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Mark Lascelles Thornton

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Architects and Our Right to Fail

The architecture world is a very different place compared to what it was ten years ago - a fact that is all too obvious for today's young architects, who bore the brunt of the financial crisis. But how can recent graduates harness such rapid change to make a positive impact? This article written by ArchDaily en Español's Nicolás Valencia explores the impact of the financial crisis on architecture in the Global South and in particular in the Spanish-speaking world, finding that it may be the inalienable right of the architect "to give yourself room to fail or to quit."

For some years now, three figures have been floating around that are worrisome to Chilean architects and architectural students: every year 48 architectural schools enroll 3,500 students and give degrees to another 1,400 in a completely saturated market. The future appears bleak, the professional internships are depressing, and among those who already have degrees, we're all too familiar with the exploitative offices that not only offer their employees zero contracts (or health insurance of any kind, all the while praying that nobody gets injured) but also make them work much more than they agreed to with paltry salaries and labor unions that have seen better days. Meanwhile at the universities, talking about money in studios, or about flesh and blood clients, has become a taboo subject. “Students, don't let money tarnish the beauty of the discipline” they tell you. Of course, not only does it not get tarnished, but we've gotten to the point where many don't even know how much to charge for a plan drawing, let alone for an actual project.

Artist Mark Lascelles Thornton On His Completed Masterwork: "The Happiness Machine"

Over a year ago, we shared a work-in-progress drawing project that captured our imagination with its combination of huge size and meticulously small details. Now, "The Happiness Machine," Mark Lascelles Thornton's 8-foot by 5-foot, three year long drawing project is complete, after over 10,000 hours of painstaking work.

Lascelles Thornton, a self-taught London-based artist who describes himself as "one of those kids that was drawing before I was talking," created the artwork as a response to the global financial crisis, focusing on themes of socio-economics, consumerism, globalism, resource shortages, urbanism and architecture. We spoke to Lascelles Thornton about his artwork, discussing the themes of the piece and the commitment - or, as he describes it, "emotional engineering" - required for such a colossal undertaking.

For the full interview - and detailed images of the drawing - read on after the break

© Mark Lascelles Thornton © Mark Lascelles Thornton © Mark Lascelles Thornton © Mark Lascelles Thornton + 21

The Happiness Machine: The Detailed Drawings of Mark Lascelles Thornton

With just a Rotring Isograph pen on arches paper, artist Mark Lascelles Thornton completed this scrupulously detailed architectural drawing project titled "The Happiness Machine". Each sheet represents a city - such as Chicago, Shanghai, London and New York - and is stylized in red and gray ink.

In addition to the meticulous detail of the buildings, the work is even more amazing considering the scale: the final piece will spread across eight panels measuring 8 by 5 feet.

Continue for more images...