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
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.
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.
Dr Luciano Cardellicchio presented the first results from his Leverhulme-funded research project ‘Our Future Heritage’ at the 8th International Conference on Construction Research organised by the prestigious Eduardo Torroja Institute in Madrid. The principal purpose of the institute is to carry on scientific research and technical development in the field of construction and construction materials.
The paper titled ‘Ageing pattern of Contemporary Concrete: the case study of the Jubilee Church by Richard Meier in Rome’ has received a mention from the conference jury, which included the editor of Casabella Professor Francesco Dal Co, award-winning Portuguese architect Eduardo Souto De Moura, and the Director of the Eduardo Torroja Foundation Pepa Cassinello.
Timothy Brittain-Catlin will be joining the world’s leading architects at the World Architecture Festival in Amsterdam at the end of November. The Festival’s super jury includes Sir David Adjaye and Nathalie de Vries, director and co-founder of MVRDV, and other participants include Simon Allford, Allison Brooks, Nigel Coates, Peter Cook, Deborah Saunt and many more from all over the world. Rem Koolhaas, Reinier de Graaf and Charles Jencks are among the speakers, and Catherine Croft, director of the Twentieth Century Society, and the editor and critic Catherine Slessor will also be participating.
Dr Brittain-Catlin will be part of a judging panel that includes Joyce Owens of Studio AJO and Torben Østergaard of the international Danish practice 3XN for the Future Projects category. The Festival runs from 28th to 30th November and will be held at the RAI Amsterdam convention centre.
The World Architecture Festival is the only global awards programme where architects present their completed buildings and future projects live to a panel of internationally renowned judges and delegates from around the world. This year there will be more award finalists to see, more presentations and prizes to be received, more delegates to network and more fringe activity than ever before.