Architecture of Imagination

Architectural digest
Proposed Stadium, Olympics 2000, Istanbul

Proposed Stadium, Olympics 2000, Istanbul. (1994) T.W. Schaller. Architects: Stang and Newdow, Atlanta. Watercolor, 61cm 92cm A careful modeling of light and value ranges by washes of spectral color was employed to heighten the sense of information and drama in this composition of large-scale structures.

U.S.Ambassador's Residence, Kuwait

Proposed U.S.Ambassador's Residence, Kuwait. (1994) T.W. Schaller. Architects: RTKL/Washington. Watercolor 93.6cm 100.2cm Issues of climate and atmosphere most clearly informed both design and graphic representational decisions.

Pattana Building, Bangkok

Pattana Building, Bangkok. (1994) T.W. Schaller. Architects: Pei Cobb Freed & Partners. Watercolor, 70.2cm 93.6cm This vignette view of a mid design-stage proposal helped designers study the sometimes difficult interface of tower, base, and groundplane.

Barucb College, New York City, sectional perspective view

Barucb College, New York City, sectional perspective view. (1996) T.W. Schaller. Architects: Kohn Pedersen Fox. Watercolor, 96.3cm 102cm This rather academic choice of view seemed the most propitious in an attempt to graphically explain the large and interconnected system of atria as well as to address concerns of function and scale.

Architectural Fantasy

Architectural Fantasy (CA.17411744) Giovanni Battista Piranesi. Pen, brown ink, and brown wash, 32.9cm 49.1cm; Courtesy of The Pierpont Morgan Library, New York; Gift of Janos Scholz, 1974.27 In contrast to his more polished print work, Piranesi's sketches on paperlike this example from his stay in Romereveal his artistic temperament at its most exuberant and inventive.

Prisoners on a Projecting Platform

Prisoners on a Projecting Platform, (Plate X of Second Edition from the Carceri). (CA. 1760) Giovanni Battista Piranesi. Engraving, sulphur tint or open bite, burnishing; Rosenwald Collection, copyright 1996 Board of Trustees, National Gallery of Art, Washington, published 18001809. Despite the depiction of overpowering structural elements and apparent evidence of instruments of torture, it is the sense of atmosphere that is the real focus of this work. In addition, the human figure takes on added compositional importance which is equal to, or even symbolic of, the dissolving architectural forms.


Monument. (1994) Artist/Designer: Sergei Tchoban. Watercolor, pen, and ink, 35.8cm 35.8cm Hamburg-based Tchoban is unsurpassed at the creation of deeply affecting and dramatic compositions of form and atmosphere such as this structure reminiscent of Melnikov and Russian design aesthetic from the 1920s and 30s. The hyperbolic and highly contrasting points of view successfully exploit the grand and celebratory nature of the edifice.


Fonthill Analog. (19941995) Dan Willis. Architect, artist, and educator, Willis created this spectacular triptych over the course of many months as an investigation of and tribute to the actual building it representsHenry Mercer's forty-four room "Fonthill" built in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, between 1908 and 1910. Mercer designed the house, "room by room, from the interior; the exterior not being considered until all rooms had been imagined . . . " A collector, Mercer fabricated much of the unique home (walls, floors, roof, even some furniture!) from site-cast concrete for protection. Willis' drawing is as unusual and organic as is its subject. It is organized, like the house, about various "spatial knots" and it rejects the usual conventions of architectural graphic depiction as far too limiting for this unusual circumstance.

Ideal English House

Ideal English House. (1986) T.W. Schaller. Watercolor, 56cm 66cm A partial, more intimate view of this composition of imaginary "Lutyenesque" elements was chosen to most effectively include and involve the viewer in the spatial experience.

The Course of Empire: The Consummation of Empire

The Course of Empire: The Consummation of Empire. (18351836) Thomas Cole. Oil on canvas, 130.2cm 190.3cm; Courtesy of collection of the New York Historical Society. Cole's five-part secular allegorical series, Course of Empire, was an attempt to illustrate "the mutation of all earthly things" in a group of paintings of the same locale over time, the validity of the so-called "cyclical theory" of history, which stated that all things, all nations, pass through natural periods of growth and decay. The third painting, "Consummation,"depicts an imagined society in a post-Arcadian state of wealth and powerpride before the fall.


The Course of Empire: The Destruction of Empire. (1836) Thomas Cole. Oil on canvas, 84.5cm x 160.6cm; Courtesy of collection of the New York Historical Society. The fourth painting in Cole's series. Destruction, illustrates a prototypical society in a state of violent decline. While biblical reference are implicit, none is stated; thus enforces the "natural," universal aspect of the cyclical theory. This astounding image, however, quite possibly informed as well by the work of John Martin, would be unthinkable if not for the influence of Piranesi.

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