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.