Saul Steinberg – Architecture by line



September 25 – November 29, 2014

Ingo Giezendanner, alias GRRRR
Nathalie du Pasquier
Nigel Peake
Madelon Vriesendorp
Wesley Willis


September 24, 2014
Inaugural lecture
Nathalie Du Pasquier, artist, Milan

Cyril Veillon, curator
Professor Nicola Barghieri, LAPSIS, EPFL

October 28, 2014
Ingo Giezendanner, artist, Zurich
Stephen Felmingham, artist and professor, London

November 6, 2014
Luca Merlini, architect and professor, Paris and Lausanne

November 18, 2014
Nicholas Lobo Brennan, architect, Zurich

On the occasion of the exhibition, an artist’s book has been published by Nieves in Zürich. It brings together for the first time, as individual leporellos, the four long drawings Steinberg produced for the Children’s Labyrinth at the Milan Triennale in 1954.


Drawing is the perfect medium to shape and express ideas and viewpoints on architecture without using words. Lines come together to make forms, which in turn become coherent images that enable the viewer to grasp even the most complex intentions and meanings.
The American artist Saul Steinberg (1914-1999), well known for his long collaboration with The New Yorker, considered himself to be a ‘writer who draws’. A ‘speechless writer’ perhaps, but one who had a great deal to say about the buildings and cityscapes that came under the scrutiny of his critical eye. In this sense, he was a forerunner of postmodernism, and although he did not write essays many theorists of architecture see him as an important critic of design and construction.
Architecture by Line weaves links between Steinberg’s two-dimensional oeuvre and architecture. Included also will be works by a selection of international artists, who do not necessarily share any filiation with him but who, by their use of drawing, question the way people see and inhabit the places that architects design.
The exhibition shows how visual impressions captured by artists may anticipate architectural thought, and even short circuit it. In doing so it poses a vital question: is art the vehicle by which architecture is set free?

With support of the Jan Michalski foundation.

Curator: Cyril Veillon
with the collaboration of Benjamin Sommerhalder, Nieves, Zurich.
Logistic: Jean-Robert Gros
Administration: Pascale Luck
Assistant: Thomas Paine
Texts editing: Aurélie Buisson
Research advisor: Sheila Schwartz, The Saul Steinberg Foundation
Images: The Saul Steinberg Foundation, NY

Special thanks to:
Beth Venn, CEO, The Saul Steinberg Foundation
Paul T. Young, architect, Chicago

Saul Steinberg
Photo by Arnold-Newman, 1951

Exhibition views