Drawings for the US Embassy Moscow
13 February - 28 February 2018
Open 2pm - 5pm; Monday - Saturday, most days.
Carlos Diniz (1928–2001), Embassy of the United States, Moscow - preparatory ink drawings, The Commons, c. 1976. Red ink on tracing.
To mark the opening of the new US Embassy London in Nine Elms, Pushkin House and the Drawing Matter Trust present a pop-up exhibition of the recently acquired drawings of the US Embassy Moscow, designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM). Pushkin House, the UK's oldest independent Russian cultural centre will present for two weeks a stunning series of drawings by the architectural illustrator Carlos Diniz from the early 1970s. These drawings show the US creating a micro-environment for its embassy – a feature that characterizes later examples of the typology including Nine Elms.
Carlos Diniz (1928–2001), Embassy of the United States, Moscow - preparatory ink drawings, US Embassy, c. 1976. Red ink on tracing.
The enclosure of the US Embassy Moscow suggested in the drawings would become more pronounced when construction of the embassy became mired in controversy however when surveillance analysts discovered that bugs had been embedded by Soviet workers in the pre-cast concrete. Work was halted in 1985 and only completed in 2000 following the demolition and replacement of upper sections of the building to create secure environments for the diplomatic mission. Diniz’s drawings on behalf of SOM, capture a more innocent world. The building’s architect Charles Edward Bassett imagined it as an elite campus, like a research university. The beautiful drawings show how the architects were attempting to please both their client the US State Department, and Soviet officials in Moscow who had to approve the project.
Carlos Diniz was one of the pioneers of architectural visualisation- the skill of taking architects’ plans and presenting them as perspectives of fully landscaped, occupied buildings. Born in Beverley Hills, he brought the pizazz of Hollywood to architectural drawing, working in his long career with the Pritzker prize winning architect Frank Gehry and Walt Disney amongst many others. Although he was a technical innovator, co-opting printing techniques from movie poster design to bring colour to his drawings, he was also an incredible draughtsman. His work for the US Embassy Moscow shows also his subtle skills as a diplomat of architectural design. His work has recently been acquired by Drawing Matter, a UK-based charitable foundation that promotes the discussion of architectural drawing.
Carlos Diniz (1928–2001), Embassy of the United States, Moscow, View A c. 1976. Pen and ink on vellum.
Fiction and reality in Moscow: Carlos Diniz’s Drawings for the US Embassy Moscow. Thursday, 22 February, 7pm