location: New York

“Although the works in Drawing Ambience may be read as part of a historical chapter, their time is not finished,” – The Guardian

The Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture of The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art presents Drawing Ambience: Alvin Boyarsky and the Architectural Association.
The exhibition, open from October 13 till November 25, 2015, shows for the first time in New York, drawings from the private collection of Alvin Boyarsky, one of the most influential figures in 20th-century architectural education.

Drawing Ambience highlights the collection of drawings assembled by the late Alvin Boyarsky when he was the chairman of the Architectural Association (AA) in London, the United Kingdom’s oldest independent architectural school and important for the introduction of a wide range of concepts and methodologies that remain relevant today.
Boyarsky argued that architecture was not only a profession but also an artistic venture—a practice that comprises drawing and publication as much as it engages design and construction. During his time leading the school, from 1971 till 1990, he orchestrated an ambitious exhibition and publication program, that situated drawing as not only a representational tool, but as a form of architecture in its own right. That was a period of great transformation and experimentation where the AA as well as the Cooper Union School of Architecture, was considered one of the great centers of hand drawing to flourish before the rise of computer-aided modeling. Through a unique constellation of exhibitions, teaching studios, and publication projects, Boyarsky encouraged young architects to embrace the emerging global culture and probe contemporary issues while defining their own visual and spatial languages.

Drawing Ambience features formative works by architects who are among the most celebrated figures today—including John Hejduk, Michael Webb, Daniel Libeskind, as well as Frank Gehry, Zaha Hadid, Rem Koolhaas and Bernard Tschumi. Highlights range from Eduardo Paolozzi’s appropriations of pop culture to the technological utopianism of Archigram’s David Greene and Webb to the gestural mark-making of Libeskind and Peter Wilson. The exhibition explores not only Boyarsky’s role as a collector of drawings but also, metaphorically speaking, collector of ideas and people that have come to define a key moment in architectural history. Moreover, its emphasis on the tactile and exploratory foreshadows the renewed interest—in our own digital age—in links between the hand and the imagination.

October 13 – November 25, 2015
Tuesday – Sunday, 12-7pm
The Cooper Union

7 East 7th Street, between Third and Fourth Avenues
New York, NY 10003
Free and open to the public