Eye Line 2017 entries commended by the judges
Deimante Bazyte, Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts School of Architecture
Frigidarium: Lost Mariner Swimming Pool
De Chirico’s metaphysical ‘Enigma of the Hour’ painting was a thematic as well as a formal influence on Deimante Bazyte’s representation of her project, a dementia centre in Copenhagen with its therapy pool. The sensory detachment evidenced in De Chirico’s work translates beautifully into this context, the slow, even frozen movements of the residents captured at precisely ten past ten in the morning. Note: there is not one ripple on the pool.
The artistic veil layering the image reinforces that detachment, and alludes to dementia itself; the image having the feel of being ‘dead behind the eyes’. A cut-out drawing Bazyte submitted seemed more derivative, but as Amelia Hunter noted, ‘all show a breadth of architectural skills’.
But it was the sheer multitude of art references of the paintings that provided the project’s richness. Spiller saw not only De Chirico but Madelon Vriesendorp’s artistic contribution to Koolhaas’ ‘Delirious New York’- and even Seurat’s ‘The Bathers’: all relevant, all anaesthetised, all picking up on a very contemporary sense of soullessness.
Jonathan Shekon Chan, Hawkins\Brown
Leicester Mainline museum
A series of seven drawings carried out for Hawkins\Brown’s competition entry, these beguiling images by Jonathan Shekon Chan were as much about the inspiration found in the work of William Heath Robinson as they are about responding to the project brief.
Heath Robinson’s tongue-in-cheek humour is here transmuted to pick up on the spirit of the place, with Chan keen that ‘the drawings conveyed not just what the building would look like but what it would feel like to be at the museum’. Modelled in 3D, the hand-drawn component was actually scanned in, overlaid and applied digitally.
Conveying key spatial information, the digital process has not compromised the images’ sense of playfulness and fun. Youkhana thought that: ‘Sitting next to conventional drawings, these feel like statement pieces – it’s good to see a contemporary building represented in this way.’ Pearman lauded its ‘professional technique while being very client friendly’. Hunter agreed that it was a ‘good use of academically learned skills’, osmotically bringing them into the realm of practice.
Snežana Zlatković, University of Belgrade Faculty of Architecture
Millions of City Plans Transformation: Micro Macro Atmospheres Mapping
Produced as part of Zlatković’s PhD research, and initially described by Joseph Robson as resembling ‘the output of a broken printer’, this entry proved its worth by making it through to the end. The submission’s attendant explanation is not likely to help, either through translation or concept itself. The narrative around these digital transformations of city planning is dense and obfuscating, much like the images.
But there is a fizzing, electric energy to Snežana Zlatković’s monochrome and clashing colours that suggests method to the madness. Hunter spoke of ‘Gerhard Richter-like qualities’, whereas Youkhana was reminded of James Corner’s renderings of the American landscape. Pearson was keen to highlight the potentiality of the image rather than whether it realised space or not – something picked up on by Spiller, who called it ‘a type of glitch space’. ‘Everyone has been describing a project directly,’ said Pearson, ‘Zlatković has been more indeterminate, quite the opposite in fact – a field of pink noise.’ Even the circumspect Robson was won over by the techno-punk graphics, admitting the author might be on to something. ‘I agree we can’t not have it in,’ he concluded. ‘It’s mad – but it’s also exciting and inspiring.’
Robert Cox, ADAM Architecture
‘School’ at Winchester College Measured drawing
Robert Cox’s precedents, ADAM Architecture’s Robert Adam aside, are all long dead – but he will be of the same opinion as his boss: if you want to learn about architecture, you need to go back to Alberti and Palladio. Or possibly Wren, if some people’s attribution of Winchester’s 17th century School building is to be believed.
And to commune with the afterlife takes time and patience – Cox took three days to measure the building and then carried out a set of 1:20 and 1:5 site drawings before pulling them all together over the next two months to create the final A1 image. Cyberarchitect Spiller conceded it was a ‘very good measured drawing’, with Pearman remarking that ‘the trads never get a look in’, despite it being a significant sector.
The work did throw up issues about the nature of the measured drawing, however, and the lure of the quoin. If Cox had delineated David du Roi Aberdeen’s 1948 TUC building, would he have approached it differently, and would it have been singled out as a winner?
Christopher Haiman Leung, Yale University School of Architecture
Compact House, Decommission/ Recommission, Il Gesu Perspective
The view from the judges seemed to be that Yale University is producing students with a good range of skill sets, even if there is something decidedly ‘old school’ about this Ivy Leaguer’s output. Christopher Leung’s carefully delineated axonometric was beautiful to look at, but maybe only when counterpointed against his conceptual aerial panorama (p63), with its Hadid-like delicacy floating in an ethereal wash of blue.
But it was the third image, left, that really caught the attention: a seven-day perspectival study of Rome’s 1584 Il Gesù church. ‘The goal was to capture the multiple ways the architecture guides the eye,’ said Leung, but with its transposition of elevation onto nave perspective, side chapels cut away, the composition seems to have as much drama and repose as Giacomo Barozzi da Vignola’s and Giacomo Della Porta’s design.
Robson was struck by the confidence of the drawing, saying: ‘Circles are a horrible thing to draw in perspective as you have to break the rules to make them look right.’ The fine, light pencil work might enclose whole swathes of empty space, but Spiller still called the whole effect ‘Piranesian’.
Hamed Khosravi, Hamed Khosravi Studio,Delft, Netherlands
Archaeology of Inhabited Ruins, The Garden of Free Waters
Khosravi, a previous first prize winner of Eye Line, exhibits the kind of boldness in his imagery that can only be the preserve of a consummate practitioner. Both the images here were exhibited at the 2016 Venice Biennale and Lisbon Triennale; one deals with the idea of an inhabited ruin, the other with a complex water transference mechanism that becomes merged with the landscape in which it sits.
Spiller saw references to Rodrigo Perez de Arce’s work ‘but abstracted like Rossi with a bit of Hugh Ferriss thrown in for good measure’. Despite its being the antithesis of her and Pearson’s work, Youkhana appreciated the images’ stripped-back nature: ‘It’s good to see work that isn’t about overloading the image,’ she said, adding wryly: ‘Rich, coming from us.’
Pearman felt that, while the combined works weren’t as strong as the previous winning entry, their resoluteness merited commendation, saying: ‘This is the city stripped back to its barest forms.’
Read Jan-Carlos Kucharek's introduction to Eye Line 2017 here.
Hugh Pearman observes the latest trends in architectural drawing.
RIBAJ Eye Line is produced in association with AVR London