Sunday, August 29, 2010

Architectural Influences

I mentioned in my last post that my grandfather was an influence in my love of things classical. I would be remiss if I didn't also mention the influence of my father, who was an architect by training, though not by profession.

One of my father's professors required students to turn in weekly index cards of different architectural styles. The top image is a 5" x 3.5" rendering of the Louvre. The bottom image is a detail of the center of the sketch, and measures approximately .75". This is the only such card of his that I have – I would dearly love to have seen the whole set!


  1. Too bad the rest of the set is missing, that would have been a very interesting (and dear) collection! What a great idea of the professors though -you learn nothing as well as when you have to sketch it!

  2. So true. Much can also be said for persistence and repetition. (Read Malcolm Gladwell's essay entitled "The 10,000-Hour Rule" in "Outliers.")

    There is a well known watercolor artist in Pittsburgh named Frank Webb who regularly has shows where he displays 50 to 60 exquisite paintings. Everyone marvels at his prodigious output, including me. I remarked on it once and he laughed, saying, "What they don't know is that I do several paintings every single night and throw away hundreds."

  3. What a precious and beautiful heirloom. I would make a high quality colour photocopy and frame it (not the original for archival concerns).

    I bemoan the loss of such traditional training. Everyone disparages period style, but few people realize the practise and training necessary to understand the precedents, balance, proportion, and use of classical detail in a new way to make a building. It is sad to know that there are few if any architects who can create wonderful neoclassical buildings such as Grand Central Station or the "cottages" of Newport.

    In interior design, none of the name designers can do a really pure, detailed, and authentic style period room. Divergent styles are assembled and it is called "eclectic." That is okay, but there is certainly a place for a pure interpretation of a specific style, and there are some such as myself, who prefer it.