A new exhibition devoted to postmodern British architecture is designed to spark a revival of interest in the movement. The exhibition titled The Return of the Past: Postmodernism in British Architecture is now showing at Sir John Soane’s Museum in London through August 26. The exhibition will display a selection of important works by some of the country’s most prominent architects such as Terry Farrell, CZWG, Sir Jeremy and Fenella Dixon, John Outram, and James Stirling. Their works emerged as part of the postmodern movement, which was a reaction against the confining modernist style used in designing many British towns and cities at the time. Postmodernist architecture generally emphasized the reconnection of architecture to the past through “ornament, materials, form or typology,” according to a statement from the Soane Museum. The SIS building designed by Terry Farrell houses the headquarters of Britain’s foreign intelligence agency Secret Intelligence Service MI6. Located on the bank of the River Thames in central London, the cascading building looks like a fortress, finished with a cream-colored facade and green-tinted windows. Another highlight is a project for 200 Queen Victoria Street for Rosehaugh-Stanhope Developers by John Outram. Although unbuilt, its signature image, featuring oversized Greco-Roman columns, chinoiserie posts, mosaic patterns, turbine flourishes, and fantastical additions make it a shining example of the movement's style. CZWG’s work is also celebrated in the exhibition. Cascades is a twenty-story apartment building located on the Isle of Dogs in London. Its design offered an alternative appearance to the high rise typology. According to CWZG, the “Pharaonic references” signify the high-reaching ambition of the construction, making it a postmodernist centerpiece. China Wharf is also a significant piece by the same firm. The building combines functionalism and aesthetics. The scalloped wall “is used to twist windows, both towards the rising sun and away from the neighbors directly across the courtyard,” according to the designers. As part of a regeneration scheme for the London Docklands, the building includes a pastiche of stylistic references such as naval and pagoda motifs. “Postmodern architecture in Britain is frequently written-off as an expression of 1980s Thatcherism and still little understood. We conceived this exhibition to set the record straight and reveal this period as one of such amazing creativity and innovation that can hold its own with any moment in British architecture history,” said Owen Hopkins, Senior Curator at Soane. “Full of color, ingenuity, and exuberance, the exhibition will also show the serious intellectual basis that underlay a movement whose legacy still shapes how we create and understand architecture today.” The organizers of the exhibition hope to renew attention to postmodern buildings in the U.K. Later this year, Historic England, the public body that looks after England’s historic environment, will launch a project to assess postmodern buildings for listing.
Posts tagged with "Sir John Soane Museum":
“Welcome to Explore Soane. The historic house, museum, and library of 19th-century architect Sir John Soane—now made digital. Get closer than ever before to its fascinating objects and see its eclectic rooms in a new light.” These words welcome viewers as they enter the new digital model of the Sir John Soane’s Museum, recently launched by ScanLAB Projects. Sir John Soane was a noted 19th-century British architect who passed away in 1837, leaving behind not simply a home, but a museum of architectural curiosities for posterity. Established by Private Act of Parliament in 1833, the house-museum has been kept just as Soane left it at the time of his death, continuing to offer free access to visitors as he had intended. Safeguarded by its Trustees, the museum hosts exhibitions, events, and a research library. The Sepulchral Chamber. (Via explore.soane.org) The museum's digital model offers visitors the choice to begin their journey in the Model Room or the Sepulchral Chamber. The Model Room includes models of historical architectural sites such as Temple of Vesta (made from cork), Temple of Vesta (made from plaster) and a Model of Pompeii, showing the city in 1820. The replica of the room features individual, digitized models available for download. The interactive elements of the room also include fact sheets for models in Soane’s collection, which can be found upon clicking on each model. As viewers move on to The Sepulchral Chamber, they can find interactive models of an ancient Egyptian Sarcophagus King Seti I and Sarcophagus Detail. This portion of the journey also provides fact sheets and an about page for items in the chamber. ScanLab Projects is a creative studio that works to combine 3-D technologies and large scale scanning with the architectural and creative industries, creating digital replicas of buildings, landscapes, objects, and events. They offer 3-D printing, 3-D scanning, and visualization services to digitize the world in captivating ways. ScanLAB Projects also plans to add more rooms and works of art to the model.
Tuesday evening's John Soane's Museum gala was a great evening for the assembled supporters of the London museum on Lincoln's Inn Fields. It started when Soane Board President Thomas Klingerman asked the audience "How many of you read The Architect's Newspaper?" You probably saw the Eavesdrop column on Jay Z and Beyonce visiting Cuba on a Soane architecture tour (their itinerary included landmarks by architect Miguel Coylua, among others). Things are really changing at Soane! After the irrepressible Suzanne Stephens opened the program awards, inscribed Soane Foundation medallions were given to Carole Fabian, director of Avery Architecture & Arts Library at Columbia, and Barry Bergdoll for their joint acquisition of the Frank Lloyd Wright Archives. The award was presented by the architectural theorist Catherine Ingraham, who talked about her maternal grandfather Frank LLoyd Wright and his meaning to her family and architectural culture. In accepting the award, Fabian talked about the enormous organizing challenge of the huge archive and Bergdoll told the story of Wright introducing Mies van Der Rohe to a Chicago audience. In front of the crowd, Bergdoll said "I want to introduce you to Frank Lloyd Wright without whom there would be no Mies Van der Rohe!" A second award was given to Lord Norman Foster of Thames Bank by Paul Goldberger, who is finishing a book on Foster and compared his career as an architect and collector to Soane, though one with his own private airplane! Foster, for his part, woke up yesterday in London, visited the Soane Museum, then lunched with the Queen and piloted his plane to New York.
Green Boom. Blair Kamin takes a look at the sustainability of two billowing icons in Chicago and New York. Studio Gang's Aqua Tower is going for LEED certification while Frank Gehry's New York tower will not seek the USGBC's approval but claims to be green nonetheless. Kamin notes the importance of such moves, saying of Gehry: "What he, in particular, does--or doesn't do--can have enormous influence, not simply on architects but on developers." Trolley Boom. NPR has a piece on the explosion of streetcars across the country with planned or completed systems in over a dozen cities. Bike Boom. Cycling advocate Elly Blue discusses a new study on Grist stating that bikes deserve their own infrastructure independent from autos. And not just a striped bike lane, Blue notes, but separated lanes called "cycle tracks" like one installed along Brooklyn's Prospect Park West. Soane Boom. The Independent reports on a planned renovation to the Sir John Soane Museum in London, that architect's treasure trove of antiquities and architectural memorabilia from across the world. Plans include opening up a new floor that hasn't been open to the public since Soane died in 1837.