Jim Richards thought that architects should be anonymous experts who served their communities, not ‘giants’ designing buildings to express their own individual creativity. He pursued this idea throughout his forty-year career as an architectural critic, journalist and editor. This book traces Richards’s ideas about anonymity and public participation in modern architecture and how they weathered the changing contexts of architecture in the mid-twentieth century. This is a story of shifting relationships between the architectural profession, public audiences and the media. The Architectural Review (AR) was first published in 1896 and by the 1930s was closely aligned with modern architecture. James Maude Richards (Jim to his friends) was the longest serving editor of the AR working from 1935 to 1971, with colleagues including Hubert de Cronin Hastings, Nikolaus Pevsner, Hugh Casson and Reyner Banham. Richards developed a specific approach to architectural criticism, which was based on promoting architecture to a public audience. He used criticism as a bridge between architects and their patrons and users. This book explores the changes and continuities in Richards’s work in the context of broader cultural shifts between experts and the public during this period. This is a history of modern architecture told through magazine articles, radio broadcasts and exhibitions, rather than buildings. Richards’s career and his position among a network of journalists, architects and artists, shows the centrality of media and promotion to architecture. It also shows how ideas about public participation, vernacular design and popular culture were key to defining modern architecture.
to his friends, written by the architect Denys Lasdun, in which he paraphrases Robert Browning: ‘Jim would have applauded Robert Browning's words, “No more great men, dear god, just raise the general level”.’
These words described Richards's belief that architecture was about more than the taste and artistic expression of great architects; architecture was a ‘significant social activity’, which could shape society.
He was preoccupied with how modernarchitecture
An archaeology of lunacy examines the historic lunatic asylum from an interdisciplinary perspective, employing methods drawn from archaeology, social geography, and history to create a holistic view of the built heritage of the asylum as a distinctive building type. In the popular imagination, historic lunatic asylums were dark, monolithic, and homogenous, instruments for social confinement and punishment. This book aims to redress this historical reputation, showing how the built environment and material worlds of lunatic asylums were distinctive and idiosyncratic – and highly regional. They were also progressive spaces and proving grounds of architectural experimentation, where the reformed treatment practices known as moral management were trialled and refined. The standing remains of the nineteenth-century lunatic asylum system represent a unique opportunity to study a building-type in active transition, both materially and ideologically. When they were constructed, asylums were a composite of reform ideals, architectural materials, and innovative design approaches. An archaeological study of these institutions can offer a materially focused examination of how the buildings worked on a daily basis. This study combines critical analysis of the architecture, material remains, and historical documentary sources for lunatic asylums in England and Ireland. Students and scholars of later historical archaeology and built heritage will find the book a useful overview of this institutional site type, while historians of medicine will find the focus on interior design and architecture of use. The general public, for whom asylums frequently represent shadowy ruins or anonymous redevelopments, may be interested in learning more about the buildings.
the other hand, relished anonymity, or at least saw it as appropriate to the role of an editor and critic and an architect.
Richards brought with him to the AR his belief, forged at Furlongs, that modernism should develop into a vernacular that reflected the lives of ordinary people and was not reliant on the tastes of individual architects. In this vein, the main purpose of journalism was educating the public about the meaning of modernarchitecture.
