Iconic Glasses of Architects


One of the most loved accessories of an architect are eyeglasses. It is not just a statement piece but also a necessity. Architects have to work long hours in front of sketching boards and plans with details that are measured in millimeters and eyesight gets worse because of that. Glasses are a piece of architecture too, they are all different shapes and sizes and that allows a person to express themselves. They can be round or square, made from wood, metal or even paper. They can be bright neon or solid black. These spectacles have their own stories and as owners- most known architects are telling them.

Le Corbusier

He is a pioneer of modern architecture. This architect also started the rounded glasses trend. His spectacles look like eye of an owl, and were custom made by the elite Parisian eyewear shop, which is called Bonnet, even the famous designer Yves Saint Laurent was using this shop and their services. Le Corbusier is a painter and an architect. Round shapes show his love for functionalism. It is his signature accessory and you can’t imagine this architect without them. In 1920s, along with Edith Head, he started this owlish look trend.

Philip Johnson

Robert Damora © Damora Archive

Does it look familiar? It should, because this architect got his eyeglasses custom made by the luxury brand Cartier to look the same as his idol Corbusier. Johnson was a modernist as well and his shapes show that, because the classic ones were square shape. Frames are super thick, and that complimented his sense of humor. Johnson’s architectural style changed quite a lot over the years, but his glasses stayed the same and essential to his style. He wore the same style glasses for seventy years.

Richard Meier

This architect wanted to stand out from the crowd of his colleagues and wore glasses that looked like they were made of wires. He brought simplicity to modern architecture as his spectacles did too. He worked only with white materials and paid attention to geometry, which created wide spaces and light played a big part in his work.

Daniel Libeskind

His glasses were narrow and orthogonal, arms of the spectacles were V- shaped, that reflected his love for angularity in architecture. Which was first spotted in his Museum for Jews that he built in Berlin and after that became a theme in his later work. Libeskind has different colors of the same glasses to add a pop of color to a monochrome black personal clothing style in general.

Rafael Vinoly

Vinoly has four pairs of signature statement eyewear. This might look strange, but they all serve a different purpose. The first pair is to see into the distance, the second to play his beloved piano. Third is for reading and the fourth pair it to draft projects. His uniform is a black turtleneck and suit, glasses add some stylish accent to his classic look. There are many more famous and very well-known architects who wear glasses as a statement piece like Toyo Ito, IM Pei and others. Just as the 5 mentioned above, the form of their eye-wear reflects a little bit of their architecture.