Timothy Brittain-Catlin joins Historic England’s Advisory Committee

Timothy Brittain-Catlin has been appointed to Historic England’s national advisory committee. This group advises the heritage and conservation body on policy matters and casework (excluding London) where they are novel, contentious or set a precedent; it plays a key role in supporting Historic England with the intellectual, informed, balanced, long-term tools required to maintain public confidence, sometimes working on decisions which are part of a story several hundred years old. The committee is chaired by the distinguished archeologist Professor Michael Fulford CBE.

CREAte members have long-standing connections with Historic England and its predecessor English Heritage, with both Dr Brittain-Catlin and Professor Gerry Adler contributing monographs to the British C20 Architects monograph series. Dr Brittain-Catlin wrote Historic England’s Introduction to Historic Assets: 19th and 20th Century Convents and Monasteries (2016), which acts both as an authoritative statement of the heritage value of these important buildings and also as a primer for the general reader.

The appointment is made by Duncan Wilson, the chief executive of Historic England, and follows a competitive selection process.

Dr Nikolaos Karydis: Lectures in Oxford, Athens and Paris

On Friday 11 May, Dr Karydis gave a lecture at Trinity College, University of Oxford. Entitled ‘Visualising Justinian’s Church of the Holy Apostles at Constantinople’, the lecture presented Karydis’ work on the church of the Holy Apostles, which will be published in a forthcoming Dumbarton Oaks volume. Other lectures Karydis delivered during this academic year included a paper on Early Byzantine Architecture at the Institut National de l’Histoire de l’Art in Paris (30/10/2017), and a lecture on 19th-Century, Greek Revival Architecture at the National Technical University of Athens (12/1/2018). A video recording of this lecture can be found through the following link: http://www.blod.gr/lectures/Pages/viewspeaker.aspx?SpeakerID=4982

 

Postmodern listings – A Turning Point in Building Conservation

Historic England has announced this week that a number of major postmodern buildings will receive listed building status, thus preserving this important period of British architecture for posterity. Dr Timothy Brittain-Catlin, CREAte member and deputy chairman of the Twentieth Century Society which campaigned for the change, hailed this as a major event in architectural conservation history.

Dr Brittain-Catlin said ‘The Twentieth Century Society sees this announcement as an important turning point. Many of these buildings were at serious risk, and some were already being damaged or destroyed. This decision by Historic England comes as a result of a long campaign by the Society to draw attention to the monuments of British postmodernism and the risk they are at. We were the first to organise a major symposium on the issue, we made a presentation at the RIBA with a group of highly influential speakers, and we have organised walking tours and sell-out lectures to spread the word. It is important when making the case to protect buildings that show that there is wide public interest in them.

‘We won an important battle to protect James Stirling’s No 1, Poultry in the City of London from mutilation, and this latest decision shows that we were in the vanguard of the movement to protect Britain’s best postmodern heritage.

‘We supported the successful campaign to protect Sir Terry Farrell’s Comyn Ching development in 2016. KSA and the CREAte research centre value very greatly our connection with Sir Terry and we are delighted to be playing this an active role.’

Architectural historians Elain Harwood and Geraint Franklin from Historic England recently published their book on post-modern buildings in Britain in collaboration with the Twentieth Century society.

Image: Dr Timothy Brittain-Catlin, Charles Jencks’ Thematic House has been listed at Grade I.

Former MArch Student publishes paper in Health Environments Research and Design Journal

Former MArch student, Megan Catt, has published her paper, ‘The Reality of Wellbeing-Focused Design in Dementia Care – A Case Study of Acute Dementia Wards in the UK’ in the Health Environments Research and Design Journal (HERD), a USA based journal, supported by Kent School of Architecture’s Dr Giridharan Renganathan.

