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Portraits of the profession - leading architects on show in Venice

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Norman Foster, Richard Rogers, Nicholas Grimshaw and Amanda Levete are among the leading architects whose portraits are appearing in a special exhibition at the Venice Biennale

Ed Anthony, a London-based artist and architectural modelmaker has created nine pencil-drawn portraits of familiar architects which will on show at the Venice Architectural Biennale.

The other architects depicted by the artist include: Graham Stirk, Ron Arad, Ivan Harbour, Renzo Piano and Sarah Wigglesworth.

Anthony, who created the drawings after spending time with the architects in their studios, said: ‘The portrait of each architect displays an intimacy rarely seen by the general public. I wanted to capture their raw characteristics by discarding dress and social surroundings and [by letting] the faces speak for themselves.’

To further underline the importance of drawing in architecture, each architect was asked to describe what drawing means to them, with Richard Rogers saying that drawing was one of three ways of communicating in architecture, the others being model-making and criticism. ‘Drawing is clearly the most direct,’ he said.

The exhibition is taking place at Palazzo Bembo, Venice, until 23 November 2014

The architects on drawing:

Richard Rogers
‘There are three ways to communicate; one is by drawing or sketching; one is by models and one is by criticism. Drawing is clearly the most direct.’

Graham Stirk
‘Drawing is part of our thought process. It is a means of communicating intellectual points of view and to get ideas across.’

Ivan Harbour
‘Some of the most enjoyable drawings are those used to give design instructions. Drawing is part of the process of finding a solution to a problem.

Norman Foster
‘Architecture is as much about the fine print as the headlines – the tactile details, which are literally close enough to touch. Sketching, for me, is a vital way of exploring these concerns.’

Nicholas Grimshaw
‘Drawing by hand has always been important to me as a way of describing a concept. First I walk up and down for a long time forming a concept in my head. Then, suddenly I am ready to get it down on paper – sometimes on only one sheet, usually using a ballpoint pen with a broad line.’

Sarah Wigglesworth
‘I can’t draw with a computer so hand drawing is the way I communicate visually. I think through the pencil.’

Amanda Levete
‘Drawing was significant then and it’s significant now – it is a way of thinking. Drawing over drawings is the best way to critique.’

Ron Arad
‘I always drew things, since I was a boy. My mother was a painter, but every time I did a drawing, she’d say, ‘Be an architect’, to make sure I didn’t start wanting to become an artist. My pencil was always my tool. A lifetime later, it’s still all about the pencil in the hand.’

Renzo Piano
‘You start by sketching, then you do drawing, then you make a model, and then you go to reality – you go to the site – and then you go back to drawing. You build up a kind of circularity between drawing and making and then back again.’



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