16th Sept 2013
Published on the 16th September is a new book by architect George Saumarez Smith, called ‘A Treatise on Modern Architecture’.
Described by the author as ‘first and foremost a book of drawings’, the book aims to show the continuing relevance of drawing by hand and the use of the classical language in designing modern buildings. Saumarez Smith is devoted to the classical tradition but, whilst he is aware that this can provoke strong reactions amongst other architects, he is keen to avoid reigniting the style wars of the 1980’s; he states in the introduction that ‘this is a book about conviction rather than style’.
Following the tradition of many authors from the Renaissance to the mid-19th century, the book is in the form of a Treatise divided into five chapters. The first of these deals with the classical Orders and presents the author’s own versions of the Tuscan, Doric and Ionic Orders. The next three chapters contain drawings and photographs of various buildings that Saumarez Smith has designed and built over the last 10 years, including an art gallery in London’s New Bond Street, several country houses and garden buildings.
The final chapter presents a selection of the author’s measured drawings of a variety of buildings in different parts of the world, from carved bench ends in a Suffolk parish church to the contents of an abandoned swimming pool in Venice.
Published by the Bardwell Press, the book is intended to evoke English and American architectural pattern books of the early 19th century whilst also including beautifully printed photographs. In many ways the book embodies Saumarez Smith’s own design philosophy: unapologetically old-fashioned but confidently modern at the same time.