. “Central to this approach was Boyarsky’s conception of drawing, which he saw not only as a representational medium, but also a form of architectural inquiry unto itself.”

140819_EYE_01
Mary Miss, study for Untitled, Bedford Square, London, 1987.

Courtesy of the Alvin Boyarsky Archive

The show will include site plans, design proposals, unbuilt works, and investigative works on paper that the curators say reflect “the collapse of a singular canon of modern architecture and the blossoming of new and varied approaches that are often grouped under the diverse and varied phrase ‘postmodern architecture.’ ”

140819_EYE_10
Lebbeus Woods, Center for New Technology, Montage 1, 1985. Marker ink and technical pen and ink with graphite underdrawing; printed collage on Paus or Mylar mounted to paper board.

Courtesy of the Alvin Boyarsky Archive

The Architectural Association of the 1970s and ’80s “is often considered one of the last great centers of hand drawing to flourish before the rise of computer-aided modeling and draftsmanship,” they write. “Boyarsky’s collection of architectural drawings, culled from the work of students and practitioners who passed through the school, constitutes a visual record of an important transitional moment. At the same time, its emphasis on the tactile and exploratory foreshadows the renewed interest, in our own digital age, in links between the hand and the imagination.”

140819_EYE_02
Peter Wilson's color screen print plan for the unbuilt Paradise Bridge, 1986.

Courtesy of the Alvin Boyarsky Archive

TODAY IN SLATE

Frame Game

Hard Knocks

I was hit by a teacher in an East Texas public school. It taught me nothing.

There Are New Abuse Allegations Against Adrian Peterson

After This Merger, One Company Could Control One-Third of the Planet's Beer Sales

John Oliver Pleads for Scotland to Stay With the U.K.

If You’re Outraged by the NFL, Follow This Satirical Blowhard on Twitter

Jurisprudence

Don’t Expect Adrian Peterson to Go to Prison

In much of America, beating your kids is perfectly legal. 

The Juice

Ford’s Big Gamble

It’s completely transforming America’s best-selling vehicle.

I Tried to Write an Honest Profile of One of Bollywood’s Biggest Stars. It Didn’t Go Well.

Here’s Why College Women Don’t Take Rape Allegations to the Police

The XX Factor
Sept. 15 2014 1:51 PM Here’s Why College Women Don’t Take Rape Allegations to the Police
  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 15 2014 8:56 PM The Benghazi Whistleblower Who Might Have Revealed a Massive Scandal on his Poetry Blog
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 15 2014 7:27 PM Could IUDs Be the Next Great Weapon in the Battle Against Poverty?
  Life
Outward
Sept. 15 2014 4:38 PM What Is Straight Ice Cream?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 15 2014 3:31 PM My Year As an Abortion Doula
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Sept. 15 2014 11:38 AM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 4  A spoiler-filled discussion of "Listen."
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 15 2014 8:58 PM Lorde Does an Excellent Cover of Kanye West’s “Flashing Lights”
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 15 2014 4:49 PM Cheetah Robot Is Now Wireless and Gallivanting on MIT’s Campus
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 15 2014 11:00 AM The Comet and the Cosmic Beehive
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 15 2014 9:05 PM Giving Up on Goodell How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.