The Berlage

Session Berlage Room 1

From Drawing to Text

Philippa Lewis

Samuel Douglas Hardy, £1000 All British House, 1932.

The book Stories from Architecture evolved from closely studying 25 architectural drawings from the several thousand in the Drawing Matter Archive in Somerset (UK)—the most recent from 1970 America, the oldest from Italy in 1780; some are anonymous works, others by architects famous or otherwise. Clearly, all were created with a purpose, but what were the intentions of the creators? What were the reactions of the onlookers—maybe clients, developers, builders or just idlers? What is the human backstory? What is their social context? Avenues for historical research are wonderfully varied and can throw up unexpectedly surprising information. Clearly, we can only surmise, but research + imagination can lead us to create a plausible history. This in turn allows us to see the work not merely as a representation of a building but as a space to be inhabited by people.

Studied history of architecture and the decorative arts; worked as a picture researcher and picture editor for wide range of publishers, on historical documentaries for TV, and compilations of historical photography and ephemera. Authored books include A Dictionary of Ornament (with Gillian Darley); Details, A Guide to House Design in Britain; Everything you can do in the Garden without actually Gardening and Everyman’s Castle, the Story of our Cottages, Country Houses, Terraces, Flats, Semis and Bungalows. Co-founder of and photographer for Edifice, a stock photo library of architecture specialising in the illustration building types, period style, material and detail; this was acquired by Historic England in 2015. For the last five years Contributor to the database of Drawing Matter Archive of Architectural Drawings, from which the drawings in Stories from Architecture were chosen.

The Berlage Sessions, a seven-part seminar series entitled “Architecture’s Transpositions,” examines the mediatic disciplinary transfers, from sixteenth-century abstracted geometries to twenty-first-century augmented realities. Topics will include the digitization of maps, the creation of digital replicas of landscapes, the modelling of multisensory extended reality experiences, the framing and photographing of buildings, and the imagined histories of architectural drawings and models. 

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