Monday, September 28, 2009

"It is the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting."

My journey to some of the greatest architectural wonders of the world was similar to the one undertaken by Paulo Coelho's protagonist in The Alchemist. Sitting in summery Princeton I look back on this summer and I know that I discovered as much about myself as I have learned about architecture.

"He still had a long way to go... and some day this morning would just be a memory."

Friday, September 4, 2009

24"x36" ~ watercolor on paper

From a seat in the ruins of an amphitheater, I sat and watched the breathtaking sunset light up the Athenian Acropolis.

Drawing this took me back to the A'Level Art days, complete with the standard 300-rupee Winsor and Newton paper, watercolor box, wooden board and masking tape.

This was also a way to make an architecture drawing project more interesting because people are important and without them architecture is just background stuff. Here they are one and the same thing. Some detail photographs follow.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Carthusian Monasteries ~ 40"x54" ~ acrylics & ink on paper

My search for the right Fermata del Autobus was successful.

The bus I took left a Florence full of tourists wearing shorts and sneakers, carrying maps, and eating ice cream on sunny pavements. In thirty minutes I arrived at the Certosa del Galluzzo (also called the Certosa di Val d'Ema), a peaceful place made more serene by the fact that no one here spoke English.

I have written more about the monasteries here.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Hagia Sophia ~ 18"x24" ~ watercolor on paper

Sunday, August 30, 2009

18"x24" ~ watercolor on paper

"Architecture is the learned game, correct and magnificent, of forms assembled in the light" (Le Corbusier).

Almost as a response to the last post with the Parthenon ceiling, here is a drawing of Henri Labrouste's ceiling for the Bibliotheque Nationale (Richelieu) in Paris which was built in the mid-nineteenth century.

This library was just minutes from where I interned for two months this summer, and I went over a few times during lunch break.
Pantheon ~ charcoal on paper ~ 25"x45"

"Space and light and order. Those are the things that men need just as much as they need bread or a place to sleep."

I was struck in Rome especially by the sheer magnitude and beauty of art that religion has inspired and funded. If religion is a human need then so is art. Le Corbusier's quote above reflects that as well.

In this drawing I wanted to capture how the light strikes the interior of the Pantheon. It started off very painstakingly, and then stayed on the wall, incomplete, for several days. Yesterday I just played some loud music and worked on it with a lot of post-sehri and post-iftar energy to finish is ASAP, so I could move ahead.

When I was done my hands and feet, and the entire white-tiled floor, were covered in black charcoal.

Detail shots

Saturday, August 29, 2009

8.5"x11" ~ pencil on paper

There are certain monuments that are overwhelmingly awe-inspiring because they are not only formally beautiful in the semi-ruined state in which they exist but also embody a strong sense of symbolic and historic meaning. The Colosseum is one of them.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

2009: In a small street in Berlin, I had arrived at the AEG Turbine Factory exactly on time, but a hundred years too late.

I have written about the timeless beauty and architectural influence of Peter Behrens's architecture of 1909. Now that Modernism with all its idealism has been put on the shelf alongside other architectural "styles," I wanted to revisit the columns of the building in this drawing, zooming in to the point that the they are almost abstracted.

In Berlin, no one I asked knew about this building. And few people I know would understand why I went all the way to Berlin just to see these columns.

40"x54" ~ pastel on paper


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

8.5"x11" ~ watercolor on paper

Monday, August 24, 2009

8.5"x11" ~ pastels on paper

Sunday, August 23, 2009

And then I took the Eurostar to Rome, a city founded by Romulus and Remus in 753 BC, territory of rulers such as Julius Caesar and Mussolini and Gods such as Bacchus and Jesus Christ, the setting for epic drama of love and betrayal, a founding city of the Western civilization and a Mecca of modern-day Christianity.