Tuesday, July 14, 2009

art in architecture

This seems strangely appropriate after yesterday’s post. I’ve just been searching through my old filofax (trying to locate something I thought I’d saved). Needless to say, I didn’t find what I was looking for…. but I DID come across an article by Jonathan Meades that I’d ripped out of a copy of “Building” magazine in January 2005 (a month before I retired from my architectural practice). Over the years, I’d long argued with anyone would listen that architects, ideally, needed to be artists and should have an ability to draw. I frequently used to attend “careers conventions” at various schools and this is the advice I would frequently trot out. Some people from my office disagreed with this contention. The Meades’ article came as a wonderful boost. In it, he bemoans the fact, in his view, that architecture has become a “controlled and artistically emasculated business”. He argued that the qualifications for entry to architectural courses was simply wrong and that the “current emphasis on mathematics and physics” was misplaced (I actually did Maths, Further Maths and Art at A Level!). Meades referred to a speech given by the noted architect Sir Terry Farrell (“painter of neo-romantic landscapes, illustrator, pasticheur and photographer”). In it, Farrell contended that architecture’s self-image was increasingly that of a branch of civil engineering and called for a reassessment of the way architecture is taught and of whom it is taught to”. He argued that a “background in the visual arts is of incomparable value to the future architect”.

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