"Joshua Tree"

by Claudia Melchor del Rio

The illustration « Joshua Tree » was based on a building by the American Architect Josh Schweitzer.

The original building, named The Monument House, can be found in California. This house was erected as a kind of vacation retreat for the family and it is meant to mimic the colours of the surroundings. The colours are applied to very strict geometric figures creating an interesting contrast between the surrounding organic landscape and the man-made architecture, which looks like a sculpture more than habitable space.

I studied architecture and I am currently working full time as an architect in an office in Basel, Switzerland. This is why I often find myself referencing architectural work in my own illustrations.I like to shed new light on well known architectural works ( for example in my series « architecture out of context » where I place well-known Buildings out of their urban space).

In this illustration, I set myself the challenge of working with a very limited colour palette in order to create as many textures and shadows as possible. I wanted to reflect on the concept of the building « growing out » of the landscape and adopting its colours. I ended up liking the contrast between the organic shapes of the landscape and geometric structure in the architecture.

I enjoy using references out of architecture books and magazines and forcing myself to transport this works of architecture into my own illustration world, merging the language of architecture and illustration which I don’t get to enjoy together that often as my architecture job is more technical and doesn’t allow as much freedom in creating beautiful drawings. In that way illustrating architecture is an escape route for me, a way of expressing the strength of a building using a more artistic approach. And a way for me to explore and get to know the history behind a building and show it to my friends and family.

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