most influential piece of architecture ever built in Britain

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most influential piece of architecture ever built in Britain

Postby Paul Clerkin » Tue Mar 16, 2004 6:33 pm

Hugh's piece on the Crystal Palace [ http://www.hughpearman.com/articles5/crystalpalace.html ] got me thinking. What for you is the most influential piece of architecture ever built in Britain? Not what you think is the best building, but what you think had the most influence?
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Postby FIN » Tue Mar 16, 2004 6:38 pm

i have been watching some programs about the norman invasion of britain and so would have to say their medieval castles. not a single piece of architecture i know but say the first one of those as if showed the way for all castles not only there but here as well.
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Postby alan d » Tue Mar 16, 2004 6:52 pm

"Grayfriars"

Charles Voysey 1897
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Postby Hugh » Tue Mar 16, 2004 10:39 pm

That's interesting, because I'm convinced that the only two architectural styles the British have ever given the world, rather than borrowed from elsewhere, are Arts & Crafts and high-tech.

Other nominations welcome...

But why Grayfriars particularly? Most would plump for Moorcrag or Broadleys, from that great run of Voysey houses.
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Postby alan d » Wed Mar 17, 2004 11:29 am

........even more interesting is that one style is about the concealment of structure and the other concerns exposure.

Why, Grayfriars? This is where my theory falls down. Personal choice. I think it the most pleasing of Voysey houses and it's simplicity appeals to me. Glasgow's new rich though seem to agree.......the wealthier outskirts like Bearsden and Whitecraigs are dotted with Grayfriars influenced houses. Wilmslow in Manchester the same.

Arts and Crafts I agree but High tech though, British? What about Chareau's Dalsace House?
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Postby Hugh » Wed Mar 17, 2004 1:43 pm

Depends where you trace it all back to. If you see the roots of high-tech (and most of the key references) as being in the early to mid 19th century, then it's British: Decimus Burton and Richard Turner with the great botanical glasshouses, Paxton similarly a bit later, Brunel and Digby Wyatt with stations etc. Eiffel and Chareau are latecomers in this area.

The French equivalent of the Crystal Palace in tech terms would be the Palais des Machines by Ferdinand Dutert at the 1889 Paris Expo. But that was just a wonderful big shed, and came 38 years after Paxton's first Crystal Palace.

Thn again, if you trace high-tech back to Gothic cathedrals (expression and dissolution of pure structure) then it's French again, or possibly Arabic. Damn!

Agreed about Voysey. He could have been our Frank Lloyd Wright, but the Great War destroyed his client base.
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Postby alan d » Wed Mar 17, 2004 2:01 pm

Hey Hugh go back even further...... for me the colosseum in Rome is the first high tech building.

The roof alone must have been amazing.

What about Neo Gothic as a singularly British Architectural style?
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Postby Hugh » Wed Mar 17, 2004 7:14 pm

Pugin, Scott etc down through Butterfield, Waterhouse, you mean? The English Free Style, as some call it?
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Postby alan d » Thu Mar 18, 2004 11:19 am

Well yes......Pugin, George Gilbert Scott, Thomas Rickman et al. The Houses of Parliament and Rickman's St John's Cambridge must be the most photographed buildings in Britain........ for American and Japaneses tourists.

Perhaps Neo Gothic is too clumsy a term right enough......English Free Style says it ll and seems to answer my question........yet you will know that Scott drove Alexander Thomson crazy with his design for Glasgow University.

Thomson's own inspiration came from mock egyptian and greek sources......with a bit of taradiddle thrown in for good measure
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Postby Hugh » Thu Mar 18, 2004 11:45 am

As I read it, English Free Style morphed or branched into Arts and Crafts, so at a pinch we could regard them as aspects of the same broad movement.

Very influential, especially on domestic architecture, but by its nature nostalgically backward-looking (even Voysey hated being described as a proto-modernist).

The Crystal Palace is my candidate because it only looked forward. The fact that mad medievalist Ruskin hated it only commends it to me.

Strange that Paxton later went a bit doolally and historicist. Too much money, probably.
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Postby alan d » Thu Mar 18, 2004 12:02 pm

no..........I agree with the Crystal Palace. Forward looking, innovative at the very edge on known technology.............. as all architecture should be

Hard to think of anything as relevant, really just tried to respond to the challange set by Paul.
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Postby ro_G » Thu Mar 18, 2004 7:56 pm

Crystal Palace gets my vote. That and Brookside Close
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Postby Hugh » Fri Mar 19, 2004 11:53 am

Excellent point, ro_G. For television purposes, from sitcoms to drama, the key building type is suburban domestic.
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Postby alan d » Fri Mar 19, 2004 11:58 am

..........lineage back to Lutyen's Ednaston Manor, maybe?:)
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Postby space_invader » Mon Apr 19, 2004 6:45 pm

Alan D:

most influential building ever built in Britain?

probably a late sixties Wimpey house (semi detached, lawn, porch, red brick, gravel paths, concrete slab tracks to the garage, tiled roof) or maybe one by Barrat.

seriously!

it's only architects who get get inspired by stuff in Framptons.

And architects don't seem to build a hell of a lot of the environment these days.

y'know - I'm on holiday in Boston just now, so I really shouldn't be here.
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Postby alan d » Tue Apr 20, 2004 9:48 am

Well yeah, S.I. that's Lutyen's Ednaston Manor.....the prototype for all that Wimpey and Barrat stuff.

D'ya think Sir Freddy or George Wimpey thought it through themselves?

Boston, eh? Disappointment for me, I must admit. Big Dig was knocking the stuffing out of it............try Sam Adams Boston Ale though. None better.
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Postby space_invader » Tue Apr 20, 2004 2:50 pm

aye - suppose you're right. (about wimpey etc.)

I've not been into the town yet - just going in a few minutes actually (my brother lives in a town called Newton just outside)

last time i was here, the big dig was disrupting.............everything.

supposedly it's nearly done now - I'm interested to see what impact it has had.

boston though, is similar in scale to glasgow but it has a much better relationship with its suburbs and satellite towns than glasgow does.

many people (mostly young professionals) in scotland feel disconnected from the city if they don't live on its doorstep - not here though.

anyway - major wander off topic.

most influential building in scotland in the last ten years?

whichever structure it was that first deployed the dreaded cedar, white render and staggered slot window.

time to move on me thinks.
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