hugh ferriss

the grand scale of detail...
it is amazing the simple power
black and white images possess.

Hugh Ferriss (1889-1962)

Hugh Ferriss mastered the medium of shadow and light, molding form in a way that truly captures the spirit of place and being. His massing of form frequently overburdens the viewer and creates an ominous weight of reality in his drawings. Darkness and light collide in manners that define and shape space as well as create mystery. Mystery invites exploration. But perhaps more than anything else, the human scale is what becomes particularly poignant in Ferriss' renderings. Structures are depicted at such an immense scale; their vastness is almost beyond comprehension. Yet we can relate to those individuals in his works, their personal perspective of the world around them becomes ours. The striking disparity of towering structures, the megaliths of our times, and the detail of personal space, is what provides this drama of place. We can relate to this drama, living vicariously in a world we may never experience, and understand it implicitly.

The intersection of the 'big idea' and a singular perspective of thought are what balance the realms of design in Ferriss' renderings. Detail becomes acutely obvious because of the whole, not in spite of it. It is this precious sense of life in the presence of an overwhelming whole, the grand scale of place, that provides the stage for smaller realms of interaction to occur. Through his striking portrayal of yet unbuilt worlds, Ferriss lures the viewer into a drama as real as the world beyond the image. A theater for rendering the spirit of life itself.

the rendering is a means to an end;
the end is architecture.

hugh ferriss

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hoover dam, 1936

skyscraper hanger in metropolis, 1931

the shelton hotel, 1924

the daily news building, 1930

grand coulee dam, 1942