Eric de Maré's secret country | Art and design | The Guardian   Leave a comment

Architect at his drawing board. This wood engr...

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Shock of the old … Eric De Maré’s ‘skyscrapers‘ in Hastings. Photograph: Eric de Maré

In the 1990s, the award-winning British architect Michael Hopkins was searching for someone to take black-and-white photographs of his buildings. He contacted Eric de Maré, the visionary chronicler of the postwar British landscape, then in retirement. “It was like watching an old�gunslinger back in action,” says Hopkins. “The first shots were a little off the mark. Then he found his aim and was bang on target. Those photographs are some of my proudest possessions.”

Richard MacCormac, architect of the Ruskin Library in Lancaster and other jewel-like buildings, shares Hopkins’s reverence. “Did Eric de Maré influence me?” he says. “Funny you should ask. I’ve just been using his shot of ‘skyscraper’ fishermen’s sheds at Hastings as inspiration for a housing scheme.”

This foreboding image shows a cluster of improbably tall sheds with pitched roofs, all tilting haphazardly. Referred to as “skyscrapers” by De Maré, their scale is revealed by two young women floating by in summery frocks. It was taken in 1956, when De Maré, an architect-turned-photographer born in London of Swedish parents, was in his mid-40s and working for the Architectural Review, on a mission to record venerable yet largely forgotten industrial buildings. The shot seems to be saying that architecture, no matter how unexpected, is for everyone: the women couldn’t be less like the fishermen for whom the sheds were built, yet they seem in curious harmony with the hulking structures that they are ambling past almost without noticing.

via Eric de Maré’s secret country | Art and design | The Guardian.

via Eric de Maré’s secret country | Art and design | The Guardian.

Posted November 22, 2010 by dmacc502 in architecture, global, History

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