Architecture Without Architects

This perspective sketch of a rural house for the Savery family of Shropshire, UK, left my studio recently, on its way to a planning meeting.

The project was a rare chance to create a series of presentation drawings for a caring builder who runs his own sawmill and who makes such a special effort to include feature timbers in his designs.

In my own projects, I draw only a few lines between sculpture and architecture. Instead of trying to “conquer” Nature as most modern architects do, I try to draw my designs out of their location. Here’s a ‘before’ and ‘after’ shot of some stone stairs I designed around future tree root growth. Layers of non-biodegradeable padding and airtex have been included to ‘direct’ growing roots back into the hillside to form a strong ‘footing’ against future high winds.





When designing your own garden feature or house,
the more attention you pay to detail,
the less problems you’ll have with it over time.

I sketch out every feature when designing a product, a landscape or an entire house. In my following house design for a US developer, I sketched out everything from garage flood defences, kitchen/bathroom/s layouts to carpet weaves and lighting. This is to get a full feeling for the home which develops from the house. In this way, each facet of my designwork holds true when combined.


Tomorrow Design

I usually sketch practical buildings that are buildable now using existing building materials and present technology.

When I do not need to be guided in this by my clients, I enjoy designing that which would be hard or difficult to construct using present technologies.  This is an example of a Moonbase created for a book on Space adventure:

If you are also interested, as I am, in the study of intuitive living, non-formal and non-classified communal architecture, I recommend the book “Architecture Without Architects” by Doctor Bernard Rudofsky who has written a number of other interesting books including ‘Are Clothes Modern’, ‘Streets For People’ and ‘The Unfashionable Human Body’.

Book Photo by kind permission of World of Water reference library. #cat.gja.000364


Typeforms and Lettering

‘Papercut letter collage 02’ by Grant

There’s gaps in my letters and lines,
And space in my poems for rhymes.
But for shapes held in books
That give them such looks
Credit Gill Sans or New Roman Times.

From my Dad I got my love of letterforms and structure.

From my Mum, the bubbles of opera.

From Mother Nature my love of food and understanding of things good.

From by friends, the torches of care which continually keep me aware of what life’s about.

From the media, mere unsettled dust, and its familiar pattern of drizzle, growth and rust.

Words of Wisdom image print by ttp. tim tiley prints. bristol bs6 5rr. photo 000365-a by kind permission of the *WoW prints collection/hand-lettering






“Lyrics can make me cry.
Music can kidnap my body.
True Art can always swallow time
I thought was mine.”

One time,  Goldie , English musician, DJ, visual artist and actor, designed this lettering for me, for a tagged wall by the Birmingham SuperPrix pitstop. The rest is his story.

Photo by kind permission of *WoW prints collection/petite moulin rouge night club/ [Interior and Feature Design by Grant]





Castles in the sky.
Community dreams of
Picnics on high.

Brush strokes in ink,
Fluid, where carved stone
Rests to think.

Two prized items in the *WoW Collections are the following examples;


The first penned in ink and given to Will O’Leary on the occassion of the 2006 New Year celebration from Nipponzan Myohoji and the second, [picture presently on loan] incised by carving with a chisel over lettering first ‘painted’ with a flat brush during one of O’Leary’s carving workshops.

Photos by kind permission of *WoW print and lettering collections which includes a library of graphic lettering and prints by calligrapher, Linda Lewis.

William Caxton, The first English Editor by Richard Deacon. Pub. Frederick Muller Ltd. London. 1976.
J.H.Mason 1875 – 1951 Scholar-Printer by L.T.Owens. Pub. Frederick Muller Ltd. London. 1976.
John Baskerville of Birmingham. Letter-Founder and Printer by F.E.Pardoe. Pub. Frederick Muller Ltd. London. 1974.





Stanley Morison Displayed by Herbert Jones. Pub. Frederick Muller Ltd. London. 1976.
A Handbook of Textbook Type and Illustration by John Lewis. Pub. Faber and Faber. London. 1956
Pen Lettering. Pub. James Dorn. London
An atlas of typeforms by James Sutton and Alan Bartram. Pub. Lund Humphries. London. 1968
Specimens of Printing Types from Stevenson Blake, The Caslon Letter Foundry, Sheffield.
Stevenson Blake Card Founts of Printing Type
Creative Lettering and Calligraphy by Peter Halliday
John M. Clark’s Alphabets for sign writers, decorators, designers. London. 1906
The Kenyon Lettering – a collection of original letterforms, both printed and hand illustrated, published in books, advertisements, exhibitions and as art.

*The WoW collections are curated by World of Water [Reg. UK educational charity ] as part of their outreach project. Enquiries and donations welcome.]

‘Papercut letter collage 01’ by Grant