Design for the White City Housing Scheme, 1934
Pencil on tracing paper
Artist: Eric Mendelsohn
© Victoria and Albert Museum. Museum number E.677-1993
Eric Mendelsohn produced this bold sketch early in the design stage for flats in White City, London. The massive project of 2,500 lower middle-class flats and amenities was a brazen vision that hard economic times prevented from realisation.
Using a dark 6B pencil, Mendelsohn's ideas for modern urban living are clear: long blocks and towers would float in large, open plazas. The quick sketch was probably drawn with others looking on as Mendelsohn explained his concept. The sketch, on cheap tracing paper, has been folded up to pocket size. These intuitive drawings can help an architect to articulate ideas and share concepts before more studied renderings are produced.