‘Letter to a Young Architect’ 2-page comic for the Architectural Review no. 1474

Click to enlarge. The cartoon as published in the magazine (in two facing pages) can be found below

Back in late July, Elly Beaumont, from the Architectural Review, contacted me regarding their -then- forthcoming issue, which would feature, in R.M. Rilke fashion, a series of ‘Letters to a Young Architect’ written by a selection of “architects, critics, teachers, artists and enthusiasts”, or “architects, critics, curators, writers, illustrators and editors”, depending on where you look for. Similarly, I guess I belong in a few of those categories or in none of them, depending on the day you ask me.

Cover/ back cover of ‘Letters to a Young Architect’. The Architectural Review issue 1474, October 2020

Anyway, as usual with me, I had a few ideas that I finally boiled down to two: one of them would more conventional, but safer, and also less-time consuming. The other one, I dreaded the amount of time it would take. So I presented them with both, and you can guess what happened (what always happens in these situations). The final result was this two-page pseudo/mini/comic story where you can find all my usual quirks and complaints about the profession, together with a kind of happy conclusion… before the inevitable, self-deprecatory twist ending. It ended up taking even (a lot) longer than I had expected, but I would lie if I said I didn’t have all kinds of fun doing it… or if I said I didn’t suffer all the way through, too. Thank you, Elly, and especially Manon (Mollard) for your patience waiting for my piece that never seemed to be going to arrive.

‘Letter to a Young Architect by Klaus’, 2020

Anyway: the issue has been out for over a month now, and it collects an impressive selection of collaborations by an assorted group of names including, among many others, Denise Scott Brown, Herman Hertzberger (who provided the best bio in recent memory), Balkrishna Doshi, Kate Macintosh, Alberto Campo Baeza, Charles Holland, Shigeru Ban, and Lars Müller (who, as I’ve commented somewhere else, is responsible for my Pritzker series), together with a couple of friends, too. It also features some inventive layouts -by the featured authors- which are really refreshing to look at. In my case, I was pleasantly surprised by the printing, which made the cartoon-letter look much better than on screen. The AR staff went with a non-glossy paper in my piece, which slightly muted the colors, making them less garish than the original drawing -all for the better.

‘Letters to a Young Architect’. List of Contributors (notice Hertzberger’s ‘bio’)

So, if you liked it, make sure to grab a copy for yourself before they run out of them! I would also strongly recommend buying the July/August issue, ‘Criticism’, and the June 2020 one, ‘Inside’, which are two favorites of mine from recent times. That way you will also help support the dean of English language architectural magazines in these harsh times, where we are seeing more and more fine representatives of architectural printed media disappear. The Architectural Review has been running for 125 years now, and, for those of us who deal with Theory and History of architecture, is the place where many of the seminal texts we quote every other day were published for the first time. The AR’s archive, big chunks of which are available online, is something you want to keep alive. Make your contribution!

P.S. I just discovered they made a behind-the-scenes featurette with my process drawings for this piece. You can check it here.

Published by klaustoon

Klaus is a frustrated cartoonist that lives in an old castle in Europe. In his other life he is also a frustrated architect and scholar who...

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