Taken from over 300 sketchbooks, generously loaned to Glasgow City Heritage Trust by the architects’ families, the drawings included in this book and exhibition offer unique insight into the workings of two great architects’ minds.
Professors Andy MacMillan and Charles MacCallum were colleagues at the iconic post-war Scottish architectural practice, Gillespie, Kidd and Coia, and at consecutive times, Heads and Professors at the Mackintosh School of Architecture at the Glasgow School of Art, one of the world’s great architecture schools. Theirs was a generation trained in traditional, analogue drawing. Hard line draughtsmanship was an essential medium to translate architectural designs into constructed reality.
Never intended for scrutiny, the work here is refreshingly unguarded, full of life, spontaneity and humour. But taken as a collection, these sketches also allow us to see the world as they saw it, with an architect’s eye, concerned with space, form, light and detail. Recording our surroundings with pen and ink is a deeply instinctive human activity. These drawings, from the hand of two eminent practitioners, are fascinating moments captured in time, simultaneously revealing and intriguing, significant for anyone with an interest in architectural process. But their simplicity and honesty makes their appeal universal, a visual feast for those who take pleasure from life observed.
Johnny Rodger is a writer and critic, and Professor of Urban Literature at the Glasgow School of Art. He is editor of the The Drouth quarterly literary/arts journal: published books include (g) haun(s) Q (1997), Redundant (1998), Contemporary Glasgow (1999), Gillespie Kidd & Coia 1956-87 (2007), Tartan Pimps: Margaret Thatcher, Gordon Brown and the New Scotland (2010), The Red Cockatoo: James Kelman and the Art of Commitment (2011), and The Hero Building: An Architecture of Scottish National Identity (2015).