Hampstead High Life

October 29th, 2010

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Luca Csepely-Knorr has commenced her studies at the Manchester School of Architecture into the work of the Hungarian architect Bela Rerrich and the British landscape and town designer Thomas Mawson prior to the Great War.

On 11 October 2010 the RIBA, the Goldfinger family, the National Trust and their guests formally presented the Scholarship award to Luca during a reception event held in Erno Goldfinger’s house 2 Willow Road in London. Amongst the guests were James Dunnett, Gavin Stamp, Kit Allsopp, Professor Kinga Szilagyi of Corvinus University of Budapest and László Magócsi, Science and Technology Attaché of the Hungarian Embassy in London.

Luca is pictured being presented with the award by Michael Goldfinger, and with Professor Szilagyi.

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That Goldfinger Touch

August 2nd, 2010

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The 2010 RIBA Goldfinger Scholarship has been awarded to Luca Csepely-Knorr to undertake an M.Phil at the MSA. Luca will be studying the work of Bela Rerrich (1881-1932), independent Hungary’s first town planner who had studied under the Windermere garden designer and town planner Thomas Mawson (1861-1933) prior to the Great War. Rerrich’s principal achievement was the cathedral square, Dom Ter, in Szeged which is pictured. Luca will be supervised by Eamonn Canniffe and Sally Stone.

The estate of the late architect Ernö Goldfinger (1902-1987) endowed scholarships in 1999. The scholarships are administered through the RIBA to support young Hungarian architects through a period of postgraduate study (in the fields of Architecture, Art or associated disciplines) or work experience within a UK academic institution or architectural practice.

Portuguese Picnic

July 5th, 2010

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The inaugural meeting of the European Architectural History Network was held at the beautiful Portuguese city of Guimaraes between 17 and 20 June and fulfilled the organisation’s mission to create a vibrant new forum for the study of the complexity and variety of European architecture.

The conference was hosted by Jorge Correia of the University of Minho and his team of ‘sweet, cute and smiling’ student assistants. A diversity of nations (and continents) was represented among the speakers although they were united, as Antoine Picon of Harvard Graduate School of Design remarked, by their shared difficulties with the English Language. Highlights included Paolo Varela Gomes of the University of Coimbra discussing the reception of Portuguese architecture and its relationship to different forms of imperialism, New York University Professor Marvin Trachtenberg’s magisterial reading of the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence as an expression of the city’s military confidence at the beginning of the fourteenth century, and a session on “Architectures of the Suburb” jointly chaired by Andrew Ballantyne (Newcastle University) and Elizabeth McKellar (Open University) which ranged from the Palladian Veneto to contemporary Mumbai.

However, the star of the show in every imaginable way was Denise Scott Brown. Despite her advanced years she held the conference spellbound with her subverting of revisionist modernist hagiography and her insistence that the praising of the delights of autonomous architecture should be balanced with a profound respect for social needs and contexts.

Other provocative images evoked included that of the isolated Irish monastic site of Clonmacnoise as a new Jerusalem (Jenifer Ni Ghradaigh, University College Cork), an analysis of the urban space of renaissance Mantua (Janet White, University of Nevada – Las Vegas) the documenting of pioneering Czech panel costruction (Kimberley Elman Zarecor, Iowa State University) and a study of the Swedish social experiment in mid-twentieth century Vallingby (Lucy Creagh, Columbia University).

CiA staffer Eamonn Canniffe contributed a paper to the well attended session “Architecture in Nineteenth Century Photographs” chaired by Micheline Nilsen (Indiana University South Bend) which covered amateur and professional photographers and academic and tourist audiences for the then new medium. His abiding memory of the conference, though, was of Denise Scott Brown fulfilling her wish to talk to Portuguese students shaded under a tree in the garden of the Vila Flor Cultural Centre.

The next meeting will take place in Brussels in 2012. The Call For Session Proposals is here.

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Eamonn Canniffe has been invited to give a keynote lecture at the above titled conference orgainised by Dominic Holdaway and Filippo Trentin to be held at the University of Warwick in February 2011

The Postmodern Palimpsest: Narrating Contemporary Rome

«What better place to await the end, to see if everything ceases or not?» (Gore Vidal, in Roma)

The city of Rome has always been privileged in its relationship with Western history: constructed over layer upon layer, from Roman to Fascist empires, with corresponding iconic images. More recently, films by Pier Paolo Pasolini and Federico Fellini have contributed to capturing the changes modern Rome underwent, with suffocating traffic passing dazzling locations, long tracks down shadowed streets and lively social gatherings masking potential violence. These images have been qualified as embodying ‘modern’ Rome. The closing shots of Fellini’s Roma (1972) linger on dozens of mopeds fading into the distant black as they abandon the historical centre for an undefined urban sprawl. The sprawl, the latest metamorphosis of Rome, overlaps with historical images of the capital to form a shapeless identity, a fragmentary postmodernity.

