Strangely tapering humanoids

And there I was thinking I ruled the roost when it came to sharing architectural images of days gone by. A link by thingsmagazine.net to nastybrutalistandshort caught my eye for another reason when I spotted a Gorden Cullen sketch taken from a book that currently resides on my bedside table*: Homes for Today and Tomorrow (Ministry of Housing, 1961)

Patterns of living

Which proved to be only the beginning of a collection of wonderful images from this period posted on Owen Hatherley’s site The Measures Taken. Other examples include the work of Cedric Price, Alison and Peter Smithson and the GLC.

His opening paragraph also provides a perfect connection with my recent entries about architectural figures (my emphasis).

An intriguing by-product of the 1960s’ architectural fetish for the ex nihilo was its proliferation of deeply peculiar drawings. A budding Piranesi or Chernikhov would have all manner of opportunity to sketch out their own particular vision of a collective future, and in so doing created something as jarring in its schematic, rectilinear design as Library Music LPs or Penguin Book covers, only less lauded, perhaps because of the realities that the plans would degenerate into. They would be mocked by writers like Jonathan Raban by the 70s as depictions ‘strangely tapering humanoids’ who couldn’t mess up the immaculate architecture and the geometric certainties of the town plans. Actually the images from this time veer from genuinely rather terrifying images of technocracy that evoke something to break the will of Number Six in The Prisoner, to really quite cute scribbles of happy proletarian families in their open-plan Parker Morris apartments.

Image and quote from The Measures Taken

(* intimate location details provided for texture only – relationship to bed irrelevant – I love architecture, but not that much)

Leave a Reply

Switch to our mobile site