Intermediate 2 Pierre-François-Léonard Fontaine (1762-1853), Drawing model for a Music Room, c 1803, pen, ink and watercolour on paper, 120 × 185 × 144mm, Drawing Matter Collections


Ana Araujo

A fresh alternative to the intellectual and formal mannerism associated with architectural drawings in the West since the Renaissance, Pierre-François-Léonard Fontaine's Drawing Model for a Music Room explores a simple and direct way of communicating a spatial proposition. To access his vision we need not be familiar with the conventions of technical drawings, nor must we know how to read a plan or a section. We do not need to be initiated - this is a drawing that can be understood and appreciated by everyone. We must simply crease the edges to see the once flat depiction in all three dimensions. This drawing offers a certain air of mystery, especially if we compare it to sleek modern-day renderings. There is a charm in the suggestion that a room or a building may be regarded as the mere consequence of folding a piece of paper with a certain degree of care and zeal.

Honouring a long-standing tradition to work with real commissions, this year our client is Drawing Matter, a trust established by English art collector Niall Hobhouse, which over the last 30 years has put together an extraordinary assemblage of architectural drawings spanning from neoclassicism to the avant-garde, from sixteenth-century engravings to Fontaine's nineteenth-century Music Room to late-twentieth-century photo collages.

Our job is to transform a site in the beautiful countryside of Somerset, southwest England, into a museum to house and display the Drawing Matter collection of more than 10,000 sketches, renderings and technical drawings, together with models, prototypes and publications. Local landmarks include the legendary estate of Stourhead, the eccentric gardens of Montacute, Alison and Peter Smithson's Upper Lawn Pavilion and a branch of Hauser & Wirth contemporary art gallery. We will take inspiration from collection and context to create a museum like no other: a monument to architectural imagination, a sort of earthly paradise.


Ana Araujo is an architect and researcher interested in the relationship between architecture and subjectivity. She recently launched Donana, a design studio that explores the psychological intricacies of architectural practice while also promoting craft and historical awareness. She has published and exhibited her work internationally, including at the Milan Triennale 2017.

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