The paper studies the design of dementia wards in NHS hospitals, looking at wellbeing-focused design, an approach that considers the effects of the built environment on an occupant’s physical and psychological health. Dementia is a pressing health concern in the UK, with a high psychological care requirement. The potential for the built environment to reduce the impact of symptoms is significant, with an established body of research proving that by making even small adjustments to spatial design (with considerations for light, sound, quality of space, promoting social interaction and independence, maintaining privacy and dignity and triggering memories) improvements to patient health and care outcomes can be achieved, such as reducing falls, time spent in hospital, or blood pressure and stress. Design concepts for achieving these and other health improvements were analysed in the paper, and compiled into a framework of criteria that could be used to test for evidence of a ‘good’ dementia environment. The framework was used in several case studies, at wards which had recently undergone wellbeing-driven refurbishments. The observations, staff interviews, and testing against the framework, carried out during these visits highlighted successes and failures of the projects, showing where further progression is required in the creation of wards that passively assist health.

The research for this paper was originally undertaken for Megan’s MArch dissertation at KSA, where she looked at the design of wards for both dementia and maternity patients, two very different patient groups, each with specific psychological care needs. Since graduating in 2016, Megan has continued her research into the subject, focusing on design for dementia, with continued support from Giridharan Renganathan, who has helped me to develop the paper for publishing.

Timothy Brittain-Catlin joins the Azrieli Global Studio

Amélie Savoie-Saumure, Matt Breton-Honeyman and Pascale Julien in front of their joint project ‘All at Sea’.

On 19 April, Dr Timothy Brittain-Catlin joined a review of work from the Azrieli Global Studio at the Peter Guo-hua Fu School of Architecture at McGill University in Montreal. The Studio, funded by the Azrieli Foundation, is a collaboration between McGill and Carleton Universities in Canada, and the Technion and Tel Aviv University in Israel, and brings together MArch students from both countries to explore extreme environments through intensive research and design projects.

McGill students presented their work on sites around the Dead Sea and Negev Desert at a crit in Montreal just before their Israeli partners set off for the far north of Canada. Dr Brittain-Catlin reviewed their projects in a panel with project tutor Professor Howard Davies; School Director, Professor Martin Bressani; Mary-Jean Eastman, principal and founding partner of the global New York architectural practice Perkins Eastman; and architect Henry Tong. Associate Professor Aaron Sprecher and Tom Shaked of the Technion and Dan Shapira of Tel Aviv University also attended.

Alexander Bove presented the McGill team’s research findings.

The partnership between KSA and McGill goes back to 2010 when Dr Brittain-Catlin first joined Professor Bressani’s students for postgraduate seminars on nineteenth-century gothic revival architecture. With Professor Emeritus Jan de Maeyer of KU Leuven, they published Gothic Revival Worldwide: A.W.N. Pugin’s Global Influence last year.

Dr Brittain-Catlin joined a crit panel the following day to review projects from the vertical MArch / Stage 3 studio led by the renowned Quebec architect Gilles Saucier, whose practice Saucier + Perrotte won this year’s Gold Medal of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada.

Lydia Liang and Harriet Strachan present their project based on desalination pools
Featured Image: Professor Howard Davies; Dr Timothy Brittain-Catlin; Mary-Jean Eastman, principal and founding partner of the global New York architectural practice Perkins Eastman; architect Henry Tong; and Professor Martin Bressani.

Dr Nikolaos Karydis: Lecture on the Construction of Gothic Cathedrals

On Tuesday 27 March, Dr Karydis will give a talk about the construction, mechanics, and science of Gothic cathedrals. This talk will take place at Canterbury Cathedral and is conceived as a focused introduction, and source of inspiration, for historians, literary scholars, art historians and beyond working broadly on the middle ages and early modern period in Europe (including the British Isles). This talk has been commissioned by Birkbeck, University of London and forms part of a CHASE training programme entitled ‘Network: The Matter of the Archive before 1700’.

Image: Study of Gothic Vaulting, Nikolaos Karydis, 2006.

Dr. Luciano Cardellicchio awarded the Leverhulme Research Fellowship

Dr. Luciano Cardellicchio has been awarded the Leverhulme Research Fellowship. This prestigious grant will allow Luciano to develop his research project, ‘Our Future Heritage: conservation issues of contemporary architecture in Rome’.

A substantial number of iconic buildings distinguished by complex geometries have been constructed in the last two decades in Europe. For their cultural and urban contribution, these contemporary icons are likely to be part of our future heritage. Due to the use of bespoke untested building systems, many of these buildings are experiencing failures and premature decay.

