The School that Richard built

Sketching Out a New Course for Architects
by Pia Catton for the Wall Street Journal

Two blocks from the stately columns, arches and sculptures of Grand Central Terminal, a rogue band of architects is engaged in a retrograde venture: They're teaching a new generation how to draw and paint the elements of classical architecture—all those columns, arches and sculptures—with nothing more than pencils and paints on paper. No computers. Ever.

It's not that they hate modernity. But at the just-launched Beaux-Arts Atelier, the belief is that an architect should know how to draw buildings by hand—and the best way to do that is to study the classical forms. Having absorbed that technique, a broader spectrum of creativity is at the architect's command, even if he wants to create contemporary buildings that don't have a pediment in sight.

"If you don't understand the tradition profoundly, you can't turn it on its head," said the program's director, Richard Cameron. 

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