In 1937, after a decade of editing the AR , Hubert de Cronin Hastings
bureaucrats, and the
imaginary futures they presented were attempts to secure consent for
planning in a general sense. The manner in which local governments
conceptualised and presented the notion of ‘the modern’ – through the
communication of scientific planning expertise and the visual language
of modernarchitecture – reveals a complex relationship between fantasies of progress stemming from discourses of reconstruction and the
Blitz, the presentation of the war as a caesura and the development of
technocratic approaches to the control and management of urban space
architecture during the following decades. One of
the best-known is the Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels
Modernes in Paris in 1925, where art, furniture, design and fashion were on
display. Another influential exhibition was Weissenhofsiedlung in Stuttgart,
arranged by the Deutscher Werkbund in 1927, which is considered to be the
starting point for modernarchitecture and functionalism.53
The Stockholm Exhibition of 1930 was immensely influential and marked
a breakthrough in functionalistic design and architecture.54 Like some other
This book constitutes the first major study of tradition as a field of political and cultural contestation in modern architectural culture. Examining German-language design theory from 1848 to 1918, Rousset traces the diverse and fascinating efforts by architectural reformists to confront class antagonism through the provision of simple, traditionally minded domestic design. Based on extensive original research and copiously illustrated, The architecture of social reform introduces readers to a host of modern architects, urbanists, reform experts, and art critics, including Gottfried Semper, Wilhelm Heinrich Riehl, Karl Henrici, Josef Stübben, Camillo Sitte, Rudolf Eberstadt, Walter Curt Behrendt, Werner Hegemann, Karl Scheffler, Hermann Muthesius, Paul Schultze-Naumburg, Albert Gessner, Albert E. Brinckmann, and Paul Mebes, who sought to reform housing along traditionalist lines from the scale of the living room to that of the city-region. Countering the narrative that tradition signified the last breath of an eclectic and defunct historicism, The architecture of social reform breaks new ground in the assessment of modern architecture by revealing how architects and other design experts engaged with tradition in order to stake out a socially progressive position for themselves while learning from the past. Readers interested in continuing debates over the future of architecture, housing, and politics will find this book essential reading.
Across the early decades of the seventeenth century, Englishmen and women moved through a physical, social, and mental world organised into a carefully maintained balance of motion and pause. This book examines how seventeenth-century English architectural theorists and designers rethought the domestic built environment in terms of mobility, as motion became a dominant mode of articulating the world across discourses. These discourses encompassed philosophy, political theory, poetry, and geography. From mid-century, the house and estate that had evoked staccato rhythms became triggers for mental and physical motion-evoking travel beyond England's shores, displaying vistas, and showcasing changeable wall surfaces. The book sets in its cultural context a strand of historical analysis stretching back to the nineteenth century Heinrich Wolfflin. It brings together the art, architectural, and cultural historical strands of analysis by examining why seventeenth-century viewers expected to be put in motion and what the effects were of that motion. Vistas, potentially mobile wall surface, and changeable garden provided precisely the essential distraction that rearticulated social divisions and assured the ideal harmony. Alternately feared and praised early in the century for its unsettling unpredictability, motion became the most certain way of comprehending social interactions, language, time, and the buildings that filtered human experience. At the heart of this book is the malleable sensory viewer, tacitly assumed in early modern architectural theory and history whose inescapable responsiveness to surrounding stimuli guaranteed a dependable world from the seventeenth century.
Reconstruction, public participation and the future of modernism, 1941–51
editing the AR . He and the other editors (including de Cronin Hastings and Pevsner) explored ways that modernarchitecture could adapt to the postwar context, including the concepts of Townscape and New Monumentality. However, Richards's interest in the material conditions of architecture set him apart from the other editors at the magazine and he developed his own ideas, which he terms a ‘social realist’ approach to architecture.
The title of The Castles on the Ground
This book analyses the use of the past and the production of heritage through architectural design in the developmental context of Iran. It is the first of its kind to utilize a multidisciplinary approach in probing the complex relationship between architecture, development, and heritage. It uses established theoretical concepts including notions of globalism, nostalgia, tradition, and authenticity to show that development is a major cause of historical transformations in places such as Iran and its effects must be seen in relation to global political and historical exchanges as well as local specificities. Iran is a pertinent example as it has endured radical cultural and political shifts in the past five decades. Scholars of heritage and architecture will find the cross-disciplinary aspects of the book useful. The premise of the book is that transposed into other contexts, development, as a globalizing project originating in the West, instigates renewed forms of historical consciousness and imaginations of the past. This is particularly evident in architecture where, through design processes, the past produces forms of architectural heritage. But such historic consciousness cannot be reduced to political ideology, while politics is always in the background. The book shows this through chapters focusing on theoretical context, international exchanges made in architectural congresses in the 1970s, housing as the vehicle for everyday heritage, and symbolic public architecture intended to reflect monumental time. The book is written in accessible language to benefit academic researchers and graduate students in the fields of heritage, architecture, and Iranian and Middle Eastern studies.