At the start of his three-volume The Stones of Venice, published from 1851 to 1853, John Ruskin sets out what will be a recurring theme in his explanation of the style of Venetian architecture. He proceeds from the state of Europe following the collapse of the Roman Empire:
On the north and west the influence was of the Latins; on the south and east of the Greeks. Two nations preeminent above all the rest. As the central power is eclipsed, the orbs of reflected light gather into their fullness; and when sensuality and idolatry had done their work and the religion of the empire was laid asleep in a glittering sepulchre, the living light rose upon both horizons and the fierce swords of the Lombard and the Arab were shaken over its golden paralysis.
The work of the Lombard was to give hardihood to the enervated body and enfeebled mind of Christendom; that of the Arab to punish idolatry and proclaim the spirituality of worship. Opposite in the character and mission, alike in the magnificence of their energy, they came from the North and from the South, the glacier torrent and the lava stream: they met and contended over the wreck of the Roman empire; the point of pause of both, the dead water of the opposite eddies, charged with embayed fragments of the Roman wreck is VENICE.
To carry out the research for The Stones of Venice, Ruskin arrived in that city in November of 1849, accompanied by his new wife, Effie. Venice had just been recaptured in August of that year by the Austrians. (It had joined in the revolutions general throughout Europe in 1848, by rebelling against Austrian rule.) To take Venice, the Austrians had resorted to remote bombardment. This destroyed the railway bridge connecting the city to the mainland, which had been constructed in 1846. The Austrians also devised a new form of aerial attack, using manned bomber balloons that sailed over the city dropping explosives. And so just prior to the Ruskins’ arrival, Venice had been summarily introduced to both modern transport and modern warfare.
"Everyone has a piece of the puzzle to help make PLACE the picture on the box." - Sir Terry FarrellCBE
The Farrell Review has been hailed by the RIBA. The government too is delighted – as well it should be, for the report is a cheerleader for most of the trends in planning and architecture it has promoted.
Let us start by being parochial and focus on what the report recommends for the future of architects and the role of the profession. Farrell recommends the abolition of ARB, with its functions taken over by the RIBA. He says: ‘For as long as protection of title is retained, the Architects Act should be amended to make the RIBA the registration body’. That sounds like something we should applaud, but look a little more closely. He also states: ‘The protection of title for architects while there is no protection of the function of architectural design is misguided.’ Nowhere does he advocate the protection of function and so he is quite clearly proposing that architects should have neither protection of function nor protection of title.
The report makes much use of the acronym PLACE and proposes a ‘PLACE Space’ in every major town. While, to many, this might sound like a well-meaning, happy-clappy, social venue, PLACE in fact stands for the serious business of planning/landscape/architecture/conservation/engineering. Farrell clarifies the notion of PLACE thus: ‘Everyone has a piece of the puzzle to help make PLACE the picture on the box.’ More worryingly, the former primary leadership role of architects has been reduced to one of parity with landscaping and other professions.
Georgian Group Awards 2014 Deadline Friday 19 September 2014
The Georgian Group Architectural Awards, sponsored by international estate agents Savills and now in their twelfth year, recognise exemplary conservation and restoration projects in the United Kingdom and reward those who have shown the vision and commitment to restore Georgian buildings and landscapes. Awards are also given for high-quality new buildings in Georgian contexts and in the Classical tradition.
Entries for the 2014 awards are now being accepted. There is no entry fee. Schemes must be in the United Kingdom, Isle of Man or Channel Islands and must have reached practical completion between 1st January 2013 and 1st August 2014. For the purpose of the Awards, the term ‘Georgian’ embraces the period of classical ascendancy in Britain and is taken to mean 1660-1840. The owner's consent is a condition of entry. Please send a description of your project with a selection of images to email@example.com or to The Georgian Group, 6 Fitzroy Square, London W1T 5DX by 5pm on Friday 19 September 2014. For restoration schemes, before and after shots should be included. Please note: if you are sending digital images/files bigger than 5MB in total please use Dropbox (to firstname.lastname@example.org) or the file transfer site www.wetransfer.com
The award categories are:
Restoration of a Georgian Country House
Restoration of a Georgian Interior
Restoration of a Georgian Building in an Urban Setting
Reuse of a Georgian Building
Restoration of a Georgian Garden or Landscape
New Building in the Classical Tradition
New Building in a Georgian Context
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