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The Design Comedy, on Display at AIA National Headquarters
In his “Shaping the City” column in the Washington Post, Roger K. Lewis, FAIA, has examined shifts in culture that have evolved urbanism in America to its current state of resurgence, all through the lens of the architecturally underappreciated nation’s capital. For decades, Lewis has done something that has become sadly exceptional in a mainstream, national newspaper: speaking to the public in a plain spoken, approachable manner about the social and economic forces shaping the city and its architecture. Likewise, his book Architect? A Candid Guide to the Profession (just released in its third edition), is recognized for being an ideal entry-level primer for prospective architecture students.
But what’s even more about exceptional about Lewis, an emeritus professor at the University of Maryland’s architecture school, is how his work is illustrated. He’s applied his drawing skills, honed as an architect, to illustrations that offer a light-hearted counterpoint to his articles. They riff on both the professional foibles (funny eyeglasses) and legitimate grumbles (the specter of value engineering) of the architectural profession, and the changing attitudes about urbanism. His illustrations can tell stories, too, like the halting progress of the Washington Monument or the calamity that were mid-century public housing superblock developments.
A special collection of Lewis’ illustrations called The Design Comedy, curated by the AIA’s Emerging Professionals group, are on display at AIA National headquarters through Sept. 30.
Enjoy Roger’s illustrations? Look for original commissions from Roger beginning later this year to illustrate AIArchitect’s Home Design Trends Survey series of economic reports.