if you could meet

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if you could meet

Postby Drawingboard » Thu Jun 07, 2001 9:21 am

If you could meet one dead person from the fields of architecture and planning, who would it be? and why?
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Postby Hugh » Tue Jun 12, 2001 6:02 pm

Will no one take up Drawingboard's challenge? Right then:

1. Nicholas Hawksmoor, post-Wren, when he was building amazing doom-laden London churches. Was he as much of a curmudgeon as he was painted? Brighten up, Nick!

2. Inigo Jones, early Jacobean, just back from his Italian tour of Palladio buildings. Any new ideas for London, Inigo?

3. Frank Lloyd Wright, half-way through the building of Fallingwater. Still on time and budget, Frank?

4. Edwin Lutyens, in New Delhi. Do you reckon British rule will ever end, Ned?

5. Michael Scott bumping into James Joyce down at Sandycove (is this chronologically possible?)

6. Richard Rogers and Norman Foster designing their (now demolished) proto high-tech Reliance Controls building, Swindon. So, you two: do you ever fall out over anything?

7. Joseph Paxton making the Crystal Palace, 1851.What on earth are you going to do with this white elephant when the show's over, Joe?

8. Decimus Burton and engineer Richard Turner sketching out the Palm House at Kew, 1840s. Not much ornament there, Decimus.

9. Callicrates at the Parthenon. Exactly how is this meant to be democratic, Cal?

10. Le Corbusier at the first client meeting for Ronchamp Chapel. No need to ask anything - he wouldn't listen anyway.
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Postby Hugh » Tue Jun 12, 2001 6:05 pm

Oh whoops, thought this was multiple-choice. If only one? Frank Lloyd Wright. Obviously.
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Postby GregF » Wed Jun 13, 2001 9:02 am

How about Brunelleschi for solving the problem of that dome and Monsieur Mansard for that wonderful roof he gave us.
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Postby deepnote » Wed Jun 13, 2001 1:40 pm

i have met a number of dead architects, unfortunately they are still practicing
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Postby Paul Clerkin » Wed Jun 13, 2001 1:56 pm

hugh, this is a dificult question, and i've been racking my brains to think of someone I'd like to have met.... would really like to have been able to sit in on the meetings of the Wide Streets Commissioners here in Dublin in the 18th century....


also when was the Reliance Controls building demolished?
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Postby Hugh » Wed Jun 13, 2001 2:25 pm

Reliance Controls, built 1967, demolished 1991. A lot of early high-tech has gone. Rogers didn't mind, saying - with some justification - that it was pointless to preserve such buildings as monuments once they had served their purpose.

There's an ad-hoc club of architects in Britain who have lived to see their buidings demolished. Headed, I think, by Andy MacMillan who has seen a number of his brilliant Scottish churches and seminaries (designed when he was at Gillespie Kidd and Coia) abandoned and/or pulled down.

But this is a digression. Drawingboard and I want more sugestions of great architects from the past you all want to meet. Rogers, of course, still lives, even if one of his buildings doesn't.
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Postby aland » Wed Jun 13, 2001 2:47 pm

What's important, that they are or would be good company or produced seminal buildings? Andy MacMillan is excellent company as well as being a significant architect. Is Richard Rogers the same? Judging by the number of people he sent to sleep at the RIAS Conference in 1999 , I don't think so, some how.
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Postby MG » Wed Jun 13, 2001 3:23 pm

Exactly, the architect has to be reasonable company, or someone you could imagine was reasonable company. Whilst it would be amazing to be in on the building of one of Europe's great gothic cathedrals, the master builders might just be a little too pious and in it for the glory of God for modern tastes.

Michael Scott was by all accounts great company but reading accounts of his life, he also seems to have been a bit of a pain in the arse. So maybe not Mickey.

Frank lloyd Wright could be interesting as he was a bit cranky in his later years.

Baron Haussman (spelling) whilst he was planning the alterations to Paris.

Alternatively Gropius and the AAI on the night of his lecture in Dublin. Assuming they all headed off for a pint afterwards.
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Postby Jack » Wed Jun 20, 2001 12:35 pm

Is Sam Stephenson Dead?
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Postby fergus » Wed Jun 20, 2001 1:35 pm

his ideas are anyway..........he gave a lecture last year on modern art and his (mis)understanding of it -physcially alive though
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Postby Jack » Wed Jun 20, 2001 2:03 pm

Just wanted to know if he was still alive........to see if there was any chance of kicking him in ****
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Postby Rita Ochoa » Wed Jun 20, 2001 2:43 pm

Most probably a guy named Marquês de Pombal who re-builded Lisbon downtown after the big earthquake in 1755... great vision of the future! His plans still contemporaneous and enough flexible to receive new structures as the subway...
Metting Gaudi could be very interestting to understand all his weird imagination...
Another one could be Oscar Neymeier but he isnt dead yet !
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Postby LOB » Wed Jun 20, 2001 4:10 pm

Not an Architect ,- Peter Rice
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Postby aland » Thu Jun 21, 2001 10:10 am

Surprisingly, no one has yet mentioned Lou Kahn, a seminal figure, probably the most significant architect of the twentieth century, who influenced architects like Sam Stephenson and who was by all accounts an entertaining, if enigmatic person. By the way Jack what have you got against Sam Stephenson?
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Postby GregF » Thu Jun 21, 2001 10:18 am

How about Philip Johnson...he's not dead yet .....but is well into his nineties and still practising.
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Postby Jack » Thu Jun 21, 2001 12:03 pm

He did do a lot of damage in his day Alan..........he must be heavily sedated these days......very quiet so he is....
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Postby aland » Thu Jun 21, 2001 1:28 pm

Sam sounds a bit like Basil Spence then. His post war sketches for Glasgow left only the Cathedral standing and the city look like Croydon. Amazing self belief but unfortunatly one of the reasons why the heritage police are so influential here and an international modernism never was really accepted.

Funnily enough though, superstar Zaha Hadid's recent proposals for our "Homes for the Future" competition looked like reheated versions of Spences notorious Hutcheson E blocks in Gorbals which were demolished five years ago. Spence is obviously still cutting edge with our friends in London. Perhaps Stephenson is also due for a re assessment.
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Postby Hugh » Thu Jun 21, 2001 4:56 pm

Spence is definitely overdue a reassessment. And so is Sam. But if I was adding yet another to my earlier "If you could meet..." list, it would be Basil Spence nearing completion on Coventry Cathedral, say around 1960.
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Postby daniel » Thu Jun 21, 2001 6:36 pm

how about a year in Black Mountain college with Bucky teaching and John Cage in your class.

Or hanging out with Kiesler while he's making his endless house.
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Postby kate » Tue Jun 26, 2001 9:17 am

Without a doubt....Louis Barrigan, one of the greatest manipulators of light and space to have ever lived. Is Hassan Fathy still alive, if not he could be added to the list.
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Postby aland » Tue Jun 26, 2001 10:29 am

you're right Kate, Barrigan is important and his work delightful but not appropriate to designers in Northern Europe and he is therefor a marginal figure, I think. Like Charles Correa or Alvaro Siza.
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Postby Rita Ochoa » Tue Jun 26, 2001 2:54 pm

Alvaro Siza it´s not dead yet!
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Postby john white » Tue Jun 26, 2001 4:09 pm

John Ruskin and Palladio simultaneously.
As I'd be too scared to say anything to Ruskin except "great book - right on" or something stupid. I'd just stand back and watch the sparks fly!
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Postby aland » Tue Jun 26, 2001 4:51 pm

not dead but definitely marginal, like me.
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