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Some thoughts on Louis Kahn and the Yale Centre for British Art

Architects have different obsessions and ultimately these obsessions are expressed in their built work. Some, for example, become concerned with mass and others with lightness. Architects from the modern movement were often more focused on lightness and expressing weightlessness.  Advances in technology meant that structural spans could be greater, beams thinner and large sheets of glass could be used that not only brought in light but also appeared light.  Others were fascinated by the sculptural... Read More >

Recent Articles:

The true wonders of the world were built by market forces There would have been no incentives to build qanats had there not been private property rights
The pyramids of Egypt are astonishing feats of human engineering. The Great Pyramid of Giza was the tallest structure in the world built by man for more than 3,800 years. Most structures built today would collapse if left unattended for several Read More >
A pristine Roman sculpture, almost too good to be true It is believed that this statue once adorned a rich mausoleum
In 2013 archaeologists from MOLA discovered an extraordinary Roman sculpture on the last day of excavation for the development of Motel One. In this article the astonishing story of the sculpture is revealed. Working on a site in the City of Read More >
The responsibilities of architects in relation to their clients Thoughts raised by a recent trip to Spain
Much has been written in the Spanish press recently about the Valle de Los Caidos (the Valley of the Fallen), the monument to those who died in the Spanish Civil War (1936-9) which is a one hour drive north of Madrid near the Escatorial Palace, Read More >
Learning from Las Venice The history of Venetian architecture
Venice is extraordinary for many reasons but it is unique because it is a city that is built on water. It has its own singular way of building; however, it is the light that has captured the imagination of writers and artists for so many Read More >
Blueprint for the modern embassy The British Embassy in Sana’a, Yemen
The recent completion of the hugely expensive new US Embassy in London and the continued controversy around the US decision to relocate its embassy to Jerusalem brings back memories of our own British Embassy project in Yemen; one of the first of Read More >
Cardboard Architecture Rebuilding a cathedral with natural resources
This piece is written from ‘Fiddlesticks’, one of the busier bars in Christchurch, New Zealand, having visited a remarkable building today: the Transitional Cathedral, also known as the 'Cardboard Cathedral'. I wasn't sure Read More >
London Mithraeum: a Roman ruin re-imagined MOLA archaeologists recreate Temple of Mithras
The first new interpretation of a Roman ruin in London for nearly 20 years, London Mithraeum opened to the public in November 2017. The ruins of the mid-3rd century temple were discovered in September 1954 on a former WWII bomb site at the start Read More >
‘Blob’ architecture in the Engadine valley Extreme buildings and extreme sports in St. Moritz
After a break of a year, it is always a shocking experience to stand at the top of the Cresta run again, preparing to hurl myself head first down an ice chute at over seventy miles an hour. Existential questions that my mind asks like ‘why are Read More >
MY FAVOURITE BUILDINGS Beinecke Library, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut (completed 1963) - Gordon Bunshaft (Skidmore, Owings & Merrill)
My visit to Yale was not to study a post graduate degree but happily for me to look at the extraordinary range of Modernist Architecture over the length and breadth of their campus. I was aware that Yale, which boasted one of the best Read More >
Some burning questions about fires in buildings The National Trust's identity crisis, Victorian vandalism and is rebuilding the right answer?
Clandon was a Grade I listed early 18th century house near Guildford in Surrey owned by the National Trust. On April 29th, 2015 an electrical fault occurred in an old electrical distribution board in the basement and a fire started. The board was Read More >
Blackfriars bridge, London City thoughts: part three A great tradition of ideas
Read part one Read part two Earlier this year at Zaha Hadid's memorial service, as speeches, including one by her friend Lord Palumbo (all ill-assisted by unnecessary artificial amplification), echoed incoherently around the great vessel Read More >
The Monument to commemorate the Great Fire of London in 1666 City thoughts: part two On architectural details and the role of history
Read part one For most of the two millennia that have ensued since its founding, the City of London has experienced numerous crises whose import and impact far outweigh the minor financial ripples that our media message as crises. It is Read More >
St Paul's Cathedral viewed from the Millennium bridge over river Thames, London, England. City thoughts: part one How did the Great Fire of 1666 shape London's architectural history?
