Timothy Brittain-Catlin speaks about Robin Hood Gardens

Joe Gilbert’s latest film, Streets on the Sky, is the first in a series that will look at Robin Hood Gardens, the housing estate in Poplar designed by Peter and Alison Smithson that is threatened with demolition. Timothy Brittain-Catlin speaks about the historic and architectural importance of the estate here:

https://vimeo.com/142528155

Joe Gilbert is a prize-winning filmmaker who specialises in short films on Brutalist housing. For more about his work see:

http://joe-gilbert.tumblr.com/

For more about the estate see:

http://www.c20society.org.uk/news/c20-revives-campaign-to-save-robin-hood-gardens/

Dr Timothy Brittain-Catlin on Thanet architect Edgar Ranger

The latest number of the Journal of the Twentieth Century Society has just been published, and it contains an article by Timothy Brittain-Catlin on Thanet architect Edgar Ranger. Ranger launched his career as the designer of sophisticated, upmarket neo-Tudor houses with a series of homes in Broadstairs, the town where he lived for ten years from the mid-1920s.

‘Modern’ neo-Tudor houses such as Ranger’s are under appreciated and very few are protected by listing. One of Ranger’s finest, Edgecliff on the North Foreland Estate, which was published internationally, was demolished only recently by a developer who then failed to build on the site. Ranger was also the co-architect of Thanet Place, a large Italianate country house on the edge of Broadstairs built for the meat tycoon Lord Vestey.

This number of the Journal is devoted to the work of twentieth-century British architects who designed one-off private houses outside London. Further details are available here and the Journal is available through Amazon.

Dr Timothy Brittain-Catlin and Tim Fox-Godden to speak at the Graduate Student Research Forum

The third annual Graduate Student Research Forum, hosted by the Society of Architectural Historians of Great Britain is being held on Saturday, 11th April 2015 at the University of Edinburgh. Dr Timothy Brittain-Catlin from the Kent School of Architecture has been invited to speak as part of a group of experienced practitioners, based on his recent book, Bleak Houses: Disappointment and Failure in Architecture, about alternative ways of writing architectural history. Joining him, will be one of our postgraduate students, Tim Fox-Godden, who will be presenting his research on ‘Sites of Memory Beyond Mourning? Remembrance and place in the war cemeteries of the old Western Front’.

Included in the panel of expert practitioners are Richard Anderson (University of Edinburgh), Kathryn Ferry (Freelance writer and scholar), Hannah Malone (Magdalene College, University of Cambridge), Chris Miele (Montagu Evans) and Olivia Horsfall Turner (V&A + RIBA Architecture Partnership), all of whom have vast experience in the fields of architectural history, conservation, and curatorship.

The practitioners will participate in panel discussions based on each postgraduate student’s ten minute presentations about their topic of research in a sequence of ‘Lightning Round’ talks. The idea of the Forum is to break away from the traditional conference atmosphere, and to create a lively and responsive environment where students, academics and professionals can freely discuss and exchange relevant knowledge and experience. To close the event, there will be a keynote address by Professor Iain Boyd Whyte from the University of Edinburgh.

For more information, please visit: http://www.sahgb.org.uk/graduate-student-research-forum.html

Dr Timothy Brittain-Catlin lectures at “The Origins and Significance of Residential Gothic Architecture in Ottawa”

Dr Timothy Brittain-Catlin was invited to lecture at the Heritage Ottawa’s two day colloquium entitled “The Origins and Significance of Residential Gothic Architecture in Ottawa”. The colloquium began on Friday morning with an excursion to the Gothic influenced Old St Mary’s Church (1822-1825) followed by a guided tour of Earnscliffe (1855 – 1857), former home of Sir John A. Macdonald and current residence of the British High Commissioner in Canada. Dr Brittain-Catlin’s lecture on Friday evening was held at St. Alban’s Church, his presentation on the architect A.W.N. Pugin was much anticipated and very well received.

