“Architecture is approaching sculpture and sculpture is approaching architecture” are words spoken by historian and architecture critic Sigfried Giedion in 1982. It’s this thought-provoking phrase that inspired London-based graphic artist and current third year Winchester School of Art student Lukas Keysell’s publication Architekton, which charts how the meaning of the word ‘architect’ has changed from ancient Greece to the present day.
It comes as no surprise that an artist based in a city like London would contemplate how architectural trends have shifted over time; the cityscape is made up of white Victorian-era brick houses next to modern, glass high-risers. “I looked into the word ‘architect’ due to my general interest in architecture. Through my research I discovered that the word originates from ancient Greece where the title for this profession was a ‘master builder’. This title encompasses so much more than just designing buildings from an office. Master builders would design structures and then go out and build them. I wanted to adopt the same ethos for this project by designing and then going on to print and bind my own publication,” Lukas tells It’s Nice That.
Architekton’s innovative, square format pays tribute to one of architecture’s fundamental shapes. The monochromatic palette highlights the information-driven aspect of Architekton, whereby visuals are incorporated in order to illustrate the journal’s explanatory narratives. “The open fold from the centre gives for a more tactile reading experience allowing readers to deconstruct content and build new spreads,” Lukas explains. Despite its text-heavy content, however, the layout is playful and allows readers to experiment with various possible content combinations and encourages new, unexpected associations to be made.
Lukas’ creative approach doesn’t stop at Architekton’s printed format. Pushing his engagement with architecture beyond the page, he has taken the initiative to bring people together to create their own architectural models. “I backed Giedion’s statement a lot so I wanted to enforce it further by setting up workshops where buildings were re-created using children’s building blocks. It also takes quite a formal subject and makes it feel lively,” Lukas says. The graphic artist’s unconventional approach challenges the way we can engage with the history of architecture and learn about today’s ever-changing design trends.
“University has given me great opportunities to explore what works and what fails without the stress or pressure of a client. The publication before this project was a documentary book about my mother who passed away when I was 13 years old. I worked with scans of her journals that she kept as a teenager, which I used to tell her life story along with my own narration. The majority of my time was spent collaging and treating the images and, having done an image-heavy book, I wanted to pursue a typography-focused approach for this one.”