At this time of year, we are inundated with nostalgic images of a Victorian Christmas set in a Dickensian London where the real horrors and poverty of that age are banished from the chocolate box imagery. Which makes me wonder what details of the Read More >
Pavillon Mies van der Rohe, Barcelona, Spain Buildings I love The Barcelona Pavilion, by Mies van der Rohe
Over many years of working on numerous projects, I have always drawn inspiration from the work of some of the great architects from the past (borrowing from the past to enhance the future). Probably one of the most influential of these was Mies Read More >
The surprising nature of property development Alan Waxman explains how a recent opportunity came about
The excitement of property development for me is that you never know where an opportunity might present itself. One of my most unexpected projects came off the back of a chance meeting with a very charming young lady whom I met at Read More >
Traditional houses with grass on roof in Iceland Architecture without architects On Scandinavian design influences and how our surroundings affect us
This title has been borrowed from Bernard Rudofsky, a Moravian-born American writer, architect, and social historian who published an influential book of the same name in 1964. It has the subtitle 'A short introduction to non-pedigreed Read More >
Scotland: town versus country Travels from Amhuinnsuidhe Castle to the V&A Dundee
It is incredibly spoiling to be flown privately. It removes so much of the hassle of travelling especially at each end of the journey. There is no checking in, no personal bag searches and no stepping through machines at the behest of officials. Read More >
Close up of carved stonework on a doorway Tolerance and the accommodation of change AHMM's Simon Allford on architecture's relation to our changing society
My first column for The Property Chronicle offers a welcome chance to reflect on matters beyond the moment. Which is useful as learning from the past enables us to design for a building’s uncertain future. There is much to consider as it is Read More >
Person with umbrella jumping in front of a building How does it make you feel? On architecture, space and affective experience
I’m regularly appalled at the banality of post-match - or at least post-achievement - interviews of sports people still dripping from their efforts. As if it isn’t enough to hijack them before they’ve caught their breath, they are then Read More >
Walt Disney Hall, Los Angeles California fairy tales Travels in Wyntoon, Disneyworld and downtown Los Angeles
I have just returned from my old and dear friends’ week-long 25th wedding anniversary celebration at Wyntoon, the 60,000 acre Hearst estate located near Mt. Shasta in Northern California. William Randolph Hearst, the famous tycoon and Read More >
Retro TVs Architecture on the small screen Reflecting on the evolution of Grand Designs
There are mixed feelings in the design and architectural fraternity about television programmes which chart the journey of a construction project. Thankfully, the early superficial make-over versions which relied rather too much on masking tape Read More >
Designing for humans An architect's duty
Above: University of Winchester building project (copyright: Design Engine Architects, used with permission) This week, I took part in a thought-provoking debate in the new Blavatnik School of Government in Oxford. The evening was hosted by Read More >
Family with picnic basket walking into a field Fields of least resistance Richard Rose-Casemore considers the pros and cons of building on greenfield sites
So, I sit in my tiny garden on a sunny Sunday in reflective mood wondering what on earth is happening to our towns and cities in the race to achieve impossible housing targets. Two cities close to my own heart, Exeter and Winchester, are Read More >
Cave houses in Cappadocia, Turkey Basement wars Architect Houston Morris goes underground to ask why subterranean extensions have become so popular
Anyone who has visited the below ground troglodyte houses of Cappadocia, a region of central Turkey, knows that these ancient habitations are as impressive as they are unusual. They are mostly cut out of the rock face of a steep mountain. They Read More >
Skyscraper viewed from street level On design awards Richard Rose-Casemore considers trophies, design narratives and the merits of architecture prizes
There was a feature on TV this week about the grotesque golf trophies that the unfortunate professional is forced to model in front of the cameras should he or she triumph on tour. These ranged in design from various enormous jewel-encrusted Read More >
The Haydar Aliyev Centre, designed by Zaha Hadid Musings on the life of Zaha Hadid Houston Morris draws on his personal recollections to explain how the late architect has influenced the industry
Image (c) iStockphoto I first came across ‘Zaha’ when I was a student at the Architectural Association (known as the AA) in the early 1990s. She was always known just as Zaha. She never required a last name as everyone knew who she was. Read More >

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