MIT Architectural Student Drawings
Fifth-year architecture student Robert Ellsworth Jenks entered his design for an office tower into competition for a scholarship to the School of Fine Arts at Fontainebleau, a summer program established in 1923 as a short course in the principles of the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris. Jenks’ rendu—a highly finished drawing in watercolor of the major features of a building— demonstrates not only the importance of pictorial rendering as a rhetorical method in architectural design, but also how fluently students assimilated and reworked styles prevalent in contemporary practice.
Jenks was influenced by the renderings of Hugh Ferriss, an architectural delineator who developed a glamorous pictorial style depicting skyscrapers illuminated in an enveloping shroud of darkness or fog. The drawing also is evidence of the American fascination with the tall office tower in the wake of the 1922 international competition for the Tribune Building in Chicago, which was won by Raymond Hood (SB 1903) and John Mead Howells.
Exhibited: An Office Building, Robert Ellsworth Jenks, 1928.