The first PhD Seminar Series of the year took place earlier this week with Khaled Sedki presenting his research, ‘The role of architecture in the urban modernisation and social transformation of the historic city and the representations of time.’
This presentation gave an overview of a dissertation on French architect, archaeologist and planner, Michel Écochard, and his work in Damascus between 1931 and 1968. It focused on the ways in which the architect’s work had influenced the urban modernisation of the city in relation to social and cultural transformations, during this period, and explores, in reverse, the City’s impact over his views on architecture and the development of his concepts and methods. The study relates concepts of time-geography in understanding the role of architecture in the representation of time, and develops a method based on New-Historicism to produce a narrative of history which evades reduction and escapes canons and celebrates complexity and multiplicity. The aim of the presentation was to bring the subjects of this study out of anonymity and to share some ontological concerns about architecture and illustrate some of the methods and concepts used to tackle this and to invite others to participate in this exchange.
On Thursday 22 November, CREAte (Centre for Research in European Architecture) will be hosting a great debate on the direction of design teaching in the School. CREAte have invited four leading guests to join a conversation about the broader aims of the upcoming Stage 3 BA (Hons) Architecture Collective Dwelling and Architectural Design projects.
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.
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
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.
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 & assistant professor at Keimyung University, Henry Tsang. Associate Professor Aaron Sprecher and Tom Shaked of the Technion and Dan Shapira of Tel Aviv University also attended.
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.
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 & assistant professor at Keimyung University, Henry Tsang; and Professor Martin Bressani.
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.
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.
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.
Dr Cardellicchio is invited to give a talk at the symposium ‘From Iconic Factory to Urban Factory’ organised by Prof. Marzia Marandola at La Sapienza University of Rome the 14th of February. After the keynote lecture of Prof. Nina Rappaport, from Yale School of Architecture, Dr Cardellicchio will present the results of his research on the construction of the Solimene’s Ceramic Factory by Paolo Soleri (1956).
The talk will focus on the role of the labour and importance of the local territory as key elements of the building process of this masterpiece of organic architecture designed by one of the apprentice of Frank Lloyd Wright.