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January 19, 2010

Though I fear that I won't get to see it in person, The Drawing Center in New York has just opened a new exhibit of architect and composer Iannis Xenakis's drawings. Iannis Xenakis: Composer, Architect Visionary brings together loads of Xenakis's drawings, and illustrates the clear debt his architecture owed to music and what his music took from his work as an architect. The show is on through April 8th so get to it if you can. If not, then have a look at this slideshow to see what a truly powerful thinker he was. I love Xenakis, and though my cubicle-mates here at Dwell could happily leave his music aside, they'll certainly love his work as a draftsman.

"Study for Metastaseis" from around 1953 shows how architecturally minded Xenakis was even when plotting out a piece of music. "Metastaseis" is one of his most significant compositions and it was the basis for his Philips Pavilion in Brussels with Le Corb

"Study for Metastaseis" from around 1953 shows how architecturally minded Xenakis was even when plotting out a piece of music. "Metastaseis" is one of his most significant compositions and it was the basis for his Philips Pavilion in Brussels with Le Corbusier.

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Here is a more detailed view of the swooping arcs that inform his musical works in another "Study for Metastaseis" from 1953.

Here is a more detailed view of the swooping arcs that inform his musical works in another "Study for Metastaseis" from 1953.

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Another "Study for Metastaseis" from around 1953.

Another "Study for Metastaseis" from around 1953.

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Here is Xenakis and Le Corbusier en route to the Philips Pavilion in Brussels in 1957. The Pavilion was perhaps Xenakis's most significant architectural work, but Le Corbusier took credit for it. Xenakis left his office soon after.

Here is Xenakis and Le Corbusier en route to the Philips Pavilion in Brussels in 1957. The Pavilion was perhaps Xenakis's most significant architectural work, but Le Corbusier took credit for it. Xenakis left his office soon after.

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This drawing is a study for Xenakis's 1977 composition Jonchaies.

This drawing is a study for Xenakis's 1977 composition Jonchaies.

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This is another "Study for Terretektorh", also from 1965-66.

This is another "Study for Terretektorh", also from 1965-66.

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Here is Xenakis in 1974 pictured at Mycenae, one of Greece's richest archaeological sites. Mycenae was the fabled kingdom of Agamemnon.

Here is Xenakis in 1974 pictured at Mycenae, one of Greece's richest archaeological sites. Mycenae was the fabled kingdom of Agamemnon.

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Later in Xenakis's architectural career he designed a series of multimedia installations that combined sound, music, lighting and architecture which he called Polytopes. Here is the Montreal Polytope circa 1967.

Later in Xenakis's architectural career he designed a series of multimedia installations that combined sound, music, lighting and architecture which he called Polytopes. Here is the Montreal Polytope circa 1967.

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This "Study for Polytope de Montreal" from 1967 illustrates Xenakis's eye for a visual spectacle in full display.

This "Study for Polytope de Montreal" from 1967 illustrates Xenakis's eye for a visual spectacle in full display.

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This colored-pencil drawing is entitled "Study for Polytope de Montreal (light score)" and is from around 1966.

This colored-pencil drawing is entitled "Study for Polytope de Montreal (light score)" and is from around 1966.

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This is a blueprint for the "Polytope de Montreal (plans, elevations, axonometrics)" from 1966.

This is a blueprint for the "Polytope de Montreal (plans, elevations, axonometrics)" from 1966.

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"Study for Terretektorh (glissandi)" is a wonderful example of how Xenakis's thinking about architectural form and musical notation were inextricably linked. This pencil drawing is from 1965-66 and is from the Iannis Xenakis Archives at the Bibliotheque n

"Study for Terretektorh (glissandi)" is a wonderful example of how Xenakis's thinking about architectural form and musical notation were inextricably linked. This pencil drawing is from 1965-66 and is from the Iannis Xenakis Archives at the Bibliotheque nationale de France in Paris.

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Study for Terretektorh (distribution of musicians), December 20, 1965

Ink on paper

9 x 9 inches

Iannis Xenakis Archives, Biblioth�que nationale de France, Paris

Study for Terretektorh (distribution of musicians), December 20, 1965 Ink on paper 9 x 9 inches Iannis Xenakis Archives, Biblioth�que nationale de France, Paris

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Iannis Xenakis pictured in 1995.

Iannis Xenakis pictured in 1995.

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This 1963 drawing, "Cosmic City (aerial perspective)" illustrated Xenakis's essay on urbanism, The Cosmic City published in 1965 in Francois Choay's L'Urbanisme, Utopies et Realite.

This 1963 drawing, "Cosmic City (aerial perspective)" illustrated Xenakis's essay on urbanism, The Cosmic City published in 1965 in Francois Choay's L'Urbanisme, Utopies et Realite.

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"Study for Metastaseis" from around 1953 shows how architecturally minded Xenakis was even when plotting out a piece of music. "Metastaseis" is one of his most significant compositions and it was the basis for his Philips Pavilion in Brussels with Le Corb

"Study for Metastaseis" from around 1953 shows how architecturally minded Xenakis was even when plotting out a piece of music. "Metastaseis" is one of his most significant compositions and it was the basis for his Philips Pavilion in Brussels with Le Corbusier.

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