TS&JT Architecture & Design

Alternative Histories

Alternative Histories

Exhibitions, colloquia and publication curated by Jantje Engels & Marius Grootveld with Drawing Matter
London and Brussels

“Alternative Histories invited more than 80 contemporary practices in the UK and Europe to imagine an exchange with architects from the past. Each office was assigned a different drawing from the collection of Drawing Matter and the participating architects were tasked with making a model that not only responded to what they saw but envisioned an alternative future for the original drawing.”

We were assigned Eric Gunnar Asplund’s 1921 drawing of the gable elevation of Karl Johan School.  The potential symmetry of the façade is undermined by its off-centre presentation on the drawing sheet, and by its constructed context:  the profile of the hipped roofed building on the left, and Asplund’s asymmetric landscaping proposals.  Observations of this deliberately undermined classical symmetry, combined with the knowledge of the four other gable treatments Asplund designed for this project prompted thoughts of variation and iteration, and of the pediment itself of perhaps the most famously symmetrical building in the world :  Palladio’s Villa Almerico Capra (‘La Rotonda’). The nature of La Rotonda’s site, however, with its hill top location and different condition adjacent to each facade ensures that the experience of each of its four pedimented facades is very different.

Taking Asplund’s façade as the starting point for one façade of an imagined house on the edge of a town, our working model posits four further variations on Asplund’s themes constructed about a Palladian plan with its typical cruciform central hall.
Our model is a meditation between a situated Nordic classicism and the most influential and international domestic architecture of the last half millennium.

  • Photography © Timothy Smith & Jonathan Taylor LLP.

  • Photography © Timothy Smith & Jonathan Taylor LLP.

  • Photography © Timothy Smith & Jonathan Taylor LLP.

  • Photography © Timothy Smith & Jonathan Taylor LLP.

  • Photography © Timothy Smith & Jonathan Taylor LLP.

  • Photography © Timothy Smith & Jonathan Taylor LLP.