Studio 8: Drawing Matter: New Beats, ca. 1953-1983

Studio brief

‘Drawing Matter: New Beats’ is a studio about adventure and imagination. It will focus on the study, interpretation, and mediation of drawings looking at the ferment of new ideas emerging as architects and artists began to question how space, design and art might be reconceived to respond to the conditions of a newly affluent society and the emergence of the electronic age, and how drawings played a role in all this. It looks at the great variety of artistic exploration at a time of new beats in life, society and arts, when the boundaries between the different disciplines in art and design were questioned and artists and architects were redefining their roles within the fields of art as well as in the wider society.

The studio focuses on examples of the great variety of reinvention and experiment that emerged in that creative context, ranging from the radical and satirical to the monumental, transcendental, rational and minimal seeking to raise questions on the relevance of these experiments in the contemporary context, suggesting that many of the issues raised still remain unresolved.

On the whole Studio 8 will take on questions of the status, authority and uses of drawings within different contexts, such as exhibitions, and collections, as well as in processes of design and artistic creation, and in particular on the role of drawing within artistic and design practices as the driver of them as poetic endeavours.

Studio 8 is connected to the wider family of activities that goes under the rubric ‘Drawing Matter,’ which include workshops, publications and exhibitions. The thematics of this year’s studio follows the contours of the next DM exhibition, which is to take place in spring 2016 at the Swiss Architecture Museum in Basel. This will be reflected in the course programme and will offer the students a view to the exhibition in the making.

Summer task:

Over the summer you might look at Deanna Petherbridge’s and John Berger’s books from the reading list and start thinking of how to address drawings. Sabine Breitwieser’s conversation with Walter Pichler acts as a good entry point to the historical contexts. Other suggested activities are to see Agnes Martin’s exhibition at Tate Modern or the exhibition ‘Everything is Architecture: Bau Magazine from the 60s and 70s’ at the ICA, and think about the relation between the different media used and the role of the drawing, the question what is architecture, what constitutes an artist?

Outline the first seven weeks of study

During the first semester, the studio will set out on a quest to take over and exploit the possibilities of drawings in various London collections, such as the V&A, the Courtauld, the Tate, and the RIBA.

The aim is to learn ways to look at, question, interpret and study drawings in multiple ways, looking at individual drawings as well as larger wholes from a curatorial point of view. Utilizing the different London collections, through discussions and making the selections for the visits, the studio will also as a group create an imagined shadow exhibition to the one taking place at the Swiss Architecture Museum in spring 2016.

Reading list

  1. Blau, Eve, Edward Kaufman, and Robin Evans, eds, Architecture and Its Image: Four Centuries of Architectural Representation : Works from the Collection of the Canadian Centre for Architecture (Montreal: Centre Canadien d'Architecture/Canadian Centre for Architecture, 1989)
  2. Belardi, Paolo, Why Architects Still Draw (Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press, 2014)
  3. Berger, John, Berger on Drawing (Cork: Occasional Press, 2005)
  4. Breitwieser, Sabine, 'A Conversation with Walter Pichler', in Pichler: Prototypen 1966-69 (Wien: Generali Foundation, 1998), pp. 27-34
  5. Evans, Robin, ‘Translations from Drawing to Building’, in Robin Evans, Translations from Drawing to Building and other Essays, AA Documents series: 2 (London: Architectural Association, 1997)
  6. Dan Graham, 'Homes for America', Arts, (Dec 1966-Jan 1967), pp. 20-21
  7. Hejduk, John, The Silent Witness and Other Poems (1980)
  8. Petherbridge, Deanna, The Primacy of Drawing: Histories and Theories of Practice (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2010)
  9. Rossi, Aldo, ‘Architecture for Museums’, in Aldo Rossi: Selected Writings and Projects (London: Architectural Design, 1983), pp. 15-26
  10. Rowe, Colin & Robert Slutzky, ‘Transparency: Literal and Phenomenal’, in Perspecta, 8 (1963), pp. 45-54
  11. Everything is Architecture: Bau Magazine from the 60s and 70s. At the ICA, 29 Jul - 27 Sep.
  12. Agnes Martin. At Tate Modern, 3 Jun – 11 Oct.
Sketch of city


Tutor Markus Lähteenmäki

Tutor biography


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