artwork with red doors
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Architect David Rock has had a prominent and multi-faceted career by any yardstick. He worked in Basil Spence in 1950s, made partner at inter-disciplinary practice BDP in the 1960s, formed his own practice Rock Townsend, and presided over RIBA as its president between 1997 and 1999.

Paralleling this rich architectural career, Rock has, since the 1950s, been a graphic designer, illustrator and painter as well as chairing the Scottish Society of Architect Artists. Not surprisingly, his paintings and drawings combine architecture and art, and have been exhibited in numerous shows in London and abroad.

Opened last Friday at the Chris Dyson-designed Eleven Spitalfields gallery, the ‘David Rock: from 50s Architectural Drawings to Recent Paintings’ exhibition looks at Rock’s artistic work. The exhibits on display span early student and postgraduate drawings, later 1950s and 1960s paintings, through to much more recent creations.

There is much to commend this retrospective, not least the timely appreciation for Rock’s thoughtful exploration of colour, texture, weathering and detail in an architectural context, not to mention a chance to savour his award-winning colour scheme paintings like the Owen Jones-awarded scheme for urban colour and the Thames riverside scheme which won the 1953 Soane Medallion.

artwork with buildings and blue sky

Tynemouth Pavilion elevation, 1950.

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festival artwork

Festival 2051, 1951.

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house view artwork

Full Frontal 2, San Gimignano, 2008.

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artwork with door and window

God in the detail - tribute to Eric de Mare, 2008.

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building view art work

Job Lot Provence, 2002.

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artwork with streetlight and houses's

La Garnatilla, Spain, 2008.

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artwork of a showroom

Piano Showroom, 1951.

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artwork with houses

Shoreditch 1, 2010.

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artwork of the house and the neighbourhood

Shoreditch 2, 2010.

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artwork with water and building

Soane: Thames Riverside, 1953.

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different artworks combined

Soane Medallion, 1953.

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artwork of a church

San Agostina, Taormina 2, 2009.

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house with people standing outside artwork

Three Men and Wires, 2001

(Image credit: press)


Eleven Sptialfields
11 Princelet Street
London E1 6QH


Ellie Stathaki is the Architecture & Environment Director at Wallpaper*. She trained as an architect at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece and studied architectural history at the Bartlett in London. Now an established journalist, she has been a member of the Wallpaper* team since 2006, visiting buildings across the globe and interviewing leading architects such as Tadao Ando and Rem Koolhaas. Ellie has also taken part in judging panels, moderated events, curated shows and contributed in books, such as The Contemporary House (Thames & Hudson, 2018), Glenn Sestig Architecture Diary (2020) and House London (2022).