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Edinburgh College of Art students embrace architectural fantasy competition

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January 10 2014

Edinburgh College of Art students embrace architectural fantasy competition
Students at Edinburgh College of Art are being challenged by the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland to sketch out their architectural fantasies this weekend in a bid to rekindle the skills of fantasy drawing, known as esquisse, which was popular through the 1930s and 40s.

Around 30 students have stepped up to the plate to design a living space for a future Scotland suffering extreme climate change.
Students, who are being handed their brief today, have a mere 48 hours to hone their work so as to ensure an honest reflection of their immediate responses before submitting  their final work on Monday.

Jane Thomas RCAHMS curator of architectural collections said “When our Skills for the Future trainee archivists were updating the catalogue for this Collection, they came up with the idea to challenge some contemporary art college students, to see whether the skills are still alive and flourishing today.

“When these beautiful esquisses were produced, it was considered important to understand buildings of the past so that the design of new buildings could take account of what had gone before.

“But after the WWII, the influence of International Modernism grew, bringing a major shift in architectural education and rejecting the Beaux Arts emphasis on drawing skills and studying buildings of the past.

“This meant that the style of buildings that were built by architects trained in the new way was very different.”

The winning design will be chosen at the end of next week and will be exhibited by RCAHMS and accessioned into Canmore – Scotland’s national collection of buildings, archaeology and industry.


A gallery of archive images from the heyday of the esquisse is presented below:
A different perspective on a Fife coast fishing village
A different perspective on a Fife coast fishing village
A monumental submission seeks to overawe
A monumental submission seeks to overawe

A nostalgic interpretation of a hilltop chapel
A nostalgic interpretation of a hilltop chapel
A perilous 'retreat from civilization'
A perilous 'retreat from civilization'

A varied body of work includes this plan for a new mortuary chapel
A varied body of work includes this plan for a new mortuary chapel
An unavowedly modernist villa nestles in the woods
An unavowedly modernist villa nestles in the woods

Canvas print of a pastoral landscape
Canvas print of a pastoral landscape
Cross-section of a Museum of Marine Biology
Cross-section of a Museum of Marine Biology

Entrance to a zoological garden
Entrance to a zoological garden
Formal gardens
Formal gardens

Many esquisse's betray a sentimental affection for the past
Many esquisse's betray a sentimental affection for the past
Master plan image for a Museum of Marine Biology
Master plan image for a Museum of Marine Biology

Others, such as this esquisse for a chandelier, embrace the styles of the period
Others, such as this esquisse for a chandelier, embrace the styles of the period
Picturesque fishing villages are a common theme
Picturesque fishing villages are a common theme

Plans for an open-air theatre on Calton Hill
Plans for an open-air theatre on Calton Hill
Sketch proposals for a cafe/pub in one of Scotland's yet to be built New Towns
Sketch proposals for a cafe/pub in one of Scotland's yet to be built New Towns

Sketch proposals for an Italian baptistry
Sketch proposals for an Italian baptistry
The bold geometry of this piece was conceived as the floor of an ornamental pool
The bold geometry of this piece was conceived as the floor of an ornamental pool

The small chapel as viewed from below
The small chapel as viewed from below
This anglers hut resembles something from a fairytale
This anglers hut resembles something from a fairytale

This detailed plan was conceived in the spirit of Le Corbusier's Modulor
This detailed plan was conceived in the spirit of Le Corbusier's Modulor
This pyramidal gallery of modern art predates I.M. Pei's Louvre
This pyramidal gallery of modern art predates I.M. Pei's Louvre

This row of almshouses are conceived as low cost housing
This row of almshouses are conceived as low cost housing

2 Comments

hingwy
#1 Posted by hingwy on 10 Jan 2014 at 15:39 PM
These are excellent. When do these drawings date from?
Philip Graham
#2 Posted by Philip Graham on 16 Jan 2014 at 09:20 AM
The drawings are from the 1930s and 1940s - full details about each one are available in the RCAHMS online gallery http://canmore.rcahms.gov.uk/en/publication/?publication=blackandmclachlan

The winners of the student drawing competition have just been announced and you can view the shortlisted entries here http://www.rcahms.gov.uk/news/esquisse-winner-announced

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