Survey is the first book by the historian Matthew Wells and also the inaugural volume of the Architectural Iconographies series co-published by Drawing Matter and Park Books. It explores the history of the survey (or measured drawing) and its multiple forms in order to understand how the methods of recording what already exists can also be used to imagine what might be. Bringing together a mix of voices and approaches, it suggests that while all surveys begin with the site, the outcomes are as idiosyncratic as their authors – and their methods have much to offer as tools in design practice.
As editor, I worked closely between the book’s author Matthew and Drawing Matter director Niall Hobhouse to imagine a book that was driven by our shared desire to show how the past can inform the present. My work spanned a range of editorial roles. As developmental editor I worked with the author on honing the structure of the book. The result is a compelling and writerly narrative comprising an introduction, focused studies and an extensive plate section with commentaries by contemporary architects. As managing editor I worked with colleagues at Drawing Matter and the co-publisher Park Books to realise the first in what will be an ongoing series on the iconographies of architectural drawing.
My editorial responsibilities also extended to direct collaboration with the graphic designer, Mathias Clottu (who I worked with on Alternative Histories). I supplied him with the project brief and worked as picture editor while he established an elegant and generous – and at times refreshingly irreverent – design for the book and overall series.
Survey takes drawings from the Drawing Matter Collection as its starting point, and we therefore needed a nuanced and imaginative way of embedding this particular sense of place within the narrative of the book. We invited the photographer Lewis Ronald to the collection to capture the drawings in-situ. These almost illusory photographs compose the cover and an insert that separates the main text from the plates section.
The Architecture Iconographies series considers the image-making of
architecture through its typologies and unique approaches to drawing.
Exploring their resonance in the history of the profession, as well as
their relationship to the architects themselves, the series aims to open
up further possibilities for their use in both practice and teaching.