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.

Timothy Brittain-Catlin to head prestigious new editorial board in architectural history

The respected academic art and architectural history Lund Humphries is delighted to announce a new series within its revived architecture and design programme: Architectural History of the British Isles.  Dr Timothy Brittain-Catlin will heading up an esteemed Editorial Board comprised of nine of Britain and Ireland’s top architectural historians. British architectural history has a very prominent reputation internationally and sets the standard for publishing and for the development of new ideas and narratives: this series will comprise fascinating and insightful illustrated books, produced to the highest standards.

Dr Brittain-Catlin’s own monograph on Edwardian domestic architecture will be published by Lund Humphries in 2020.

Timothy Brittain-Catlin to speak at the European Year of Cultural Heritage

Timothy Brittain-Catlin will be speaking on British Victorian architects from A.W.N. Pugin to W.R. Lethaby as part of the series on Architectural History organised for the European Year of Cultural Heritage. His lecture, ‘Pugin’s House: a home for all Europe?’ will describe European influences on one of the most influential periods of British design, and how in return the work of the Arts and Crafts Movement came to play a major role in Germany.

He joins a prestigious group of leading architectural historians which include Simon Thurley, the Gresham Professor of Built Environment and former chief executive of English Heritage, and the mediaeval historian John Goodall of Country Life, author of the highly praised The English Castle.

The lecture will be held at Europe House, the offices of the European Commission in London, at 32 Smith Square, London SW1P 3EU, on Thursday 15th February at 18.30, with refreshments from 18.00.

Further information about the 2018 European Year of Cultural Heritage can be found here: http://european-heritage.co.uk/

All welcome but booking (free) is essential: comm-lon-rsvp@ec.europa.eu

The English Parsonage in the Early Nineteenth Century

From this page you can access the entire text of my book The English Parsonage in the Early Nineteenth Century, chapter by chapter. We have scanned the book in its entirety, but if we eventually find the publisher’s pdfs we will upload those instead and thus allow searching for text.

The book had three purposes:

  1. To present and describe the detached house of the first part of the nineteenth century, emphasising the radical changes that came over its design, by means of the wonderful drawings and other documents found in diocesan archives that accompanied the building of parsonage houses during that era
  2. To describe and illustrate the role played by A.W.N. Pugin in those changes more fully than had been done before. I had studied Pugin’s domestic and residential architecture for my PhD in 2000-2003
  3. To present a theory of ‘realism’ is the term I have chosen (based on earlier work by James Stevens Curl and Chris Brooks in particular) to describe the way of designing practised by the Puginite gothic revival architects. In the forthcoming Blackwell Companion to Nineteenth Century Architecture, I have defined realism like this:

In architecture, it means paying attention to the physical nature of both the materials and the practical function of a designed object from its overall form to its smallest details: in fact, the realist architect believed that these details should be designed coherently so as to constitute an indivisible part of the whole concept of the building. Most importantly, however, a realist approach assumes that architectural quality emerges from a direct and expressive confrontation with real materials and new conditions of life. Thus a ‘realist’ building can be usually identified by its almost exaggerated approach to solving constructional problems. An early Victorian house might have a tall roof and deep eaves that are obviously and expressively designed to throw rain away from the face of a building, in contrast to the near-flat roofs and rendered parapets of most neo-classical architecture that were impractically vulnerable in rainy Britain.

Specifically, I was trying to move interpretations of gothic revival architecture away from the romantic (which had always seemed to me, as a practising architect, to be improbable) and towards something more professional and, indeed, more realistic. A further aspect of the book which in retrospect has seemed more significant than it did at the time is that house builders of the 1830s in particular saw it as important to build pretty, comfortable, pleasant houses and that gothic revival architects never talked about these things: in fact, architectural criticism seems to have treated these qualities with contempt ever since.

I would like to take this opportunity of thanking all those who supported the original publication and this online version of it. The Front Titles and Introduction lists all those who contributed to the original costs of research and photography. The full acknowledgments are listed below, but I’d like here to express my particular thanks to the late Martin Charles whose unrivalled architectural photography is the true success of this book, and to Allon Kaye who designed it beautifully. John Elliott, Geoff Brandwood at Linda Hone at Spire Books were outstanding publishers and kindly gave me permission to reproduce it here.

This online edition is dedicated to the memory of Martin Charles.

Notes for this online edition:

1. Copyright

The text is my copyright, but you are welcome of course to quote from it providing you provide the full details of the publication, as above. All illustrations are however copyright and you must seek permission from the rights holders listed in the file Image Credits below. The copyright for Martin Charles is held by the RIBA Library Photographs Collection. The actual graphic format of the book is copyright Spire Books.

2. Errata

The surname ‘Ovenden’ which appears in several places in the book should read ‘Oxenden’. Illustration 4.17 on page 206 is not of Railton’s Mathon parsonage my error was due to a renaming of the parish. I will add further details here when I have them. The third error that was quickly pointed out to me is that I have used ‘mortgagor’ when I should have written ‘mortgagee’, for example on p23. I am always grateful to anyone who can point out any further errors. Norfolk Record Office has asked me to provide the following corrected reference numbers for images: Fig 2.2, Lound: DN/DPL 1/3/38; Fig 2.47, Sutton: DN/DPL 1/3/58; Fig 2.53: Rockland St Mary, DN/DPL 1/3/52.

3. Requests from image copyright holders

I am very grateful to image copyright holders for allowing me to put this edition online. I wrote to ask permission from all of them and almost everyone replied. Somerset Archives asked that all plans be removed, so I have erased them.

Book Sections:

1. Titles and Introduction

2. Chapter One: The 1820s: Between the villa and the cottage

The start of the parsonage building campaign, with definitions of the three standard Georgian house plan types

3. Chapter Two: The 1830s: How easy it is to be pleased

Comfortable houses, and the Tudor Gothic style of the reign of King William IV

4. Chapter Three: The cusp: A peculiar character

AWN Pugin and his contribution to domestic architecture

5. Chapter Four: The 1840s: In a state of transition

The practice of domestic architecture on the early Victorian period

6. Chapter Five: The 1850s: A kind of pattern house

Pugin’s influence on gothic revival architects

7. Epilogue

8. Endnotes and Bibliography

9. Acknowledgments

10. Image Credits

11. Summary Translations (into French and German)

12. Index