The first lecture series, held in Spring 2007, looked at the careers, personalities and impact on the London’s architecture of a selection of key architects from the seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
Sponsored by SMC Group Plc.
Monday 22 January
In the early seventeenth century, Jones introduced Renaissance Classicism to London, setting the pattern for the city’s expansion over the next two centuries. Only the Banqueting House survives of his plans for a vast Royal Palace, but the Covent Garden Piazza reflects Jones’ legacy on the capital’s public squares. Jones’ position in the Stuart Court and his reputation as Britain’s Palladio are explored by Charles Hind, the H.J. Heinz Curator of the RIBA Drawings Collection.
Sir Christopher Wren
Monday 12 February
Wren’s St Paul’s Cathedral has left a permanent mark on London’s skyline. After the wooden city was burnt to the ground in 1666, Wren applied scientific ingenuity in reconstructing this icon and other buildings in the City of London. Biographer Adrian Tinniswood examines the architect’s works, including many of his churches, in the context of the great religious, economic and political change of the late seventeenth century.
Monday 12 March
As London expanded rapidly during the second half of the eighteenth century, Adam reinvigorated Classical Architecture. Entire quarters such as Portland Place and the Adelphi were reshaped, while at Fitzroy Square Adam created the illusion of a single, unified building out of a row of terraced houses. Architectural historian, Alistair Rowan, discusses the career of an architect who juggled both creative design and speculative development.
Monday 2 April
Drawing on the concept of the Picturesque and in emulation of Napoleonic Paris, Nash devised a fabulous scenography which connected two royal parks - St James’s and Regent’s - via the processional route of Regent Street. With the patronage of the Prince Regent, Nash attempted to replace the dirt, danger, and squalor of eighteenth-century London with his elegant backdrops. The impact of Nash’s architecture and his lively personality are discussed by David Watkin, Head of the Department of History of Art at Cambridge University.
Sir Charles Barry RA
Monday 30 April
Many of London’s most memorable events have taken place against a backdrop of Barry’s architecture. From the public spaces of Trafalgar Square and the formalities of the Houses of Parliament, to the discretion of his Pall Mall clubs, he designed settings where the nation’s future was decided. Architectural critic Jeremy Melvin discusses the career of this influential Victorian architect and his affiliation with the Royal Academy.
Sir George Gilbert Scott RA
Monday 14 May
More explicitly than any of his peers, Scott incorporated new technology into the Gothic Revival. He helped to give an architectural face to the massive engineering infrastructure which came with nineteenth century urban expansion, leaving his mark on St Pancras Station and Whitehall. Architectural Historian Gavin Stamp, author of several works on Scott, reviews the life and times of this architect.