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. 

 

109696 items
RIBA3697-74Head office for insurance firm Willis Faber and Dumas Limited, Ipswich, Suffolk

 
RIBA3698-74Old Royal Naval College (Royal Naval Hospital), Greenwich, London: the riverside facade

 
RIBA3699-74St Mary's Church, Woolpit, Suffolk: close-up of the hammer-beam roof


RIBA3700-74Pattenden Manor, Goudhurst, Kent

 
RIBA3701-74Bluewater shopping centre, Dartford, Kent

 
RIBA3702-74Stansted Airport, Essex


RIBA3703-74Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, South Kensington, London: the twin towers marking the main entrance

 
RIBA3704-74Kenwood House, Hampstead, London, seen from across Hampstead Heath

 
RIBA3705-74Queen's House, Greenwich, London, seen from Observatory Hill


RIBA3708-74George Street, Bath

 
RIBA3709-74Eaton Square, Belgravia, London

 
RIBA3710-74Park Crescent, Regent's Park, London, seen from the west


RIBA3711-74Housing, 103-123 St Marks Road, London

 
RIBA3712-74St Paul's, Covent Garden, London: the east facade on Covent Garden

 
RIBA3714-74The Rosslyn Arms, Hampstead, London


RIBA3715-74Cumberland Terrace, Regent's Park, London: central section