Anonymous architecture

Traveling to see and draw Architecture without Architects

It has been fifty years since the publication of Bernard Rudofsky’s book Architecture without Architects and the accompanying 1964 exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art where he expanded our concept of architecture beyond the formal and pedigreed and toward the ancient and indigenous. Since then, picturesque antique villages around the world have had a profound influence for generations of designers and architects. Architecture without Architects and its more expansive companion The Prodigious Builders have fueled my passion for vernacular architecture.

Vernacular architecture also helped cultivate my longtime interest in freehand drawing. The first milestone event was a two-week college sketch trip led by architects Lawrence Perkins and Michael Plautz to the hill towns of Central France. The tumble-down stone houses, castles and churches amid the Dordogne’s mountainous landscape were compelling and motivated me to visit similar sites in Spain, Portugal, Turkey and Greece. Michael Plautz’s beautiful drawing and painting was and still is inspiring and can be enjoyed through his book Draw: Quotidian Lines.

The villages of Cappadocia in Central Turkey, carved into the region’s sculptural landscape of soft volcanic rock by their dweller/designers, are among the most memorable places I have visited. Each time I experience a place like Cappadocia I am reminded that in architecture we deal with a timeless art form that’s fundamentally human. No one can go to such places without being inspired.

Photos and sketches by Steve Siegle


    Great photos and sketches! Just an objection: We can’t call “Turkish ruins” the houses of “Little Venice” in Mykonos. This is the typical, vernacular architectural style of Cyclades. Yes, Mykonos was under the Ottoman Occupation, as well as the greatest part of Greece, but this is not Ottoman Architecture… Thanks a lot :-)

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