This video shows a lecture by George Saumarez Smith and Francis Terry on TEDx at London Business School. The first lecturer was educated at Winchester College and Edinburgh University. His work includes both new buildings and alterations, extensions and repairs to historic properties, and he has also been involved in design consultancy and urban master-planning on several projects. He has received various awards for his work including the overall winner of the 2006 RIBA Ibstock Downland Prize. In 2011 George was one of six shortlisted architects for the Young Architect of the Year Award. The second lecturer was educated at Stowe School and Cambridge University. He is a son of a world renowned architect Quinlan Terry. He regularly exhibits architectural drawings at the Royal Academy and was the winner of the Worshipful Company of Architects Prize for Architectural Drawing. During the lecture, architects present six frequently asked questions about classical architecture.
On the beginning of the lecture Saumarez Smith explains what is classical architecture. It is a kind of architecture which started in ancient Greece and Rome and which has its own set of rules. Those rules are based around five different kinds of column which architects called the five orders. Saumarez Smith explains that for about two thousand years the five orders were the basis of all architecture. However, about fifty years ago they stop being taught and most architects now do not know much about them and dismiss them as being irrelevant. He thinks that because it is not taught anymore, the only way people can really find out about grammar and language of buildings is by measuring and drawing them themselves.
Saumarez Smith answers also to question why is classical architecture relevant now. He convinces that architecture is always being dictated and influenced by fashion and taste but recently fashions and tastes have been moving much more quickly. He thinks that the fashion of the moment is for funny shaped buildings made of glass and they have been built in cities all around the world. Result of that fashion causes that a lot of cities are now beginning to look rather the same. Nevertheless, he thinks that things are changing a little bit. For one thing glass buildings are not very sustainable, they involve a lot of energy and cost in the construction maintenance and use, they also do not last very long. For another thing, people are concerned that the cities are beginning to lose their individual identities. In his opinion, for that reason a lot of people are now focusing on local traditions and way of building buildings which are going to last longer. He thinks that is why classical architecture is relevant now.
Saumarez Smith also brings up the subject of possibility of building a classical airport. When people have a first thought about it, they could think this is crazy. But he convinces when people actually thinks harder about it, it is maybe not that ridiculous after all. He gives an example of a building like Grand Central Station in New York City. He describes that this is a wonderful building designed as a ground classical space and when people arrive there, they have a tremendous sense of the place. Modern airports do not do that. He thinks that is the power to be uplifting which is one of the most exciting things about classical architecture.
The second lecturer starts with the answer to question: “is classical architecture appropriate for a modern city”?. He believes it is. He means that particularly the cities like London have these beautiful historic buildings and a lot of architects suggest that putting out mentioned glass buildings causes fragmentation of the streets. He adds that there are a lot of situations when a modern building is not appropriate.
Terry explains that some of people criticize classical architecture because it looks too easy or it is just copied. He does not see the problem with things being good if they are easy. He thinks that one of the problem with architecture is because it is very closely aligned to pinging and sculpture where being cutting-edge and new is how you make your name. He thinks that architecture should more correctly be associated with cooking which is a domestic art. When you cook you follow a recipe and a recipe is just a form of copying and no one would deny the amount of creativity you need when you cook.
Terry brings up the topic of the purpose of drawing. He convinces that one of the rather frustrating things about the visual creative industry in whole world is that people do not take these traditional skills seriously. For example, if people studied music and went to a music school, they would learn to play the piano beautifully irrespective of the taste they have. Architecture and art students are not being taught to draw well at schools because they do not value it. He thinks that his and Saumarez Smith’s drawing is an attempt to bring new life into drawing which, he and his partner think, is incredibly important skill and he hopes that they can transfer some of that passion to the others.
- Renowned Danish Architect Jan Gehl Advocates for Reducing the Energy Consumption in Buildings
- Will Alsop Shares his Point Of View on Architectural Tourism
- Architect Bjarke Ingels Shares His Design Philosophy
- Norman Foster Shares his Architectural Philosophy and his Point of View on the Sustainability
- Italian Architect Renzo Piano Shares His Architecture Philosophy