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Aurelio Galfetti: Castelgrande, Bellinzona 1986 © Thomas Deckker 1996
Two Castles in Switzerland
2023

Granary, Grimentz, Valais, Switzerland, 16th century © Thomas Deckker 2023
Was Vitruvius Right?
2024

Nouveau plan de la ville de Paris 1828 © David Rumsey Maps
The Arcades Project
2023

Derelict Building, Kings Cross photo © Thomas Deckker 1988
Henri Labrouste and the construction of mills
2023

Claude-Nicolas Ledoux: Barrière St Martin, Paris (1785-1790) from Daniel Ramée: C.N. Ledoux, l'architecture (Paris 1847)
The Barrière de la Villette: the Sublime and the Beautiful
2022

Vauban: Neuf Brisach
Neuf Brisach: The Art of War
2022

Lucio Costa: Competition sketch for the Esplanada dos Minstérios, Brasília 1956
Did Lucio Costa know the Queen Mother?
2022

Vaux-le-Vicomte, Entrance Court, engraving by Israel Sylvestre
Vaux-le-Vicomte: Architecture and Astronomy
2022

Edzell Castle, Ground Floor Plan, from MacGibbon and Ross: The Castellated and Domestic Architecture of Scotland
Edzell Castle: Architecture and Treatises in Late 16th Century Scotland
2022

Capability Brown: Plan for Petworth Park from Dorothy Stroud: Capabilty Brown
The Upperton Monument, Petworth
2022

Isamu Noguchi: maquette for Riverside Drive c. 1961
Isamu Noguchi: useless architecture
2022

Jürgen Joedicke: Architecture since 1945: sources and directions (London: Pall Mall Press 1969)
Gottfried Böhm: master of concrete
2021

Thomas Deckker Architect: temporary truck stop, M20
Lorry Drivers are human, too
2021

Marc-Antoine Laugier: Essai sur l'Architecture
John Onians: ‘Architecture, Metaphor and the Mind’
2021

Sir John Vanbrugh: Seaton Delaval, Northumberland (1720–28) from Colen Campbell: Vitruvius Britannicus vol 3 (1725)
Seaton Delaval: the aesthetic castle
2021

Jules Hardouin-Mansart: Les Invalides, Paris (1676) Section showing the double dome
The Temple of Apollo at Stourhead: Architecture and Astronomy
2021

Eric de Maré: Fishermen’s huts, Hastings (1956) © Architectural Press Archive / RIBA Library Photographs Collection
Eric de Maré: The Extraordinary Aesthetics of the Ordinary
2021

Iannis Xenakis: score for Syrmos, for string orchestra (1959) © Editions Salabert E. A. S. 17516
Iannis Xenakis: Music, Architecture and War
2021

United Visual Artists: Etymologies 2017 © United Visual Artists
United Visual Artists
2020

Margaret Howell: Campaign 2020 © Margaret Howell
Margaret Howell
2020

Palaces of Darius and Xerxes, Persepolis, Iran
The Plans of Antiquity
2020

Cristobal Balenciaga: Skirt Suit, 1964 © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Cristobal Balenciaga
2020

Mathias Goeritz: La serpiente de El Eco, 1953 © Sothebys
Mathias Goeritz: 'Emotional Architecture'
2020

Richard Serra: Weight and Measure 1992 © Richard Serra
Weight and Measure
2020

Tony Smith: Playround, 1962 © Tony Smith Estate
Tony Smith: Art and Experience
2020

Highway Construction © Caterpillar Archives
Landscape and Infrastructure
2020

Frank Gohlke: Lightning Flash, Lamesa, Texas © Frank Gohlke
Grain Elevators
2020

Isamu Noguchi: maquette for Riverside Drive c. 1961. The Noguchi Museum Archives, 01952.© The Isamu Noguchi Foundation and Garden Museum / ARS
Isamu Noguchi: maquette for Riverside Drive c. 1961. The Noguchi Museum Archives, 01952.
© The Isamu Noguchi Foundation and Garden Museum / ARS

Isamu Noguchi: useless architecture

Isamu Noguchi moved easily through the worlds of fine art, architecture and design, a polymath like Iannis Xenakis and Mathias Goeritz.

I have always found the idea of play central to 'primary structures' such as the work of Tony Smith which I encountered as a child. In his 'maquette for Riverside Drive' Noguchi integrated the idea of play into the work. This was intended to be a playground for children, an ambition he realised later in works such as 'Playscapes', Atlanta, Georgia (1976), a commission from the High Museum of Art in Atlanta. An artist's playground absolutely does not need swings and slides: the abstract sculptural forms provide an essential playground for exploration.
Isamu Noguchi: Constellation (for Louis Kahn) 1982 © Thomas Deckker 1995
Isamu Noguchi: Constellation (for Louis Kahn) 1982
photo © Thomas Deckker 1995
I was fortunate to visit Noguchi's 'Constellation (for Louis Kahn) 1982' at Kahn's Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth (1966-72), two great works that reflect upon archetypal and archaic form. This work was the culmination of a series of gardens designed in the 1960s and the fulfilment of a long collaboration with Louis Kahn. During the 1960s Noguchi designed gardens for SOM: the Chase Manhattan Bank, New York, with rocks set in cobblestone paving that recalls the 'dry landscape' of the Ryoanji Temple, Kyoto, Japan and a garden for the Beinecke Rare Books Library, Yale, with archaic geometric forms that recall the Samrat Yantra Observatory, Jaipur, India. Noguchi visited these with a travelling scholarship from the Bollingen Foundation in 1949-51, at the same time as Kahn was encountering ancient ruins as a Fellow at the American Academy in Rome in 1950. Noguchi was sponsored and promoted by Gordon Bunshaft of SOM during the 1950s and early 1960s, coincidentally the only period when SOM were designing buildings of any architectural merit.
Isamu Noguchi: Garden for Chase Manhattan Bank Plaza, New York 1961-64. The Noguchi Museum Archives, 01935. Photo: Arthur Lavine. © The Isamu Noguchi Foundation and Garden Museum / ARS
Isamu Noguchi: Garden for Chase Manhattan Bank Plaza, New York 1961-64. The Noguchi Museum Archives, 01935. Photo: Arthur Lavine
© The Isamu Noguchi Foundation and Garden Museum / ARS
The subtitle 'useless architecture' comes from the recent exhibition at the Barbican Centre, London. Many of these works, like other can be seen as meditations on architectural space. Like that of his near contemporaries Mathias Goeritz and Barbara Hepworth, Noguchi's work retains an emotive force, unlike later work, such as that of Richard Serra and Tony Smith, generally work that was exhibited at 'Primary Structures: Younger American and British Sculptors' at the Jewish Museum in New York City in 1966.
Isamu Noguchi: Floor Frame (1962 - 1987) photo © Thomas Deckker 2022
Isamu Noguchi: Orpheus (1958) photo © Thomas Deckker 2022
Isamu Noguchi: Orpheus (1958)
photo © Thomas Deckker 2022
The Isamu Noguchi Foundation and Garden Museum, New York contains the Isamu Noguchi Catalogue Raisonné.
Thomas Deckker
London 2022