William Firebrace Donates Drawings To The AA Archives

The AA Archives have been very fortunate to receive a stunning portfolio of student drawings by William Firebrace, produced during his AA Fifth Year, Diploma Unit 1 (tutor: Peter Wilson), 1981-82. Sketches and finished drawings for two projects are included, the first a Press Archives, an imaginative tour-de-force based on a site adjoining Fleet Street, the second a ‘House for a Columnist’, situated next to Holborn Viaduct. The latter project won the AA’s Neff Design Prize and was the subject of a review by Sutherland Lyall in Building Design of July 9th, 1982:

“… the Firebrace design is an imaginative exploration of the architecture of illusion: a curious public space within a house within a hollow column. The public wanders in at the half open base of the column where there are two phone boxes – one not working. The tower appears to be made up of metal drums with the columnist behind a great typewriter churning out vast quantities of copy in an oriel window dozens of feet up the column…” Viewpoints further up the column and at the top provide the startling discovery that the column is actually hollow. In reality though, the columnist occupies three floors (entering through the out-of-order telephone box), the optical illusion being provided by means of two cones, one inverted, which intersect the floors and contain respectively, a model of the ground floor and a removable plastic cap tinted to simulate the current weather conditions…