This conference, which will take place at the University of Warwick in February 2011, aims to shed light on contemporary imagined geographies of Rome: it will investigate the void at the end of Roman palimpsest, addressing the following questions:

- Where present and past intersect and overlap synchronically, is it still possible to represent ‘reality’, or possible only to capture fragments of it? Can we still perceive the city as a ‘master narrative’, or do we need to challenge the notion of one city? How can the city be perceived in relation to Italian and to European landscapes? How does the image of Rome relate to contemporary global cities? How is this historical shift represented in global cultural products, and how do they redefine our perception?

The interdisciplinary nature of this event is acutely represented by its two keynote speakers: Dr. Eamonn Canniffe (Manchester School of Architecture; author of The Politics of the Piazza: the history and meaning of the Italian square) and Dr. John David Rhodes (Literature and Visual Culture, Sussex; author of Stupendous Miserable City: Pasolini’s Rome).

More details to follow.

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Our colleague James Robertson continues his doctoral research on Jack Coia with a presentation on his work at the Association of Art Historians Summer Symposium at the Henry Moore Institute (24-25 June 2010) in Leeds. The conference theme is ‘Architectural Objects:Discussing Spatial Form across Art Histories’, and James’s abstract is below.

The Prototype Pavilion – Modernism, National Identity and Religion in the Context of Scotland

The national and international architectural expositions of the twentieth century gave designers the opportunity to craft on a small scale, with very distilled and often experimental forms of architecture. Through their participation in such varied architectural displays, designers would very often create work which in some way reflected the ‘mood’ of the nation or of the era. One such exposition, the international importance of which has not yet been satisfactorily documented, was the Glasgow Empire Exhibition of 1938.

A team of Scottish architects was commissioned to design the exposition pavilions representing industry and institution, in a nationally symbolic gesture of optimism following decades of economic and social depression. The pavilion of the Roman Catholic Church, designed by the Glasgow architectural practice of Gillespie, Kidd & Coia, headed by the Scoto-Italian Jack Coia (1898-1981), was one of the most striking, unconventional and overtly ‘modern’ pavilions created at the exposition, particularly in a religious context, and in fact could be said to be seminal in terms of modernism in Scotland in a wider sense[1].

In collaboration with artist colleagues and student apprentices, and looking simultaneously to Scotland’s national past and to international architectural developments, Coia fused artistic and architectural themes with a provenance in contemporary Italian architectural projects. The de Chirico-influenced metaphysical painting of churches such as San Felice da Cantalice, Rome (Paniconi & Pediconi, 1934) and the political montages of the ‘Fascist’ architecture of the time, such as Terragni’s Casa del Fascio, Como (1932), are critically apparent, as are the quasi-religious architectural devices of the Exposition of the Fascist Revolution, Rome (1932). Coia effectively experimented on a small scale with architectural motifs at Empirex[2] which would subsequently evolve into the ‘architectural objects’ of much of the firm’s later, more celebrated work.

It can be argued that that Empirex allowed Scotland to experiment with, through the medium of a small-scale pavilion in a national exposition, and through Coia, the prototype for a Scottish national version of ecclesiastical modernism, with potentially direct connections to Rome, the Vatican and the Italian artistic and architectural milieu of the era.

[1] The Scottish Catholic historian, Peter Anson argued in 1939 that the pavilion ‘may mark the beginning of a new epoch in Scottish church architecture’

[2] Empirex was an acronym relating to the Glasgow Empire Exhibition

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You are welcome to join us at at a private view on 4 May from 18:30 until 20:30 of:

Archaelogy’s Places and Contemporary Uses: An Exhibition

at Manchester Institute for Research and Innovation in Art and Design (MIRIAD!)
Manchester Metropolitan University Righton Building, Cavendish Street, All Saints, Manchester

The exhibition is on from 4 May to 14 May 2010.

This collaborative project was funded by a grant from the Lifelong Learning, Erasmus Intensive Programme and it started with a two-week international student design workshop in the early autumn of 2009 involving students from Continuity in Architecture Manchester, Venice, Barcelona and Catania. The workshop proposals were then exhibited at a conference at the IUAV in November 2009 before reaching Manchester this week. The design workshop was based in Venice and the students and their tutors (including Sally Stone and Eamonn Canniffe of CiA) lived in the city for the two week period. The results of the workshop, and a compilation of papers written by the lecturers who were directly involved in the project will be published in May 2010.

