by Jamie Bartlett January 05, 2022 8 min read
Creating concepts to constructing cantilevers…
Life as an architect is one of patience and persistence.
It's an endless pursuit, to sculpt one's design-approach with the same reverence as the building being made.
Resultantly, the quintessential architect is intelligent, observant and always bespectacled.
Architects regularly continue working beyond retirement age, therefore many require the use of glasses to see and perform the visual tasks of their practice.
Poring over drawings. Peering up at constructions. Fettling with scale models. All of which require varying degrees of close, intermediate and distance vision.
Stereotypically, and perhaps intentionally, architect glasses frames are often large and geometrical.
Most commonly? Round.
As if to exemplify their vocation, their choice of eyewear seemingly imparts their own kind of facial architecture.
See below for our top picks.
Charles-Eduoard Jeanneret (Le Corbusier) wearing his trademark round-eye spectacles. Image Source
Arguably the originator of the round architect glasses style, Charles successfully branded himself through his adornment of thick round glasses frames.
Famously, he became known as Le Corbusier and to this day is renowned for his revolutionary influence over what is now considered, modern architecture.
His radical design approach and enduring influence is matched only by his timeless choice of austere black spectacles.
Le Corbusier wearing his trademark round and thick glasses frame. Image source
The Le Corbusier's look?
These thick round glasses are stark with a strong utilitarian aesthetic.
If you were to wear something similar, they'd undoubtedly be a strong focal point in your appearance.
Ok, so you've seen an abundance of round black glasses frames.
But this article would be incomplete without the mention of Philip Johnson and his extremely pronounced round spectacle frame.
Comparably radical and as stark as his most famous building "The Glass House" the purism of his glasses reflects his distilled design principles.
Philip Jonhson's iconic "Glasses House" in Connecticut. Image source: Reddit
Between the above and below images, there is an echo of similarity between his glasses frame and his famous Glass House.
Most notably, his glasses have bold straight temples with no curvature for his ears.
For obvious reasons, this style of temple is also known as a paddle temple which take resemblance to the lateral steel beams seen in his most famous building above.
A somewhat abstract comparison, but Johnson's glasses are clearly as bold and as brave as the work he is so well known for.
During the 1940's Johnson's design approach embodied the emerging modernist architectural style.
The Glass House was an aesthetically austere building which arguably translates into his sense of dress and that oh so bold spectacle frame.
Don't you just love them?
"Don't build a glass house if you're worried about saving money on heating." Philip Johnson.
That round glasses style
As glasses designers and makers, we enjoy the unashamed statement of Philip Johnsons frame.
So much so, we made an entire Pinterest board dedicated to his incredible choice of eyewear.
Oh, and we also made these round black spectacles just like his.
Sir Peter Cook
Knighted by the Queen in 2007, Sir Peter Cook is an English architect and one of the founding members of the architectural group Archigram.
With his work at Archigram, Cook became known for his highly conceptual and hugely debated "Plug-in City."
Considering the outlandish and revolutionary nature of some his most famous projects, built and un-built, Cook is a highly acclaimed architect after an illustrious international career.
True to the round architect glasses style, Cook bravely adorns a pair of blue acetate spectacles.
This colour seems loud but due to the neutrality of his grey hair and pale complexion, he suits the vibrancy of this eccentric glasses frame perfectly.
Round blue glasses?
You might consider wearing this colour of acetate if you're looking for something a little more adventurous.
A pair of colourful glasses frames are an excellent choice if you have an outgoing personality and often wear neutral clothing.
Architect Neri Oman wears a subtle cat-eye glasses frame.
American-Israeli architect Neri Oxman has a varied background of design and biology.
In conjunction with researchers from MIT, her recent and most progressive project focuses on the 3D printing of renewable polymers sourced from ocean plastic.
Aptly, her oval glasses frame is also made from a bio-plastic called cellulose acetate. Just like our frames, this type of bio-plastic is biodegradable as it's made from cotton pulp.
The oval shape of Neri's glasses frame is slightly cat-eyed, made from a high-shine black acetate.
This style of frame is gentle and suits people with narrow facial features. If you have pronounced cheekbones and jawline, this style of frame would suit you very well.
An English town planner and architect, Jane Drew regularly wore her thick dark glasses frame.
Seen above, her frame's style is notably austere.
This frame-choice was an intentionally austere aesthetic to steel herself in her pursuit of the mostly male dominated architectural industry of the 1930's.
She was a brave and progressive woman and her glasses very much encompassed her unwavering ambition.
Italian architect and designer, Andrea Branzi is best know for his work during the radical period of Italian architecture between the years 1960 -1970.
Reminiscent of Le Corbusier's frame of choice, Andrea's round glasses style features regularly in his attire.
