The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Library’s Drawings and Archives Collection at the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) in London houses one of the world’s preeminent collection of original architectural drawings, including almost one million sketches, preliminary designs and technical drawings. The collection is particularly strong in British architecture including all significant architects from the Renaissance to the present day, including the work of Indigo Jones, Sir Christopher Wren, and several generations of the Wyatt, Pugin, Scott and Waterhouse families. More recent collections include the surviving drawings of Edwin Lutyens, Ernö Goldfinger and Denys Lasdun as well as well-known architects from across history and across the globe.
Approached by the RIBA Library and Chief Curator & H.J. Heinz Curator of Drawings C.W. (Charles) Hind in late 2016, David M. Schwarz Architects was invited to submit one or more original renderings of our performing arts work for inclusion in an upcoming exhibition and ultimately the Library’s permanent collection. Humbled by this invitation, our firm decided it would be most befitting to donate our original hand-drawn pencil and watercolor rendering of our firm’s very first performing arts commission, the Nancy Lee and Perry R. Bass Performance Hall in Fort Worth, Texas that opened in 1998. Two hand-crafted renderings, an Exterior Elevation and Longitudinal Building Section, were produced during the design phases in 1994 and 1995 respectively. The elevation was gifted to our client, Performing Arts Fort Worth, and is housed at Bass Hall while the section has been prominently displayed at the reception area of our office for the last 30+ years.
“Without any doubt they are the finest works to join the collection in a long time.”
–C.W. (Charles) Hind, FSA | Chief Curator and H.J. Heinz Curator of Drawings, RIBA British Architectural Library
To paint a fuller picture of the building, so to speak, in the Library’s Collection, our firm created a new original rendering of the Orchestra Level Floor Plan and was commissioned by Performing Arts Fort Worth for a new Exterior Elevation representing the final design and as-built conditions. Our in-house architectural team, led by Associate Jeffrey Loman (artist of the original drawings in 1994/95) with assistance from Patrick Riordon and Andrew Packey, spent nearly 1,000 hours over two months drafting and painting the new works (measuring 40”x40” and 50”x34” respectively).The same technique was used to produce both these drawings: after tracing onto a thick paper, watercolor washes were applied or airbrushed to the drawing.
Upon completion, all three original drawings (section, plan and elevation) were crated and shipped to the V&A in July 2017 where they are being logged and placed into the permanent collection to be made available for generations of architects, historians, students and tourists alike to enjoy. An exhibit on the history of performing arts halls, at which these drawings and the original exterior elevation rendering residing at Bass Hall will be displayed alongside other historic treasures, is being planned by the RIBA Library for 2018.
“We unpacked the crate this morning and I am bowled over by the beauty of the draughtsmanship. Jeffrey Loman has done a magnificent job and I can see that I’ll be hauling out the drawings regularly to demonstrate that draughting skills of such a high order are still possible in this digital world. We are extremely grateful to you, to David and to the practice for such generosity in giving us the drawings. Without any doubt they are the finest works to join the collection in a long time.”
-C.W. (Charles) Hind, FSA
Chief Curator and H.J. Heinz Curator of Drawings, RIBA British Architectural Library
[Click through the gallery below to see the process of creating these one-of-a-kind water color renderings!]