About Buildings + Cities
Luke Jones & George Gingell Discuss Architecture, History and Culture
4 days ago

99 — Philip K. Dick's Ubik — Gnostic Paranoia

In this episode we discussed 'Ubik' (1969) by Philip K. Dick, a piece of iconic science-fiction set in a world of psychic corporate espionage and dead relatives suspended in perpetual "halflife". Throughout the novel Gnostic and Platonic philosophy exude through perpetually inventive interpretations of advertising culture, psychotic mental states and satire of domestic mod cons. We talked about Dick's fixation on material culture as it appears in his other stories 'The Man in the High Castle' (1962) and 'Pay for the Printer' (1956).

Join us for an About Buildings and Cities Social this Saturday 3rd December from 5pm–late at The Kings Arms pub in Bethnal Green London.

Edited by Matthew Lloyd Roberts.

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1 month ago

98 — The Primitive Hut — The Design of the First Building

In this episode we discussed the idea of 'The Primitive Hut' in 18th and 19th century architectural theory. A vision of the first building was used by texts dating back to Vitruvius to imagine architecture's origins. We started with Marc-Antoine Laugier, author of Essai sur l'architecture (1753), which used the image of the Primitive Hut to call for a return to austere and structurally declarative classicism after the excesses of the baroque. We also discussed the idea of the Primitive Hut in the work of Viollet-le-Duc, who was influenced by ethnographic racism and eugenics in his depiction of the origin of architecture. We strongly recommend Joseph Rykwert's book On Adam's House in Paradise: The Idea of the Primitive Hut in Architectural History for an even more in-depth commentary on this subject.

You can watch this episode on YouTube to see the images

Nature soundscape from: https://www.edinburghrecords.com/free-sound-effects/

Edited by Matthew Lloyd Roberts.

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2 months ago

97 — Richard Rogers' Reith Lecture — Cities for a Small Planet

In this one-off episode we discussed the late Richard Rogers, particularly his Reith Lectures, given for the BBC in the mid-90s on the subject of the 'Sustainable City'. We compare and contrast his rhetoric and his design work, try to decipher his vision for the future of the city, and think about the ways in which architectural culture has and hasn't changed in the intervening decades.

You can listen to the Reith lectures here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/p00gxnzz

This is a one-off episode, our first in a little while! Next we'll be talking about the 'Primitive Hut' as voted for by our Patreon subscribers.

Edited by Matthew Lloyd Roberts.

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4 months ago

96 — Andrea Palladio 6 — Venetian Churches

In the final episode of our series on Palladio we discussed four of his great church designs:

  • The facade of San Francesco della Vigna
  • The monastery church of San Giorgio Maggiore
  • Il Redentore
  • Tempietto Barbaro, at Maser

For the images accompanying this episode, check out the video version on Youtube.

We hope you have enjoyed this series! Let us know what you'd like to see us discuss next

Edited by Matthew Lloyd Roberts.

Support the show on Patreon to receive bonus content for every show.

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5 months ago

95 — Andrea Palladio 5 — Quattro Libri

Andrea Palladio's Quattro Libri is one of the most influential and important architectural books ever published. We discuss the four books of architecture, covering everything from masonry construction to proportional principles to the temples of ancient Rome.

To see the images as we discuss them, why not watch this episode on YouTube?

Edited by Matthew Lloyd Roberts.

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6 months ago

94 — Andrea Palladio 4 — Civic Buildings

Some of Andrea Palladio's most powerful and enduring work was carried out for his home city of Vicenza. We discuss some of his civic projects, and his extraordinary unrealised design for the Rialto Bridge in Venice

You can find the images on YouTube

Edited by Matthew Lloyd Roberts.

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7 months ago

93 — Andrea Palladio 3 — Palladian Palazzi

Though less wholly innovative than his villas, Andrea Palladio's palazzi for the nobility of Vicenza are still full of fascinating ideas, from the treatment of the facade, to the handling of difficult and strangely shaped sites. We discuss the Palazzos Thiene, Valmarana, Chiericati, Schio and Porto (x2). We also discuss their relation to roman villas and city houses, and their presentation in the Quatro Libri, or Four Books on Architecture.

Edited by Matthew Lloyd Roberts.

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8 months ago

92 — Andrea Palladio 2 — Greatest Villas

Andrea Palladio created a new style of classical domestic architecture in his villa designs in the 1540-60s. We talk about some of the big hits: - Villa Saraceno - Villa Barbaro - Villa Cornaro - Villa Foscari 'La Malcontenta' - Villa Capra 'La Rotonda'

Edited by Matthew Lloyd Roberts.

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9 months ago

91 — Andrea Palladio 1 — The Most Imitated Architect in History

We're starting a series exploring the work of Andrea Palladio. In his own time, Palladio was a prominent architect based in 16th century Vicenza. Subsequently he's become arguably one of the most influential architects of all history -- defining a style of classical architecture which became the house-style of elites around the world.

The most characteristic works in his long career are villas -- country houses on "terra ferma" for the rich merchants of Vicenza and nearby Venice -- though he also carried out some major local works of civic and religious architecture, and wrote a number of books. In this episode we're starting off, exploring him, his time, and some of the earliest Villas, including the Villa Godi.

Edited by Matthew Lloyd Roberts.

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11 months ago

90 — Carlo Scarpa — 4/4 — All I Want Is A Pharoah

We round off our series on Carlo Scarpa with two projects for Italian consumer electronics dynasties — the Olivetti corporation, for whom he designed a famous shop in Piazza San Marco, and the Brion-Vega family for whom he designed an extraordinary cemetery complex.

These are two of his most unrestrained, symbolically laden and elaborate projects — in which Scarpa's unique approach to architectural form, decoration, materials and narrative are most powerfully evident.

Thanks for watching, and all the best — back with you in 2022.

Edited by Matthew Lloyd Roberts.

Support the show on Patreon to receive bonus content for every show.

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1 year ago

89 — Carlo Scarpa — 3/4 — Castelvecchio, Invented History

The Castelvecchio Museum (1959-73) in Verona is an elaborate spatial narrative, weaving together historic structures and ingenious design elements to create a fragmentary and multi-layered story about the site, the city, and the objects contained in it. The project was Carlo Scarpa's largest and longest running, and we go through it at some length.

For images, subscribe to us on YouTube.

Edited by Matthew Lloyd Roberts.

Support the show on Patreon to receive bonus content for every show.

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We’re on the web at aboutbuildingsandcities.org

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