CREAte director Timothy Brittain-Catlin was selected to speak to an international audience at the recent Preserving the Recent Past 3 conference at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles last week. His subject was how the Twentieth Century Society, of which he is deputy chairman, won protection for British postmodern architecture last year through a campaign of events, talks, publications, and listing campaigns and challenges, and an approach towards understanding these buildings based on his book Bleak Houses: failure and disappointment in architecture. The work of the British architectural amenity societies such as the C20 Society was described at the conference by a senior figure from the World Monuments Fund as ‘far, far in advance of that in any other country’.
Preserving the Recent Past is the leading conference for all those engaged with twentieth-century building advocacy and conservation and was attended by delegates from all over the world. The last time the conference was held was in 2000, so this was an eagerly awaited event. The proceedings of the conference, including videos of all presentations, will be eventually be published online.
Dr Nikolaos Karydis has been invited by the Faculty of Classics of the University of Oxford to present his recent work on the sixth-century Basilica B at Philippi, in Macedonia, Greece. Considered to have started in the first half of the sixth century, this major building was probably never completed; i.e. as Paul Lemerle demonstrated in 1945, the collapse of the vaults during construction must have brought a premature end to the history of this building. Lemerle attributed this collapse to a defective structure; walls and supports failed to provide sufficient support for the vaults. However, Lemerle and other scholars remain silent as to the reasons why such an ambitious building programme was to be marred by such a structural deficiency. Karydis’ work seeks to fill this lacuna. Based on a new interpretation of overlooked construction details, it provides new evidence for a previously unknown building phase. Challenging Lemerle’s perception of Basilica B as a static architectural form, Karydis has revealed older constructional layers indicative of a more complex building history. This helps to interpret the difficulties and limitations that the architects of Basilica B encountered in their effort to construct one of the first domed basilicas in Early Byzantine Greece.
For further information about this event, please click here.
Timothy Brittain-Catlin has published an account of the life and work of the architect-planner Elizabeth Chesterton in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Although he met Chesterton when he was still a student, he discovered the significance of her pioneer work when researching his book Leonard Manasseh & Partners (2010). Chesterton was the planner for the Manasseh partnership’s National Motor Museum at Beaulieu of 1967-74, a grand design almost on the scale of the great baroque gardens of the eighteenth-century, but, as with all Chesterton’s work, alive to the conditions of modern life, tourism and transport.
Possibly Chesterton’s most lasting legacy is her contribution to the debate about protecting historic town centres from over-development. In 1963 she persuaded the town of King’s Lynn in Norfolk to abandon their plans for large roads and parking areas and instead strengthen the old centre with new buildings that respected the scale, forms and materials of the historic core; this proved to be a watershed moment in post-war planning. In addition she set new standards for masterplanning layouts for sensitive landscapes throughout her career.
Chesterton’s entry in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography comes in recognition of the life’s work of this remarkable architect and planner.
Image Credits: Ian Baker’s drawing of the National Motor Museum, Beaulieu
This week’s Postgraduate Research Seminar takes place on Wednesday 13 February at 4 – 4.45pm in the PGR Hub at the Kent School of Architecture. This week’s PhD Candidate is Rawan Allouzi who will be be presenting her research titled, ‘Vernacular Architecture in Jordan: Vernacular transmission to meet the contemporary needs of the 21st century’.
‘Vernacular architecture is that kind of architecture which is related to specific time and place. It is most frequently applied to residential buildings. In the past, vernacular architecture did not use formal-educated architects, but depend on tradition and the skills of local craftsmen and builders. However, since the end of the 19th century, a lot of specialised architects have worked in this style which now represents part of sustainable design. All forms of vernacular architecture are built to meet specific needs, accommodating the values, economies and ways of living of the cultures that produce them.’ – Rawan Allouzi
Professor Gerald Adler, Deputy Head of School at Kent School of Architecture will be speaking at the Paris School of Arts and Culture on Tuesday 12 February about his new book, ‘Riverine – Architecture and Rivers’, co-edited with Dr Manolo Guerci, Senior Lecturer at Kent School of Architecture. The talk titled, ‘Rivers and memory – Georges-Henri Pingusson’s Memorial to the Deported in 1960s Paris’ will take place at 7pm in Reid Hall, 4, Rue de Chevreuse in Paris. For any queries regarding this event, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The next CREAte Open Lecture will be given by Alan Powers with his talk titled, ‘Pedagogy and Practice – a long view of architectural education’. The open lecture will take place on Tuesday 19 February 2019 at 6pm in Marlowe Lecture Theatre 1.
