chapter  16
10 Pages

Machinery, function and modernism

The functional character of trains, machinery and ships makes a pleasant contrast to the historicism or concern for applied style in buildings, especially very recent ones. Machinery makes no concession to surface aesthetics, and derives its visual qualities instead from meeting strict utilitarian criteria: rivets are left exposed and moving parts are placed on the outside for ease of access and servicing. The result of this unassuming functionalism is often to produce objects of rare beauty or structures of haunting presence. To draw them is to understand their essence as working objects and to appreciate their form. When placed against everyday buildings and landscapes, the industrial object has both an immediacy and charm that can be attractive to draw.