Seen in the image below, he opts for this shape of frame in various acetate colours and patterns.
Architect Andrea Branzi fondly wears his thick round glasses. Image sourced from: Domaine Chaumont
Andrea's freckled complexion is complimented and harmonised by his spectacle frame.
In this example of architect glasses, the natural appearance of Andrea's speckled frame is a reminder of how timeless tortoise-acetate can really be.
Notice his practical use of his frame strap, presumably for poring over blueprint drawings on his desk.
We particularly like the charming rivet clusters that join Andrea's frame together.
In contemporary eyewear, the use of three-rivets is less common unless it's used for chunky frames with large temples.
However, three rivet hinges are a very strong formation, which permanently fastens the hinges-parts to the temples and frame front.
If you've ever wondered about the names for the parts of your glasses, check out this handy blog.
Are round glasses for you?
These classic tortoise glasses frames have enduring appeal and are made from a utterly timeless acetate.
For a studious look, these are the glasses for you.
Architect Mabel O.Wilson wears here bold cat-eye glasses frame. Image source: Bard Graducate
The resurgence of classic style eyewear has seen the re-popularisation of 1950's spectacles design.
Architect Mabel O.Wilson proudly wears her heavily cat-eyed glasses frame to great affect. This is a bold style with a strong 1950's kitsch aesthetic.
Fan of the 50's frames?
For women, this style is an eternal favourite thanks to it's sweeping, feminine bridge.
Seen above, this type of frame is most adaptable in dark colours such as black or tortoise.
Japanese architect Kazuyo is best known for her playful integration between interior and exterior in her extensive architectural work.
Artfully, Kazuyo's design approach implements contrasting surfaces in her buildings such as metals, glass and marble.
As the second ever women to win the architecturally acclaimed Pritzker Prize in 2010, Kazuyo is a prime example of women in her field.
Architect Kazuyo Sejima opts for a rectangular black glasses frame. Image Source
Square black glasses?
In the image above, Kazuyo's choice of glasses is quite stylised.
A boxy black glasses frame like this is a perfect way to balance soft facial features. If you have a round face-shape, these are the architect glasses for you.
Award winning architect Piers Taylor has been recently televised in the BBC series "The worlds most extrordinary homes."
His work heavily focuses on cost-conscious building techniques and processes to explore the possibilities of budget within domestic projects.
His previous hit-programme "The house £100k built" showcases his interest for domestically accessible design and architecture.
Taylor often uses quick sketches to convey techniques and building ideas for both the viewer and the project-clients.
His friendly demeanour and creative characteristics marry with his often vibrant attire. In the image above, his choice of thick square glasses are a dominant feature in his dress.
Thick square glasses?
Interior architect Sevil Peach wears her large rectangular glasses frame. Image source: FrameWeb.com
Originally from Turkey, Sevil Peach studied Interior architecture at Brighton University in England.
Having worked in the UK for several major architectural practices, she formed her own studio SevilPeach Architecture + Design in 1994.
Her work primarily focuses on commercial workspaces where she aims to tap into the culture and potential of the people who work there.
Interior architect Sevil Peach wearing her large black rectangular glasses frame: Image source: Vitra
Large black glasses frame?
In the image above, Sevil adorns a large rectangular glasses frame.
Juxtaposing her warm smile and round face, her choice of glasses strikes a good degree of balance against her white-grey hair.
As with most of the architect glasses shown in this article, Sevil's style is understated and unbranded.
Denise Scott Brown
South African architect Denise Scott brown has been described as one of the most influential architects of the twentieth century.
Incongruous to the vastly male-dominated architectural industry of the time, Brown defied the ever-present sexism during her successful architectural career.
Most prominently, she wrote a what-would-be feminist essay titled "Room at the Top?" concerning the male dominance within architecture.
Denise has worn glasses for most of her life however we particularly like this example of her transparent glasses frame.
Spanish architect Oscar Tusquets is also a graphic and industrial designer.
Supplementary to his architectural career, Tusquets is also known for his partnership with Barcelona Design, an industrial design firm that specialises in domestic furniture and home-ware.
As an architect and a multi-disciplinary designer, Tusquets has a charming sense of dress and creative flair.
You don't have to speak Spanish to appreciate his sense of character in the video-interview featured above.
As you'll have noticed, he's opted for yet another round frame-style in tortoise patterned acetate.
Oval tortoise glasses?
Tusquet's glasses frame is entirely circular and is more of an oval shape.
This frame is less stylised than that of Le Corbusier's or Philip Johnsons glasses frames and is much less stark on the face.
A thin and oval pair of glasses are better for you if a full-round ones seems a little too stylised.
Architect Ieoh Ming Pei wearing his round tortoise acetate spectacles: Image Source
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