This research wants to measure the transience of contemporary architecture from a technical perspective, engaging with the following question: will our future heritage be sustainable to preserve? The ultimate aim is to turn the ageing pattern of these iconic buildings into a learning platform to create new technical knowledge.

PhD Seminar Series: Howard Griffin

The next PhD Seminar will be given by Howard Griffin, MA Architectural Visualisation programme director, on Wednesday 14th March at 4pm in the Digital Crit Space.

Moving the immovable: projection-mapping and the changing face of architecture

The ‘lumière’ festival has, in recent years, become an established form of public festival, with many cities and heritage sites seizing the opportunity to attract large audiences and increase tourism revenues.  Lumière festivals now benefit from the advance in digital technology, which allows light to be mapped to specific surfaces and spaces through projection.  This form of light installation, known as projection-mapping, delivers an added sense of spectacle, with onlookers taking the chance to witness momentary changes to the urban canvas, engaging with buildings in new ways.

At night, artificial light shapes the space around us, highlighting routes, exposing features, forming shadows, and provides architecture an altered, arguably dynamic, identity. Whether by candle, fire, gas or electricity, light has the capacity to change the way we see the space about us.  Projection mapping amplifies this, allowing artists to explore notions of altered façade, and changes to character, style and materiality.

The visual sense dominates particularly when judging scale, distance, texture and so on.  Experience informs us that most buildings are inanimate; solid objects designed for strength and security.  Yet, albeit briefly, our eyes disagree.  Projection-mapping can create illusions that change the very nature of architecture, causing the viewer to subconsciously question and review the alterations that seem to occur.  Windows can spin.  Walls can wobble.  Buildings can move.  Torre (2015) argues that buildings ‘concretize’ animation, giving depth to two-dimensional image.  However, it could be argued that projection-mapping liberates the built environment, animating the inanimate, moving the immovable.

This presentation will explore the methods used in projection mapping to deceive and skew perception of architectural form and space, and argues that this form of light show installation not only conjures and deceives, but develops new relationships between people and the cities and buildings around us.

Timothy Brittain-Catlin to speak at Gresham College

Timothy Brittain-Catlin will be presenting his latest research in a lecture at Gresham College on the evening of Tuesday 13th March. This talk will propose the theory that Edwardian domestic architecture was based on a new concept of remodelling or imitating the remodelling of old buildings, especially ones with Elizabethan or Jacobean features. This idea emerges from a study of Country Life magazine and of a series of houses from the period. The lecture suggests that three houses should enter the canon of significant early twentieth-century architecture: Kingsgate Castle, near Broadstairs in Kent; Daws Hill, in High Wycombe; and Vann, near Hambledon in Surrey.

Gresham College is one of the most prestigious academic venues in the country, and the lecture will be attended by leading architectural historians. Admission to Barnard’s Inn Hall, off High Holborn, where the lecture will take place will be on a ‘first-come, first served’ basis, with entry from 5.30pm for a 6pm, start. Further information can be found on the College’s website: https://www.gresham.ac.uk/lectures-and-events/architecture-and-the-edwardian-era

The lecture will be available to downloads or watch online after it has taken place.

PhD Seminar Series: Michael Hall

The next PhD Seminar will be given by PhD student Michael Hall on Wednesday 28th February at 4pm in E.Barlowe (Eliot College).

The Stately Home Industry: The English country house and heritage tourism 1950-1975

In post-war Britain, the country’s relationship to its heritage changed irrevocably. Shifts in political, economic, and societal structures meant that long-accepted attitudes towards national identity were forever altered. At the epicentre of these changes was the English country house, which following this period became the prevalent symbol of English national heritage. Today, large country estates have claimed a secure place in the heritage landscape, however throughout the early to mid 20th century their fate was not so certain. This presentation will explore the ways in which seismic societal changes following the second world war were leveraged by a handful of aristocratic landowners to market their ancestral homes as tourist destinations, and begin to run them as commercial enterprises. It will trace this trend as it became more accepted and ultimately helped to form the heritage tourism industry that is so vital today.