San Rocco Front Cover, 2010.

San Rocco: Toyo Ito Cover

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 the white ground has seeped in are the drawing’s lines; they are delineated by absence and the surface tension of the varnished ink that its shininess highlights. The image is alone on the page, almost filling it, but a comfortable margin is big enough to suggest a vast surrounding emptiness. There is no accompanying text – no name, no title and no caption, but to a certain kind of architect it is clear that the building that this figure represents is Toyo Ito’s U House, built in Tokyo next door to his own for his bereaved sister in 1976. – Helen Thomas

Schinkel, Construction for Entrance Facade, 1806.

Karl Friedrich Schinkel, Construction for Entrence Facade Tilebein, 1806, DM 1856.1 IN SET

In his designs for the Tilebein House, Schinkel makes considerable use of different colours corresponding to the nature of the materials depicted. To indicate iron he uses a darkish blue, for wood mostly yellow and, of course, when he wants to show cut masonry (he is building in brick), he shows it in red, orange or pink. So at first glance it seems that Schinkel uses colour as a painter would do, in an imitative way, following a long tradition, in the German-speaking world, of using imitative colours in architectural drawings. This is notable for the seventeenth century, when most of Europe, under the influence of Italian architectural draughtsmanship, was monochrome. If one looks closely, however, there is a distinction to be made between two types of colouring in this drawing that marks it clearly as the work of an architect and not a painter. – Basile Baudez

Debord, Guide psychogeographique de Paris, 1957.

Guy Debord, Guide Psychogeographique map, 1957, DM 2302 IN SET

The ‘Guide Psychogéographique’ selected a bird’s-eye view meticulously drawn by G. Peltier and published by Blondel la Rougery in 1951. Consciously modelled on the celebrated Turgot map of Paris (1739), it showed the city in perspective, at an angle roughly equal to the point of view established for the Carte de Tendre. This oblique view,  as opposed to the geometrical survey of the map, offered a sense of place, space, and buildings analogous to the aerial photograph, allowing for the viewer an imaginary entry into the urban fabric. Indeed, in the same year Debord will go so far as to credit Chombart with the perception that an urban neighbourhood is defined by more than the sum of its geographical and economic factors, but also ‘by the image that its inhabitants and those of other neighbourhoods have of it.’ Data of this kind, noted Debord, were ‘examples of a modern poetry capable of provoking sharp emotional reactions.’ – Anthony Vidler

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