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Peter Murray

 

In May and June the Society ran a series of five Saturday morning talks in the Building Centre in central London.

The series was designed to give non-professionals an overview on the evolution of the capital’s architecture, and we were fortunate to be able to call upon several knowledgable speakers: Alex Forshaw on medieval London; Dr Geoffrey Tyack on the Georgian city; Susie Barson on Victorian developments; Alan Powers on the city between the wars; and Chris Rogers on the contemporary city.

Each of the five talks had over 80 attendees, so it seems that we have tapped into something that is of great interest to both members and non-members and we’re currently looking at future series – there will certainly be something this autumn and we will develop the architecture theme in 2018.

The illustrations used by each of the speakers can be found here. For future courses we will look to publishing the information in some form.

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Peter Murray

how to read london

How to Read London: A crash course in London architecture

by Chris Rogers

Reviewed by Don Brown

Available from the London Society Book Service in association with John Sandoe Bookshop

This rather wonderful little book looks at some 100 buildings in London from the 17th century to the 21st and, with short, pertinent text and photos, sketches and drawings of details, explains the architectural significance of each, and how they fit into the building heritage of the capital.

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Peter Murray

 

Discover how London’s architecture has evolved over time, with this series of Saturday morning talks.

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People have been telling us that there are some aspects of London they want to learn more about, or to understand better. So the London Society are planning a series of informal Saturday Schools.

The first of these is on ‘the evolution of London architecture: five talks to help you gain a better appreciation of the history of London’s built environment.

If you book for all five classes in the School you will pay for just four – so that’s just £28 for members and £20 for student members. Non-members can book all five classes for £53 – which includes a year’s individual membership of the Society. You can find out more here.

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Peter Murray

 

The RIBA Stirling Prize: 2041oszqo2tl

by Tony Chapman

Review by Chris Panfil

For dozens of recommended London Books, check out the London Society Book Service in association with John Sandoe Bookshop

Tony Chapman’s “The RIBA Stirling Prize 20” is a beautifully and comprehensively illustrated book showcasing the winning and the shortlisted projects of this prestigious architecture award from its inception in 1996 until 2015. The introduction gives an overview of the history of the award and why it was named in honour of the architect Sir James Stirling – who apparently hated the RIBA. The rest of the introduction text is at times amusing, but at others opaque, with inside jokes and in-house references that most readers won’t be able to follow.

The main body of the book contains a useful summary list of the winners from 1996 to 2005, but unfortunately, a similar list is missing from the book for the period 2006 to 2015. That’s a particular shame, as such a snap-shot would efficiently illustrate the changing juries’ success in adhering to the selection criteria for the award. This was first set out by the RIBA as “not a question of style or appearance, it’s how you organise spaces and movement from a place and an activity; it’s nothing to do with appearance.” These words were first written by the late Sir James and are implicitly or explicitly accepted by most members of the western architectural establishment, at least since the dawn of post-modern times. However, the rich variety of architectural expression exhibited in the diversity of the winning projects suggest that “style” is a significant contributing component to the award. The winning projects over the years represent either the audacious design style and architectural virtuosity of practices such as Zaha Hadid, Alsop & Störmer, or Future Systems. Alternatively, it is the restrained style and ordered manner of a proto-modernism exhibited by such winners as Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios or David Chipperfield that succeeds in securing the award.

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