Louis Hellman: Archi-têtes

Celebrating both the RIBA’s acquisition of Louis Hellman’s archive in 2018 and the milestone of RIBApix reaching 100,000 images with his Archi-tête of Charles Rennie Mackintosh we present a gallery of Archi-têtes. Louis Hellman, architect turned cartoonist, is famed for his cartoons satirising the world of architecture, architects, clients, developers and politicians, most notably featured in the Architects’ Journal for over 50 years, see here.

Notions of anthropomorphism are popular in cultural history even extending to architecture and architects who have long made use of the human form as a metaphor for a building and its parts. Perhaps most well known are Vitruvius’ ‘Vitruvian Man’ with his arms and legs outstretched positioned within a square and circle and Le Corbusier’s ‘Modulor’ a scale of proportions based on applying the ‘Golden Section’ to the height of a man with a vertically outstretched arm.

One of the best known and fun items within the RIBA Collections is the caricature bust of Sir Edwin Lutyens incorporating an architectural model for a 'chattri' roof feature for the Viceroy's House (now Rashtrapati Bhavan) in New Delhi.

The Archi-têtes series of caricatures of architects using elements of their own buildings and style plays on the anthropomorphic elements in architecture in a unique way. The series was actually conceived as competition entry to the Architectural Review in 1984 which Hellman won. He then continued to create further caricatures, himself and certain politicians included, for the Architectural Review and which were published in the book Archi-têtes: the id in the Grid (2000).

To see the full range of Hellman’s Archi-têtes on RIBApix click here.

Feature by Jonathan Makepeace. 


103354 items
RIBA73501Wool Pavilion, Empire Exhibition, Bellahouston Park, Glasgow: display cabinet

RIBA30854Woolands stand at the Ideal Home Exhibition, Olympia, London: the dining area display

RIBA75238Woolavington Estate, Bridgewater, Somerset

RIBA75239Woolavington Estate, Bridgewater, Somerset

RIBA30845Woollands 21 Shop, Knightsbridge, London

RIBA4986Woolland's stand at the Ideal Home Exhibition, Olympia, London: lateral view showing the living and dining area display

RIBA3482-61Woolland's stand, Ideal Home Exhibition, Olympia, London: the kitchen display

RIBA55903Woollands, Knightsbridge, London

RIBA55904Woollands, Knightsbridge, London

RIBA55899Woollands, Knightsbridge, London

RIBA55900Woollands, Knightsbridge, London

RIBA55898Woollands, Knightsbridge, London: entrance to shop

RIBA55896Woollands, Knightsbridge, London: shop window and entrance

RIBA92362Woollands, Knightsbridge, London: the men's department

RIBA17306Woollen mill at Nailsworth, near Stroud, Gloucestershire: detail of wooden-framed windows in an outhouse

RIBA17270Woollen mill at Nailsworth, near Stroud, Gloucestershire: the facade with the long 'weavers' windows on the upper floor

RIBA49992Woollen mills complex along the canal, Sowerby Bridge, Upper Calderdale, West Yorkshire

RIBA52552Woollet Court, St Pancras Way, London

RIBA6403Woolley Edge Motorway Services near Wakefield, West Yorkshire

RIBA22412Woolpit Church, Suffolk: sketch, details and section of the brass eagle lectern

RIBA102486Woolpits, Ewhurst, Surrey

RIBA102504Woolpits, Ewhurst, Surrey

RIBA102495Woolpits, Ewhurst, Surrey: a dresser

RIBA102509Woolpits, Ewhurst, Surrey: an ancillary building