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

113 — John Soane 3 — The Bank of England

In the third episode of our ongoing series on John Soane, we discussed his magnum opus, and one of the most entrancing lost buildings ever: The Bank of England. This vast administrative complex signalled the transformation of London into the capital of a modern imperial state, but by the 1930s, after just a century of its existence, the bank had outgrown Soane's intricate and weighty toplit classicism and the whole thing was demolished. We attempt here to imagine and reconstruct what it was actually like, why it was like that, and how Soane achieved it.

See the images we discussed on our YouTube channel: https://youtu.be/FmY1bFPv-oo

Edited by Matthew Lloyd Roberts.

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1 month ago

112 — John Soane 2 — Rustic / Classical

In episode 2 of our series on John Soane, we discussed the projects he worked on after returning from his Grand Tour of Italy, but before he got his career-defining job as surveyor to the Bank of England. These include several built and unbuilt schemes for country houses, a proposal for a pair of enormous prisons in strict geometrical manner, and several rural outbuildings in a rustic classicism that draw upon the founding myths of architecture.

Images for this episode can be found on our YouTube channel: https://youtu.be/0dAc_Dh1BTk

Edited by Matthew Lloyd Roberts.

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2 months ago

111 — John Soane 1 — 'Visions of Early Fancy'

We're back!! In this first episode of our new series on John Soane (1753–1837) we discuss his origins: the child prodigy draughtsman, son of a bricklayer, apprentice of George Dance, winner of a studentship at the Royal Academy, and later with his Design for a Triumphal Bridge, winner of the Royal Academy and a travelling scholarship to Italy, enabling him to join the aristocratic young men of Britain on their Grand Tour. Over the rest of this series we will discuss is iconic works: the Bank of England and his house (Sir John Soane's Museum) alongside some of the deeper cuts.

Watch this episode on YouTube for accompanying images: https://youtu.be/qtB_nERFaBA?si=1q5EdJEkQbsLBRxH

Edited by Matthew Lloyd Roberts.

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5 months ago

110 — Rem Koolhaas's Delirious New York — 3/3

The final part of our series on 'Delirious New York'! We discussed the culture clash between European high modernism and Manhattanism. We also discussed the Appendix at the end of the book, a set of speculative, wry, ironic and beautiful visions of where next for the retroactive manifesto, featuring the work of Madelon Vriesendorp, Zoe Zenghelis, Elia Zenghelis and Richard Perlmutter.

Hope you enjoy it!

Watch this episode with images: https://youtu.be/ouVLzj-292s

Edited by Matthew Lloyd Roberts.

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6 months ago

109 — Rem Koolhaas's Delirious New York — 2/3

In our second episode on Rem Koolhaas's Delirious New York, we covered his discussion of three heroic skyscrapers of Manhattanism's golden age: The Empire State Building, The New York Athletic Club and The Rockefeller Centre. We also tried to further explain Koolhaas's unique way of thinking about history, and the particular emphases of his project.

For images, follow along on YouTube: https://youtu.be/tmOfxCU3dvA

Edited by Matthew Lloyd Roberts.

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7 months ago

108 — Rem Koolhaas's Delirious New York — 1/3

In this episode, the first of a 3-parter, we began our discussion of 'Delirious New York' (1978) by Rem Koolhaas, a 'retroactive manifesto' for Manhattan. In this first part we discussed Rem's reputation, his style and his vision of the historical origins of the skyscraper and its formal qualities, a key part of the book's thesis. This takes us from the tabloid sensibilities of the Coney Island funfair to fraudulent 19thC building scams.

You can watch along to see our slides on YouTube https://youtu.be/XSR2UFpjB-A

Edited by Matthew Lloyd Roberts.

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8 months ago

Bonus Unlocked — 97.5 — Neom

This is an unlocked Patreon bonus episode from last year. To get access to all our bonus content and support the show, please subscribe for just £3 a month: https://www.patreon.com/about_buildings

In this bonus episode we discussed Neom, the sci-fi project of the Saudi Arabian government to totally reshape the north-west of the country, including a 170km linear city in the desert. We talked a little bit about the history of linear cities from Leonidov to Superstudio, and reflected on what the point of these fantastical publicity projects might be.

Edited by Matthew Lloyd Roberts.

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9 months ago

107 – Stewart Brand's 'How Buildings Learn' — "What Happens After They're Built"

In this one-off summer episode we discussed 'How Buildings Learn' (1994) by Stewart Brand. The book is concerned with the whole lifespan of buildings, and "What Happens After They're Built?" This is a valuable and necessary agenda in architecture, however Brand's methodology is sometimes a little slapdash, often to comical effect. Come for the timeless wisdom of the Duchess of Devonshire, stay for the reductive account of the sins of architects. We talked through the book, the things we liked about it and raised some critiques, notably Brand's lack of thought about ownership and economics.

All the images mentioned in this episode are available on YouTube.

Edited by Matthew Lloyd Roberts.

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10 months ago

106 — Antoni Gaudí 7 — La Sagrada Familia

In the final episode of our Antoni Gaudí series, we discussed his magnum opus, one of the most famous buildings in the world: La Sagrada Familia. However, as is always the case, not everything is as it seems. We discuss the complex origins of this remarkable building, Gaudí's work on it over decades, the tragic circumstances of his death, and the life of the building after his death.

In the next couple of days we will be releasing a reflective episode on our Gaudí series, looking back at Gaudí, his legacy, and what it all means.

Watch this episode on YouTube to follow along with the images,

Edited by Matthew Lloyd Roberts.

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10 months ago

105 — Antoni Gaudí 6 — Colonia Güell

In this episode of our ongoing series on Antoni Gaudí we discussed the unsolved mystery of the Colonia Güell Church. Perhaps the most enigmatic of Gaudí's projects, and the apotheosis of his method and principles, wholly unrestrained. Only the crypt of this vast proposed church was actually built, in a language of burnt bricks, reclaimed stones and baffling geometries. All that survives to us of his plans are photographs of vast models of string, canvas and lead weights used to model the catenary arch structure of the building, along with a few blurry photographs of the drawings. Everything else was lost when Gaudí's studio was burnt.

The final episode in this series, on the Sagrada Familia, will be out soon. Make sure you subscribe to the channel so you don't miss it!

Images for this episode are available on YouTube: https://youtu.be/_gIFS6d3uCo

Edited by Matthew Lloyd Roberts.

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

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11 months ago

104 — Antoni Gaudí 5 —Güell Projects

In this penultimate episode of our series on Antoni Gaudí, we dicussed projects he developed in his later career for Eusebi Güell. We talked about the Bodegas Güell, a complex of wineries and agricultural buildings in the countryside to the south of Barcelona. This project takes cyclopean masonry, a vast A-frame, gravity-defying stone pillars to create a building that calls back and forwards in time. Then we discussed the Park Güell, a consciously anglophile proposal for a garden city on the edge of Barcelona, where the housing never got built, and out of which Gaudí created a vast piece of land art, one of the most visited tourist attractions in the city. Lastly we discussed the recently renovated Chalet of Catllaràs, another curious masonry A-frame, like something out of a fairy tale with expressive dormers and spiral staircase, built as a shelter for coal miners.

Images for this episode can be found on the YouTube video version of the show: https://youtu.be/vWtYFwhvmW0

Edited by Matthew Lloyd Roberts.

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

Please rate and review the show on your podcast store to help other people find us!

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We’re on the web at aboutbuildingsandcities.org

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