That you cannot learn architecture until you do it, and you cannot do it until you have learnt it remains a paradox of this discipline. Alan Powers will look at crises and episodes of change in the past 140 years of architectural education in Britain and elsewhere, and ask whether it is a uniquely problematic subject, or simply one in which vested interests have usually stood in the way of common sense.
Alan Powers chose as his PhD subject ‘Architectural Education in Britain 1880-1914’. He has continued to be interested in training both as an expression of changing architectural ideals through history and as a significant factor in transmitting them. Not having studied architecture himself, he has had opportunities to observe the mystifying process in action at the Prince of Wales’s Institute and the University of Greenwich, and currently at the London School of Architecture and University of Westminster.
Timothy Brittain-Catlin is the first speaker in a series of talks and discussion evenings at Sir John Soane’s Museum that looks at critical moments in history and their influence on architecture. His theme is the year 1906, when the Liberal Party won a landslide victory in the general election, and embarked on an intensive period of legislation that had a long-term impact on our towns and houses. The Housing, Town Planning Act of 1909 was the first comprehensive exercise in modern democratic planning in Britain, finally making an inroad into the rights of private landowners, and senior Liberals themselves built high quality homes at a great rate, creating not only country houses but urban landscapes such as that around Smith Square in Westminster. This talk is based on Dr Brittain-Catlin’s research for his book The Edwardians and their Houses: the New Life of Old England, which will be published next year by Lund Humphries.
The series of talks is organised by Owen Hopkins, Senior Curator of Exhibitions and Education at the Museum and Tim Abrahams, in partnership with Machine Books. It invites writers, critics, historians and architects to identify and reflect on a single Year Zero – when the trajectories of architectural and broader history connect and coincide and the status quo is changed forever. Further information about the event can be found here.
The next CASE Open Lecture will be given by John Mardaljevic, with his talk titled, ‘New York Times to Central Park Tower: Daylight Modelling for Performance, Planning and Conservation’ on Tuesday 29 January 2019 at 6PM in Marlowe Lecture Theatre 1.
When completed in 2020, Central Park Tower (New York City) will become the world’s tallest residential building and the second tallest skyscraper in the US. Measures of daylight injury predicted using climate-based daylight modelling (CBDM) formed part of the legal agreement for the design/development of the tower. This is the first instance, anywhere in the world, where daylight injury predicted using CBDM has played a substantive part in the legal agreement for the development of a building. NYC was also the location for a landmark daylight simulation project that began in 2004: daylighting the New York Times Building (architect Renzo Piano). At the time, the New York Times study greatly pushed the limits of what was believed to be achievable using daylight simulation on a live building project. These two milestone projects encompass a period where CBDM transitioned from a novel idea with potential to the mainstay for both research and practice worldwide. This lecture will illustrate real-world application of CBDM in diverse areas using the examples from New York City together with others from code compliance and heritage/conservation.
Kent School of Architecture warmly welcomes Dr Davina Jackson as its first Honorary Academic. Her appointment coincides with the publication by Lund Humphries of her latest book, Data Cities: how satellites are transforming architecture and design, in which she explains how rocket science and electronic technologies have changed obsolete practices and are expanding potentials for architecture and environmental design. The text surveys exceptional projects created by leading architects, scientists, artists, engineers, geographers, urbanists, gamers, gardeners, filmmakers and musicians who are reimagining life on our planet — and elsewhere.
Dr Jackson completed her PhD by publication at KSA in 2017, following the publication of her book on the Kent-born, New Zealand / Australian architect Douglas Snelling: Pan-Pacific modern design and architecture, on which she gave a talk to a full house for the Twentieth Century Society last year. Dr Jackson is an authoritative and highly respected historian and critic, and the CREAte research centre is delighted to host a continuing collaboration.
Riverscapes are the main arteries of the world’s largest cities, and have, for millennia, been the lifeblood of the urban communities that have developed around them. These human settlements – given life hrough the space of the local waterscapes – soon developed into ritualised spaces that sought to harness the dynamism of the watercourse and create local architectural landscape. Theorised via a sophisticated understanding of history, space, culture, and ecology, this collection of wonderful and deliberately wide-ranging case studies, from Early Modern Italy tyo the contemporary Bngal Delta, investigates the culture of human interaction with rivers and the nature of urban topography. Riverine explores the ways in which architecture and urban planning have imbued cultural landscapes with ritual and structural meaning.
Edited by Gerald Adler and Manolo Guerci, the book results from the CREAte (Centre for Research in European Architecture) conference held in 2014, and contains a selection of papers from that event in addition to pieces specially commissioned for the publication.