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nigel coates EXPLODED
(Eric McGrath, no.63 Rubin Red - The Style)

- Until 25th October in London, the show will present a selection of Coates’ architectural drawings going back to the 1980s right through to the present day. Coates is known for his original architectural work and product design and the exhibition will offer another fascinating insight into his creative repertoire.
Since the early ‘80s, Coates has been passionate about drawing as a tool for exploring architecture. In 1984 he published NATO (Narrative Architecture Today), the manifesto in which he expressed his idea of “Narrative Architecture.” Since then, his loose, expressionist style has become well-known.
Coates aims to draw in a new way, capturing the dynamics of space and the feeling of moving through it. An alternative view to the conventions of “plan and section”, that assessed the building and its spaces in layered parts, as if the project were dissected.
The spectator is immediately in their spaces, only being able to walk “through” them with the mind’s eye.

These ‘exploded’ drawings capture the narrative that unfolds when a sequence of spaces are experienced. The vision is unified, and has a living atmosphere: it is time to weave the functional and conceptual together. The pastel and pencil strokes seem to remind the viewer that although architecture is the most solid of the arts, experience of it can become an emotional one. Years later, the same images, once iconoclastic, now seem more than ever to fulfill the demands of the modern scenario, enhanced by the new possibility of the three-dimensional digital design technique, but perhaps also free of the “narrative mode” of which Coates was the forerunner and interpreter. With many works on display for the first time, this unique show connects the built and the imaginary, construction and object, form and concept. As before Coates’ “visions” are still there today, urging us to be the architects of our own lives, and in doing so, to adapt the buildings around us.
White Gallery Post, Nigel Coates Studio, 25 Thurloe Street, London SW7 2LQ