Over the years I have created quite a few one point perspectives. The following are samples of layouts, both hand and computer generated. Some illustrate an aspect of layout work, but most are simply here to show the range of projects that accommodate one point views.
This layout from the 1980’s shows a pedestrian way through the Harper and Row Headquarters Building in Manhattan. It is essentially an elevation with steps in the foreground, and a rectangular passage receding geometrically into the distance. It could have been worked out using a diagonal vanishing point alone, but was actually constructed from a measured plan which can be seem in light pencil under the passageway itself. The most difficult part was the lettering on the cylinder to the left of the opening, which was worked out by eye.
This view of an office hallway at the General Reinsurance Headquarters in Manhattan was typical for sketches in the ‘80s. The plan can be seen at the bottom of the column, and the picture plane line and horizon line are the same. The drawing was not done to “sell” the concept, but was merely a taste of the finished space. Such sketches were the “bread and butter” of rendering work 30 years ago, but are done by computer in no time now.
This executive office is more complex than the preceding layout, but was done with the same limited intension. In this case a blue print plan was placed under a sheet of vellum, and the position of various corners and objects were marked on the picture plane (the horizontal line near the top of the desk). It is interesting in that it has a diagonal wall on the far right, and has a mirror directly in front of the desk (which shows the reflection of the diagonal wall).
This view of a high end furniture headquarters is relentlessly orthogonal, but has enough going on to make it interesting. The plan can be seen ghosted on the foreground, and, again, the picture plane line is the same as the horizontal line. Perhaps the hardest part of this drawing was the figures (“designy”, but not outré).
As noted before, exterior views of buildings don’t often make sense for one point perspectives. When you are viewing a large exterior space, as with this urban development project in Glasgow by KPF, it can be very effective. The construction lines are not visible on this drawing, but I do remember that it was worked out from a blue print. Note, that the tower at the center of the image is essentially an elevation with minimal shifts to show depth.
The original conception for this apartment building lobby involved a polished marble floor of equilateral triangles. Once that grid was constructed the position of everything else was settled. This layout was the first step in a process that culminated in a finished color rendering, which became part of the rental brochure.
Greenwich Mews is a row of townhouses in the West Village of NYC. When it was originally proposed they needed a perfectly accurate rendering to sell the concept to both buyers and the city agencies. It too became a complete colored rendering, but all the colors and materials were closely controlled so as to avoid any blow-back from disappointed buyers. These townhouses go for about $5 million these days.
Pei Cobb Freed Architects developed plans for the Barcelona waterfront in the late 80’s. This is one sketch showing a gateway structure leading from the Placa de les Drassanes to the Moll de Barcelona, with a new World Trade Center at its tip. This was one of a number of sketches on trace paper that added new structures to an existing view.
Perhaps the best known of my renderings is that of Pei’s Louvre renovation/addition. I had heard of the project before, but had not understood the extent of the construction until I was called on to reveal the underground space in a single perspective. The final layout was a conglomeration of a dozen photos, a computer wireframe, and hand layout work. Most of the existing structure was under scaffolding, so even that had to be filled in by hand. The final airbrush and acrylic rendering can be seen HERE.
The Old AT&T Building was converted to general office space back in the 80’s. The magnificent lobby was cleaned and restored to its previous glory. This layout is mostly a tracing of a photograph with the reception desk added. It is however an interesting example of a one point perspective, including the distortion that is noticeable in the column capitols at the edges of the view.
Lower Manhattan is filled with old streets that are actually short narrow alleys, better suited to the 17th century than today. Dey Street is one of these alleys that was going to be converted to a pedestrian way, but was never carried out. This view of the proposal is another layout that mixed a photo of existing conditions and a hand layout of the proposed use. The octagonal paving pattern was actually fun to work out (ahh, the joys of youth).
This view of an auditorium at Franklin Marshall College shows a halfway point in working out the viewpoint, people and stageset that might work best.
This proposal for the new Police Academy in New York City also shows a hybrid of computer and handwork. It was done at the time when computer rendering was still difficult and expensive, but wireframe hidden layouts were the norm. Shade and shadow, as well as any complex/natural object were always left to the person accustomed to hand rendering.
In this view of the Tokyo International Forum the trees, cars and people have been drawn onto a computer hidden line print, and the shade, shadow and general tones are being explored. I actually loved working with the computer at this point of my career; layouts can be boring and tedious, while working out the lighting and composition was always a pleasure.
The Philosophy building at Texas Tech is a heavily decorated building, but it pushed the wireframe business further along with surface textures, window detailing and general ornament. People, trees and the fountain’s water are still done by hand.
I am including this view of an auditorium at Columbia University as an example of a one point perspective that really is a highly complex layout. The stage proscenium and balcony seating vanish to the dot seen at the upper right, but everything else is either curved or has its own geometry. This rendering was done early in my career, and (believe it or not) was a really fun thing to layout.
The owners of this building on Fifth Avenue in New York City wanted to know what the new storefronts and entry would look like from across the avenue. It is only a perspective at the entry and the flags; an elevation would probably have done the trick just as well.
This proposal for a high end hotel in Manhattan was my single attempt at a “Paul Rudolph” ink rendering. It was a lot of fun to do, and may be one of the reasons I wear glasses today. It is a one point perspective, although much of the upper tower is using the diagonal vanishing points. Also, as noted before, it works as a one point because it is a section perspective with a large interior space.
Large auditoriums (auditoria?) are perfect for section perspectives. The Kansas City Auditorium illustrates this, being a large space for the audience and a large space for the performers. In this case the entry stairs and lobbies were to be featured, so the vanishing point (center of the green lines) is at the center of the main lobby. This drawing was created in Photoshop, starting with a section provided by the architect, Hugh Hardy.
The final art, above, was also done in Photoshop.
The next perspective posts will be about 2 point (yes, there is no hard line between 1 and 2 point, but you’ve got to cut the subject apart somewhere).
Perspective - Three Point Perspective- Hand & CAD
Other posts on Perspective:Perspective - Two Point Perspective - Distortions & Complications
Perspective - Three Point Perspective- Hand & CAD