Cultures of Architectural Enthusiasm: A Two-Day Event Celebrating and Debating Twentieth Century Architecture 28th/28th June 2013
DAY 1: Conference ”Exploring and valuing cultures of architectural enthusiasm’ (University College London, start 10.30am)
DAY 2: Route Master Bus Tour of post-war buildings in East London (in conjunction with the Twentieth Century Society, pick up 1.30pm Cowcross Street, EC1M)
PROGRAMME Friday 28th June: Exploring and valuing cultures of architectural enthusiasm
Exploring Architectural Enthusiasm
• Ruth Craggs, Hilary Geoghegan, Hannah Neate – Cultures of Architectural Enthusiasm
• John Gold (Oxford Brookes) – Lightness and dark: oral history and narratives of architectural modernism
Twentieth Century Architecture as Heritage
• Catherine Croft – The Twentieth Century Society
• Ed DiestelKamp (National Trust) – The role of enthusiast societies in the Trust’s acquisition of two modernist properties during the 1990s
• Roger Bowdler – English Heritage designations
Campaigning and Heritage
• Kate Pugh (Heritage Alliance) – When enthusiasm isn’t enough: the heritage movement and the role of heritage organisations
• Mark Toogood (UCLan) – Preston Bus Station: heritage, regeneration and resistance
Anoraks and Amateurs
• Luke Bennett (Sheffield Hallam) – Defensive enthusiasm: anoraks, bunkers and the erotics of knowledge
• Jack Hale (Manchester Modernist Society) – The Manchester Modernists – from call girls to capital
Discussion and Concluding Comments
PROGRAMME Saturday 29th June: Routemaster Bus Tour of Twentieth Century Architectural Gems
Led by Catherine Croft (Director of The Twentieth Century Society) and Our Hut
Register online here: https://architecturalenthusiasm.eventbrite.co.uk/
NB: Full event information will be sent to participants following registration. If following registration you are unable to attend please contact the event organisers to cancel your place.
We have recently finished work on our first formal project output. This is a journal article entitled ‘Architectural enthusiasm: visiting buildings with The Twentieth Century Society’ which is due to appear in Environment and Planning D: Society and Space towards the end of the year. In the meantime here is the abstract:
In this article, we put forward the concept of architectural enthusiasm – a collective passion and shared emotional affiliation for buildings and architecture. Through this concept and empirical material based on participation in the architectural tours of The Twentieth Century Society (a UK-based architectural conservation group), we contribute to recent work on the built environment and geographies of architecture in three ways: first, we reinforce the importance of emotion to people’s engagements with buildings, emphasizing the shared and practiced nature of these engagements; second, we highlight the role of architectural enthusiasts as agents with the potential to shape and transform the built environment; and third, we make connections between (seemingly) disparate engagements with buildings through a continuum of practice incorporating urban exploration, local history, architectural practice and training, and mass architectural tourism. Unveiling these continuities has important implications for future research into the built environment, highlighting the need to take emotion seriously in all sorts of professional as well as enthusiastic encounters with buildings, and unsettling the categories of amateur and expert within architectural practices.
Thanks to The Twentieth Century Society, their employees, volunteers and members for their help, time and support with this research. We are currently working on another research paper and are pulling together details for our Cultures of Architectural Enthusiasm Conference which will take place in June. So watch this space for the programme and registration details.
Following my last post there have been a couple of write-ups of the event, which was well attended, and resulted in a lively debate about the future of Preston Bus Station. It was great to take part and hear different responses to issues relating to vacant premises in Preston City Centre.
See event report on Blog Preston
Gate 81: A project promoting the creative interpretation and remaking of Preston Bus Station
I’m going to be doing a public talk on Tuesday 29th January as part of a project entitled Open to the Public which has been set up the artists Katja van Driel and Wouter Osterholt, commissioned by the Preston-based In Certain Places. Described as an “Art project about vacant buildings as a means for creating access to the city” my contribution will be a short talk about Preston Bus Station and modernist architecture within the context of regeneration and city renewal.
To get myself in the mood I’ve been listening to the excellent BBC4 archive broadcast “Rebuilding Britain for the Baby Boomers” (which is available on iPlayer for another week). Though primarily focused on Sheffield’s Park Hill Estate, the architect-presenter Maxwell Hutchinson does manage to draw out several themes that are relevant to many similarly contentious modernist schemes, particularly as many are now coming to the point where their future status is being determined – and Preston Bus Station is an obvious current example of this:
- the way modernist buildings become ‘scapegoats’ for social and economic ills and therefore become judged as ‘failures’;
- the accusation that ‘architects are enamoured with this type of architecture but other people aren’t';
- and the influence of a ‘modernist loving crowd’
All of these points have cropped up during both my Conserving C20 research and the smaller Preston Bus Station project, so I look forward to hearing other people’s opinons about what they think the future of Preston Bus Station will be. At present it is lined up for demolition in 2014, but with a third application for listing recently submitted to English Heritage by the Twentieth Century Society, not to mention plenty of on-going discussion and local campaigning, I’d like to think that the end of the Bus Station is not necessarily a foregone conclusion.
For more info on other events that have been organised as part of Open to the Public: http://www.opentopublic.org/blog-3
e-Petition to Stop Demolition of Preston Bus Station: http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/43236
Free discovery tours - and map plotting!
Manchester Modernist Society have always loved a good map, and we've long wanted to produce a map of the fabulous modernist heritage of the City. We are now pleased to say that, with a bit of help from the Heritage Lottery Fund, we are about to embark on a plan to map our very favourite city centre buildings and produce some real - yes, real - paper maps to help people explore the twentieth century heritage of Manchester and Salford.
Architectural Enthusiasm: researching, writing and event planning in relation to 20th century architecture
We are over halfway through our British Academy small grant exploring the architectural enthusiasm expressed by members of The Twentieth Century Society. We’ve interviewed guides and tour members and participated in walking and coach tours across the country. We’ve also written a paper (and another one is in draft form). We’re now ‘event planning’. It is our intention to host an end of project, but not end of research, event.