April 25th, 2012
Continuity in Architecture is delighted to announce the opening of an important exhibition of twelve projects from the Erasmus Intensive Workshop held in Venice in Autumn 2011. The show features the work of post-graduate students from the CiA Unit of Manchester School of Architecture, collaborating with students and professors from Granada and Barcelona (Spain), Venice and Catania (Italy), and Oulo (Finland). The programme is in its third year and was established to explore the adaptation of archaeological sites for modern purposes. This year extraordinary sites of ancient civilisations in south-west Sicily - in Scicli, Syracuse, Paliké and Camarina - were the inspiration for dramatic design interventions in the landscape that redefined and reinterpreted place.The exhibition will be in the RIBA Hub, Cube Gallery on Portland Street from 26 April - 18 May 2012.
April 23rd, 2012
Buildings Outlast Civilisations. Throughout history buildings have been reused and adapted, they survive as culture and civilizations change. The already built provides a direct link with the past; it is a connection with the very building bricks of our society. The existing tells the tale or story of how a particular culture evolved. A simple building may depict a certain moment in time; it may relate the particular sensibility of specific era. A more complex collection of structures may have a much more elaborate story to tell. Jorge Silvetti describes this direct link with the past as part of our “fundamental urban condition”. He links the physical survival of particular elements of any built environment with the spiritual survival of our civilisation, and it is this visibility and durability of the physical man-made environment that are testimonies to the societies that produced them. “At the risk of sounding too partisan and biased, I would say that even in historic times documents were not always available, and buildings (monuments, vernacular constructions, and public works) are themselves important texts, often providing the first and most lasting impression of a culture.”*
* Interactive Realms’ by Jorge Silvetti
** Prospects for a Critical Regionalism by Kenneth Frampton
April 19th, 2012
Slides from a lecture given by Dominic Roberts at Liverpool School of Architecture, 9 March 2012.
Picture: Blackpool Tower on fire, 1897
April 17th, 2012
All Saints RC Church, Hassop, Derbyshire. Designed by Joseph Ireland and built 1816-18.”The design is in the severest Classical Revival style: a correct Etruscan temple front, tetrastyle, prostyle.” (Pevsner, Buildings of England)
April 3rd, 2012
Nottingham Contemporary Art Gallery
Caruso St John Architects
Completed November 2009
March 30th, 2012
March 23rd, 2012
Lattice and font. St Edward the Confessor, Kempley, Gloucestershire. Randall Wells, architect.
March 7th, 2012
Designed by Louis Delacenserie, inaugurated in the summer of 1905
W G Sebald in the opening passage of Austerlitz recounts a chance encounter and the consequent conversations that took place within the Station. He describes in detail the enormity and magnificence of the surroundings and explains its foundation…
“The model Leopold had recommended to his architects was the new railway station of Lucerne, where he had been particularly struck by the concept of the dome, so dramatically exceeding the usual modest height of railway buildings, a concept realized by Delacenserie in his own design, which was inspired by the Pantheon in Rome, in such stupendous fashion that even today, said Austerlitz, exactly as the architect intended, when we step into the entrance hall we are seized by a sense of being beyond the profane, in a cathedral consecrated to international traffic and trade.”
Over the last twenty years the station has undergone extensive restoration and massive expansion, and so now contains four layers of tracks, the lowest of which accommodate the Thalys high-speed inter-city trains.
March 6th, 2012
Three Mirage 2000 jets of L’armée de l’air fly north towards the Franche Comte/Lorraine border in this odd postcard from Ronchamp*. The aerial view is not particularly flattering to a building that was designed to be approached from the slopes below. The previous chapel on the site was bombed by the Luftwaffe during the Second World War and the remains were used as building materials in the new building. I suppose the chapel is being protected rather than threatened by the jets but what is the meaning of the title on the postcard back: flagrant delit?**
Mirage fighters were a feature of motorway travel in France in the ‘seventies and, flying in formation above the Autoroute near Dijon, evoked the over-dubbed delights of The Aeronauts*** a Saturday morning TV programme shown alongside Robinson Crusoe and The Flashing Blade.
*bought in the early ‘nineties and found in ‘the bottom drawer’
** in flagrante delicto
*** Les Chevaliers du Ciel in France (link)
March 5th, 2012
Sally Stone has just returned from the Winter School at the University of Antwerp. This important annual event invites academics and architects to run projects upon a specific theme, this years was Transformer.
Antwerp, an important city in northern Belgium, in the north of Europe, has been sought after and fought over for centuries thanks to its sheltered position on the estuary of the River Scheldt, the mild climate and the tolerant people. The legacy is a patchwork of ancient and modern architecture in which baroque rubs up against art deco, the traditional adjacent to the contemporary and the scarified next to the ephemeral
Look, said the voice … “A vacant lot at dusk” … “Long blurry beach” … “Sometimes you’d think he’d never use a camera before” … “Crumbling walls, dirty terrace, gravel path, a sign that says Office” … “A cement box by the side of the road” … “Restaurant windows, out of focus” … I don’t know what the hell he’s trying to get at.”