Dr Timothy Brittain-Catlin said: ‘it was an honour to join this important event. It has been very exciting to discover how Pugin’s ideas not only arrived in Ottawa but took such powerful and distinct form. We know about the influence of the British gothic revival on Canadian church architecture, but to discover such a clear impact of the revolutionary pinwheel on domestic architecture was a revelation. Thanks to the excellent work of Bruce Elliott, David Jeanes and their colleagues, future appreciation of these important houses looks much more secure’.

Whilst in Ottawa Dr Brittain-Catlin also acted as visiting scholar at the Department of Art History, at the invitation of Professor Peter Coffman, and amongst other activities talked about his new book Bleak Houses: disappointment and failure in architecture.

Nineteenth and Twentieth-Century Convents and Monasteries

English Heritage has just published its new ‘Introduction to Heritage Assets’ on Nineteenth and Twentieth-Century Convents, written by KSA’s Gothic Revival specialist Dr Timothy Brittain-Catlin.

These Introductions are written by experts and peer-reviewed before publication. They provide architectural enthusiasts and the general reader as well as conservation officers and other professionals with an outline of the history of important building types and an insight into priorities in conservation policy.

The Introduction can be freely downloaded from English Heritage’s website:

http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/publications/iha-19-20-century-convents-monasteries/

Dr Brittain-Catlin is currently working on other Gothic Revival projects, including a book based on KSA’s highly successful 2012 international conference ‘New Directions in Gothic Revival Studies Worldwide’, and contributions to the forthcoming volume on Material Reform in the University of Leuven Press’ series The Dynamics of Religious Reform in Northern Europe, 1780-1920, both of which will be published in 2016.

Dr Brittain-Catlin can be contacted on tjb33@kent.ac.uk

Times Higher Education book of the week for Timothy Brittain-Catlin

Bleak Houses: Disappointment and Failure in Architecture, by Timothy Brittain-Catlin has just been announced as the Times Higher Education book of the week.

To read the article please visit Times Higher Education.

Bleak Houses investigates the underside of architecture, the stories of losers and unfulfillment often ignored by an architectural criticism that values novelty, fame, and virility over fallibility and rejection. Brittain-Catlin tells us about Cecil Corwin, for example, Frank Lloyd Wright’s friend and professional partner, who was so overwhelmed by Wright’s genius that he had to stop designing; about architects whose surviving buildings are marooned and mutilated; and about others who suffered variously from bad temper, exile, lack of talent, lack of documentation, the wrong friends, or being out of fashion.

The MIT Press
ISBN 9780262026697
Published 1 April 2014

Bleak Houses: Timothy Brittain-Catlin’s new book explores disappointment and failure in architecture

Kent School of Architecture is proud to announce that Timothy Brittain-Catlin’s new book Bleak Houses has been published. Timothy Brittain-Catlin is a senior lecturer at Kent School of Architecture and his writing has appeared in many publications including the Architectural Review.

Bleak Houses investigates the underside f architecture, the stories of losers and unfulfillment often ignored by an architectural criticism that values novelty, fame, and virility over fallibility and rejection. Brittain-Catlin tells us about Cecil Corwin, for example, Frank Lloyd Wright’s friend and professional partner, who was so overwhelmed by Wright’s genius that he had to stop designing; about architects whose surviving buildings are marooned and mutilated; and about others who suffered variously from bad temper, exile, lack of talent, lack of documentation, the wrong friends, or being out of fashion.

“Bleak Houses is a unique guide through architecture’s own disconsolate circles of hell, from the hopelessness of revivalism to the curse of the mutilating extension. At once comic and bitter, wry and lachrymose, Brittain-Catlin’s Virgil inducts the reader in architecture’s vast lacunae of the mediocre, the disappointed and the sad. In speaking to and for the many buildings for which there is no discourse because they merit none, he skilfully reveals how failure can be a whole lot more illuminating than success. This book will make a lot of architects, myself included, feel very uncomfortable indeed.”
—Francesca Hughes

To read more please visit The MIT Press.