Reinventions, 1953–1978

Le Courbusier, Chapel de Notre-Dame-du-Haut, 1950-51, DM 1349 IN SET
Le Corbusier (1887–1965), Chapel de Notre-Dame-du-Haut, Ronchamp, model of south wall, 1950 – 1951. Plaster, 216 × 127 × 38 mm.
Louis Kahn, Sketch for Mural, 1951-53, DM 1382 IN SET
Louis Kahn (1901–1974), Sketch for a mural, 1951 – 1953. Ink on paper, 298 × 400 mm.
Paul Rudolph, Model Flap House Grand Rapids, 1955, DM 2301 IN SET
Paul Rudolph (1918–1997), Model Flap House for Grand Rapids housing exhibition, 1955. Black and brown ink with pencil underdrawing, 654 × 1060 mm.
Yona Friedman, Ville spatiale concept model wood, 1958, DM 1471 IN SET
Yona Friedman (1923), Ville Spatiale concept model and structural study, 1958. Wood.
Constant, New Babylon, 1963, DM 1472.10 IN SET
Constant (1920–2005), New Babylon, 1963. Lithograph, 400 × 760 mm. © Estate of the artist.
Carlos Diniz, Weyerhaeuser Headquarters, 1969, DM 2045 IN SET
Carlos Diniz (1926–2001), Weyerhaeuser Headquarters, 1969. Black ink on trace, 735 × 1370 mm. Building design: SOM San Francisco (Edward C.Bassett, architect).
Branzi / Archizoom, Axonometric, Non Stop City, 1969, DM 2057.2 IN SET
Andrea Branzi (1938) and Archizoom (1966–1974), Axonometric for an element of No-Stop City, c. 1969. Ink on trace, 280 × 430 mm.
Superstudio, Istogrammi d'Architettura, 1969, DM 2075 IN SET
Superstudio (1966–1978), Istogrammi d'Architettura, 1969. India ink on tracing paper, 620 × 860 mm. © The architects.
Jean Aubert, L' Escargot et la Tortue, 1969, DM 1489 IN SET
Jean Aubert (1935), L' Escargot et la Tortue, 1969. Pen and ink on trace, 320 × 473 mm.
John Hejduk, Bye House study, c. 1973, DM 1801 IN SET
John Hejduk (1929–2000), Study for the 'Bye House', Ridgefield, Connecticut, c. 1973. Black, green, blue and red ink on letterhead, 210 × 270 mm. © Estate of the architect.
Buckminster Fuller, Geodesic Sphere study, 1975, DM 1022 IN SET
Richard Buckminster Fuller (1985–1983), Study Drawing for a Geodesic Sphere, 1975. Pen on paper, 610 × 480 mm.
Aldo Rossi, Urban Fragment, 1977, DM 1799 IN SET
Aldo Rossi (1931–1997), Urban Fragment, 1997. Ink, oil crayon and felt pen on paper, 300 × 290 mm.

We're talking about This was Tomorrow – a fantastical, sort of torrid, analogue struggle with ideas of the future.
– Robert Mull

They are drawings that are needed in a kind of environment around the project, around architectural thinking.
– Jan de Vylder

The exhibition presented a survey of architectural representations produced by many hands but within a precisely selected time-frame. At its heart is the story of a twenty five year experiment in formal invention, initiated by the late works of Le Corbusier and brought to a close by Rossi’s reclamation of the inherited grammar of the European City. Borrowed from the seminal exhibition staged at London’s Whitechapel Gallery in 1956 – but with a significant change of tense – its title emphatically announces its theme as one of lost innocence.

The exhibition forms part of Drawing Matter's broader enquiry into the theme of Reinventions in architecture. It is based on the proposition that changes in architectural thinking are gestated through drawing, certainly in the work of the European and American architects shown here. The period 1953–1978 describes the era of experiment that followed post-war reconstruction. It was characterised by feelings of optimism and dread, coloured by events such as the new Cold War, the race to the moon, the promise of new technologies, fermenting political and cultural revolutions. Looking at these drawings today, from our digitally enhanced perspective, it is interesting to observe how intimate the relations are between the drawings and the ideas they incite.

exhibition installation Basel

This Was Tomorrow: Reinventing Architecture 1953–1978 was shown at the Swiss Architecture Museum, Basel, from March to May 2016. Works were selected from the Drawing Matter collection and curated by Markus Lähteenmäki, Manuel Montenegro and Nicholas Olsberg. Associated events included a gallery discussion on the drawings which prompted contributions by Robert Mull, Hugh Strange, Jan de Vylder, Inge Vinck, Eva Branscombe, Tuomast Tolvonen, Renato Rizzi, Helen Mallinson, the exhibition curators and others. 

Exhibition reviews:

Architectural Review

RIBA Journal