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Masterworks of Architectural Drawing from the Albertina Museum

Category: Exhibition 7. February 2018

Architectural drawing as an autonomous form of art: „Masterworks of Architectural Drawing“ is the title of the exhibition in the Albertina, the second part of which will be on display from June 27.
The show offers some of the most precious masterpieces of the collection that contains more than 40.000 drawings.
The „Atlas Stosch“ is a centerpiece of the archives. In the early 18th century, count Philipp von Stosch gathered an extensive collection, including about 1000 drawings by the eminent Italian Baroque architect Francesco Borromini.
In the 20th century important bequests, like the ones by Carl and Franz Jobst, Adolf Loos, Josef Frank, Clemens Holzmeister and Lois Weizenbacher were added to the Albertina’s archives.
Only few of them have been shown in thematic exhibitions yet. This glimpse into the collection, curated by Christian Benedik, encompasses over 500 years of architectural history, from the Gothic period to the 20th century.

„The interpretation of architecture is not exclusively a subject for architects“, says the Albertina’s director Klaus Albrecht Schröder.
While virtual tours through building projects are normal nowadays, for centuries drawings were the standard medium for the representation of architecture.
For architects and builders, construction drawings like floor plans, cross sections and vertical sections were sufficient, however after the 15th century perspective was used, especially in order to provide a lifelike visualization of the finished building for the customers. Human characters placed in the image were used to illustrate the scales. For the viewer of today, they offer an additional historical and aesthetical value.
The architectural drawing is the link between the idea of the architect and the implemented result, but besides this working tool the exhibition visitor will find garden landscapes, cityscapes, details of facades and decorations, as well as historical and fantastic sceneries.


Next to architectural sketches by Baroque master Francesco Borromini and other implemented architectural visions, there are some bold fantasies on display, like Otto Wagner’s idea of 1891 for a dome in Berlin, a design for a cathedral in Brazil by Clemens Holzmeister, or Josef Frank’s colorful social housing project for New York in 1942.
The wooden „Pont de l’archeveque“ in Lyon by Johannes Lingelbach (1650), on display in the exhibition chapter „bridges“ is primarily an artistic creation and not just the depiction of a building.
The boundaries between architectural drawing and artwork become obsolete here, like in many other pieces in the Albertina collection. The drawing can be enjoyed as an artistic creation, apart from the architectural background. (written by Cem Angeli)

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