Stories from Architecture

Stories from Architecture Behind the Lines at Drawing Matter

Paperback (14 Oct 2021)

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Publisher's Synopsis

Even when an architectural drawing does not show any human figures, we can imagine many different characters just off the page: architects, artists, onlookers, clients, builders, developers, philanthropists-working, observing, admiring, arguing. In Stories from Architecture, Philippa Lewis captures some of these personalities through reminiscences, anecdotes, conversations, letters, and monologues that collectively offer the imagined histories of twenty-five architectural drawings. Some of these untold stories are factual, like Frank Lloyd Wright's correspondence with a Wisconsin librarian regarding her $5,000 dream home, or letters written by the English architect John Nash to his irascible aristocratic client. Others recount a fictional, if credible, scenario by placing these drawings-and with them their characters-into their immediate social context. For instance, the dilemmas facing a Regency couple who are considering a move to a suburban villa; a request from the office of Richard Neutra for an assistant to measure Josef von Sternberg's Rolls-Royce of so that the director's beloved vehicle might fit into the garage being designed by his architect; a teenager dreaming of a life away from parental supervision by gazing at a gadget-filled bachelor pad in Playboy magazine; even a policeman recording the ground plans of the house of a murder scene. The drawings, reproduced in colour, are all sourced from the Drawing Matter collection in Somerset, UK, and are fascinating objects in themselves; but Lewis shifts our attention beyond the image to other possible histories that linger, invisible, beyond the page, and in the process animates not just a series of archival documents but the writing of architectural history.

Book information

ISBN: 9780262543026
Publisher: [The MIT Press]
Imprint: The MIT Press
Pub date:
DEWEY: 720
DEWEY edition: 23
Language: English
Number of pages: 213
Weight: 414g
Height: 155mm
Width: 232mm
Spine width: 17mm