Stories from Architecture: Behind the Lines at Drawing Matter

MIT. Oct. 2021. 216p. ISBN 9780262543026. pap. $34.95. ARCH
At first glance an unassuming volume on architectural drawings from Lewis (House: British Domestic Architecture), this title is a thought-provoking and entertaining read. The 25 chapters are charming, often wryly humorous vignettes that speculate on the stories behind drawings from the 18th–20th centuries. Lewis describes imagined conversations and stories based on what is known about the drawings, which are all from the collections of the Drawing Matter archive in England. Some of the vignettes first appeared in her “Behind the Lines” series on the Drawing Matter Trust’s website, which supports a range of projects exploring architectural drawings in the archive and beyond. Endnotes for each chapter provide factual information about the architects, artists, and subjects. Chapters are illustrated with color images of the drawings that inspired the text; the notes are illustrated with thumbnails of related images in black and white.
VERDICT More than simply an amusing look at the possible stories behind architectural drawings. Although it may take more than a cursory glance to recognize the fictional approach in the texts, this book encourages readers to visualize the larger and more nuanced context for a genre of drawing often seen as purely documentary.
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