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The ongoing collaboration of Continuity in Architecture with Instituto Universitario di Architettura di Venezia and other architectural and archaeological schools coordinated by Margherita Vanore of IUAV reaches a new audience via the ministerial launch of the European Higher Education Area

Archaeology’s places and contemporary uses

(a link for which appears at the bottom of this page)

This collaborative project was funded by a grant from the Lifelong Learning, Erasmus Intensive Programme and it started with a two-week international student design workshop in the early Autumn of 2009. The workshop proposals were then exhibited at a conference at the IUAV in November 2009 and will form the basis of a travelling exhibition that will be in Manchester in the spring of 2010. The design workshop was based in Venice and the students and their tutors lived in the city for the two week period. The results of the workshop, and a compilation of papers written by the lecturers who were directly involved in the project will be published in May 2010.

The project is covered under the Bologna Process Aims on this website: European Higher Education Area: celebrating a decade of UK engagement

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As the vultures gather around the soon to be vacated carcass of E. Vincent Harris’s Central Library in Manchester, CiA student Michael Groves has discovered the above stygian description of the then new library’s 1934 context by an anonymous but poetic critic.

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Emerging Face

January 25th, 2010

Charalampos Politakis, a Doctoral student at the Manchester School of Architecture (supervisor Eamonn Canniffe) is currently researching the philosophy of anthropomorphic architecture. Here are some images and text from his Masters project which he completed at the University of Salford in 2009.

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From animism to the observation of nature, man has always turned his eyes to nature in order to explore it, study it, admire it, and deify the inexplicable. This relation between nature and man this ‘communication’ was an influence for mankind to create myths, works of art and architectural structures.

The ‘Emerging Face’ project is an artistic and architectural concept that finds its influences in Greek mythology, the anthropomorphic landscape, and the anthropomorphic structure of architecture in general. Anthropomorphic landscapes and how the human body and its parts are identifiable in nature, such as in mountains, has been a field of interests from an artistic and and architectural point of view, as well as the relation of the human body and the exterior form of architectural structures.

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The basic concept for this project was the creation, at this initial stage of development, of a 3D virtual installation based on the shape of human face. The face appears not only as a 3D colossal sculpture but also as a 3D architectural structure; a building with the shape of a face in a supine position. The user navigates the installation and the 3D environment with the use of the game engine UnrealTournament 2003. The design of the 3D structure, its environment and installation, is a first step towards this concept being presented for a future development in the creation of a building based on the form of the human face.

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Outstanding

January 5th, 2010

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The Politics of the Piazza has been awarded an Outstanding Academic Title 2009 by Choice the leading source for library-relevant book reviews in the United States. In his review David H. Sachs of Kansas State University describes The Politics of the Piazza in the following terms.

The book features an introduction and 14 historically ordered chapters arranged into four sections. Canniffe discusses the social, political, and economic conditions surrounding some of the most important public urban spaces of each historical era, and explains how these forces influenced the formation and evolution of each piazza. The book is thoroughly researched, appropriately referenced, precisely written, highly reliable, and genuinely insightful.

And you can Read more books by us

Manchester Cathedral dah-dah-dah-daah
You’re bringing me down dah-dah-dah-daah

(with apologies to The New Vaudeville Band)

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Manchester and Salford’s contentious relationship across the River Irwell has always assured a clear, if far from beautiful, distinction between the two cities. The long awaited attempt to blur the differences, however, in the form of the Greengate public spaces suggests a decline in ambition (not to mention the graphic techniques) - perhaps in both cases as a result of the economic crisis.

In contrast to the substantial, if problematically detailed, landscape that characterises the corporate environment of Spinningfields, the cultural significance of Manchester Cathedral apparently merits nothing more substantial than a bit of decking-as-footbridge, the usual ‘feature lights’ and some suspiciously familiar curved seating. Is the palette of the ‘public realm’, dread misused phrase, so jaded in our post-boom environment that the designers of this project (Whitelaw Turkington and Arup) are forced to reference the dubious delights of Manchester’s Exchange Square?

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Why not have done with it, replicate it all and put up another Big Wheel? Is it credible that any other European metropolis would treat its cathedral in such a parochial way? As always one looks for consolation and the pastel outlines of the blocks that frame these impoverished urban visions will at least remain just outlines for the foreseeable future.

Venice Workshop: Week 1

September 28th, 2009

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The 10 CiA students (with staff members Sally Stone and Eamonn Canniffe) participating in the international workshop at IUAV in Venice have had a busy first week. A briefing day was followed by two days of fieldtrips to significant archaeological sites and the project sites at Caldonazzo, Riva del Garda and Concordia Sagitarria. International design teams were formed with the other students from Barcelona, Catania and Venice and the projects will be presented in exhibition to a prestigious jury next week. The workshop’s homepage can be visited at THIS LINK…

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