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Tchoban Foundation exhibits contemporary architectural drawings made by celebrated architects
Jeremie Frank, The Macrophone, 1981. Technical pen and ink, airbrush and ink, collage and graphite underdrawing on paper board, 81 x 111,4 cm Collection of the Alvin Boyarsky Archive © Jeremie Frank.

BERLIN.- The exhibition Drawing Ambience: Alvin Boyarsky and the Architectural Association presents some 50 masterworks of contemporary architectural drawings made by celebrated architects and assembled by the long-term chairman of the Architectural Association School of Architecture (AA) in London, Alvin Boyarsky.

The exhibition has already been on view at the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum of Washington University in St. Louis, Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design in Providence, and at the Cooper Union in New York and is now on view in Berlin.

The second half of the 20th century was a period characterised by accelerated mobility and an international exchange of ideas. This Zeitgeist can be sensed in the presented works, most of which were made in the 1980s. This was a time during which the international orientation of the Architectural Association School of Architecture, accompanied by a growing interest in hand drawing, gave a fresh impetus to the search for a new architectural language.

The AA is justifiably considered to have been one of the most important melting pots of architectural talent and has produced many Stirling and Pritzker prize winners. The renowned alumni of the school include Rem Koolhaas, Zaha Hadid, Nigel Coates, David Chipperfield, Ben van Berkel, Will Alsop and other famous architects. Many graduates returned to the school later as teachers.

The diverse artistic stances, varied techniques, and geographic origins of these drawings and their connections to built architecture point to the significance of Alvin Boyarsky’s life-work. The collector was born in 1928 in Canada and studied architecture at the McGill University in Montreal. Following his first experiences of the profession, he completed the postgraduate programme at Cornell University and then taught at the University of Oregon, the Bartlett School of Architecture and the Architectural Association School of Architecture, London, which he later led from 1971 to 1990. Alvin Boyarsky considered that the most important task of a school of architecture was to provoke social criticism. Furthermore, he encouraged the AA’s international outlook and revolutionised the study programme with so-called ‘units’ which could be freely chosen. A great value was placed on architectural drawing.

The exhibition shows early works by architects whose names today read like a ‘Who’s who’ of contemporary architecture including Frank Gehry, Zaha Hadid, Daniel Libeskind, Rem Koolhaas and Bernard Tschumi. It gives us a view into their world of ideas realised in the form of drawings. For Alvin Boyarsky, architectural drawing was not only a means of representation or a presentation medium but also a form of architecture.
The original exhibition Drawing Ambience: Alvin Boyarsky and the Architectural Association was coproduced by the Kemper Art Museum of Washington University, St. Louis and the Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, Providence. It is curated by Jan Howard, the chief curator of the Rhode Island School of Design and Igor Marjanović, professor of architecture at Washington University, St. Louis. It is accompanied by an exhibition catalogue published by the organizing museums and distributed by the University of Chicago Press. The original exhibition was made possible with the support of, amongst other sources, the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts.

Curator: Nadejda Bartels, Museum for Architectural Drawing, Berlin

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