Antwerp by Roberto Bolaño
the City: the Building: the Room
“One could look from the campiello through openings, balustrades, screens, and discern the garden at the other side … and behold something at once a mystery and reality.”*
Architecture is the mediator between the City and the Room. An act of translation occurs at the point where the outside meets the inside. The window, door or threshold transforms the nature of the exterior and moderates it to accommodate the interior. When viewed from the hostile environment of the outside, the interior can possess qualities that are perhaps ethereal, enchanting or reassuring.
Imagine a crowd gathering in the Grote Markt, the quality of the light in the square, the coldness of the damp and windswept space, look through those twinkling windows of the tall imposing buildings, envisage what would be happening in these spaces, picture the character of the rooms behind the facades, create this interior.
*Carlo Scarpa talking about the Fondazione Querini Stampalia
The City: We examined the particular qualities and characteristics of routes from the Grote Markt to the edge of the central area, and then back again. This analysis led us to create proposals for the transformation of the journey into a narrative; that is a collection of forms and spaces that communicated the essence of this excursion.
The Building: We analysed the particular qualities and character of the Guild-Houses that face the Grote Mark. We looked at the size, scale, materials, construction, occupation and most importantly the quality of the light.
The Room: We translated the ideas that were developed for the abstract space into a real proposal for the interior design of a space or collection of spaces within the Guild-houses.
February 27th, 2012
Pugin: the Search for the True Gothic
2012 marks the two-hundredth anniversary of the birth of Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin, one of the most important architects of the nineteenth century. His approach to the interpretation and creation of a neo-gothic architecture based upon an archaeological approach to mediaeval sources was the key influence on the development of Gothic architecture in the Victorian age. This in turn fed Modernist theories of the relationship between the component parts of architecture and functionalist approaches to domestic design, particularly in the Arts and Crafts movement.
The church of Our Lady and St Wilfrid and the adjacent presbytery represent a unique opportunity to study a group of Pugin’s buildings in something near to their original state. The church itself is a total work of art; a rich expression of ritual, archaeology, local material and rich ornament combined to produce a beguiling architectural whole. Adjacent to the church is the presbytery, a severe proto-functionalist house displaying Pugin’s concern for the plan as generator, rejecting superficial stylistic references. Both buildings were designed by Pugin but constructed without his personal supervision. This was typical of Pugin’s relationship with clients and builders, and the method was taken to its extreme when an exact replica of this church was constructed in Australia.
Pevsner considers the construction of this “small but first rate” church to be so significant that it caused “the vigorous field of ecclesiastical architecture (to be) hijacked into True Gothic”… “His little Catholic church at Warwick Bridge is a perfect document of the new attitude, the revival of an ideal English Gothic with religious fervour” and “It is here and more or less precisely in 1841 that archaeological accuracy begins in English church design.”
How can the buildings at the church of Our Lady and St Wilfrid in Warwick Bridge be understood as the original model for a new approach to the understanding of true Gothic principles and a precursor of particular theoretical and practical approaches in Modern architecture.
There are particular opportunities for links with industry through collaboration with Francis Roberts Architects, an architectural practice with a reputation for sympathetic and skilful architectural conservation work. This relationship will aid the student and provide direct access to the parish priest, the parishioners, and expert historians and conservators.
Possible Aims and Objectives
Contribute to the understanding of Pugin as an architect and show how clients and builders remotely interpreted his designs. Compare the results with the original drawings.
Conduct a definitive historical and physical survey of the building. Access and analyse the building in relation to the documentary evidence. This search can use the Benedictine archive at Ampleforth and other sources
Analyse the techniques used in construction and decoration. Contribute to the development of a conservation plan.
Situate the design of the church and the presbytery in its historical context and place it within a contemporary discourse. Acknowledge issues of practical art verses theory
Contribute to the stewardship of these buildings through an understanding of original construction techniques and contemporary methods of conservation and repair.
Review the available literature on Pugin.
Informal enquiries can be made to Sally Stone, firstname.lastname@example.org
More information on how to apply: CLICK HERE (then select the ‘Art & Design’ tab)
February 23rd, 2012
This is the cover of the June 1969 issue of BDP Preston in-house magazine ‘Contact’.
BDP was founded in Preston and pioneered a team-based, democratic approach to building design in the era of the mandatory fee scale. In this illustration entitled THE INTEGRATED TEAM the BDP ethos is affectionately satirised.
I believe the artist was Peter Jones, an architect in the BDP Preston office. Note the representation of the QS ‘CALCULUS ABACUS’ in what appears to be a dunce’s cap.