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. 

 

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103354 items
RIBA7406310 Blackheath Park, London: view towards the dining room

 
RIBA837410 Bolton Gardens, London: painting above the fireplace

 
RIBA837510 Bolton Gardens, London: painting above the fireplace


RIBA10227110 Collingham Gardens, Kensington, London

 
RIBA2652210 Downing Street, Whiltehall, London: glimpse of the front door

 
RIBA3040-3410 Downing Street, Whitehall, London


RIBA5728810 Downing Street, Whitehall, London

 
RIBA5803310 Edge Street, Kensington, London: sideboard cabinet

 
RIBA3425610 Exchange Square, Broadgate, City of London


RIBA3425810 Exchange Square, Broadgate, City of London, seen from Appold Street

 
RIBA3426010 Exchange Square, Broadgate, City of London, seen from Exchange Square

 
RIBA3426110 Exchange Square, Broadgate, City of London: close-up of the series of glass walls that make up the facade


RIBA3425510 Exchange Square, Broadgate, City of London: structural detail of the rear facade

 
RIBA3425710 Exchange Square, Broadgate, City of London: the foyer

 
RIBA7009510 Gresham Street, City of London, at dusk


RIBA7009610 Gresham Street, City of London, at dusk

 
RIBA7009710 Gresham Street, City of London, at dusk

 
RIBA7009410 Gresham Street, City of London, at night


RIBA4614510 Hills Place, Soho, London: close-up of a laminated glass window inserted in the facade

 
RIBA4614410 Hills Place, Soho, London: close-up of the facade

 
RIBA4663710 Palace Gate, London: the internal staircase of one of the flats between the double-height living room and the bedrooms above


RIBA4663810 Palace Gate, London: the internal staircase of one of the flats from the double-height living room to the bedrooms above

 
RIBA4663510 Palace Gate, London: the internal staircase of one of the flats from the double-height living room to the bedrooms above

 
RIBA4663610 Palace Gate, London: the internal staircase of one of the flats from the double-height living room to the bedrooms above


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