About Buildings + Cities

de Luke Jones & George Gingell Discuss Architecture, History and Culture

Luke Jones & George Gingell Discuss Architecture, History and Culture

Episodios

87 — Carlo Scarpa — 1/3 — Not Every Architect is an Artist

por Luke Jones & George Gingell Discuss Architecture, History and Culture

In our first episode on Carlo Scarpa, we're trying something new! We've made a video to accompany the episode that you can find on our YouTube Channel, in which you can watch Luke and George discuss the enigmatic architecture of Carlo Scarpa, accompanied by images of the buildings! Make sure you subscribe on YouTube to keep up to date.

This is an experiment, so let us know what you think! We will always put out these main episodes here on the podcast feed, and we will try to keep them accessible to those in audio only. As always, accompanying images will appear on our socials. Thanks to everyone for supporting the show and making this new model possible, do give us a review on your podcast app if you're enjoying what we do.

Edited by Matthew Lloyd Roberts.

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86 — Ian Nairn — 3/3 — Nairn on TV

por Luke Jones & George Gingell Discuss Architecture, History and Culture

In the final episode in our series on Ian Nairn, we discussed the 1967 book 'Britain's Changing Towns' and the BBC television work that has granted Nairn a viral afterlife on YouTube.

Here's the Nairn clip from the outro: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4K-53widcdY You can find all the Nairn tv shows we discussed in the episode by simply searching 'Ian Nairn' on Youtube, and we'll be posting some Nairn clips on the socials over the next couple of weeks.

Bonus episode for patreon subscribers on Gordon Cullen and Townscapes will be out this week!

This episode is sponsored by Blue Crow Media, purveyors of beautiful architectural maps, including maps of London tube stations and Art Deco or Brutalist architecture in London, in the tradition of Ian Nairn! Use the code aboutbuildings at checkout for 10% off! https://bluecrowmedia.com/

Edited by Matthew Lloyd Roberts.

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85 — Ian Nairn — 2/3 — Nairn's London

por Luke Jones & George Gingell Discuss Architecture, History and Culture

In the second episode of our series on Ian Nairn, we talked about Nairn's London, the 1966 architectural guide to the city which was the critic's magnum opus. We discussed his inimitable prose style, his deep knowledge of the buildings of London, the afterlife of the book and its un-propositional nature.

This episode includes clips from a walking tour of the West End that we took with Nairn's London in hand. The full audio tour of the West End will be published on our Patreon for subscribers!

This episode is sponsored by Blue Crow Media, purveyors of beautiful architectural maps, including maps of London tube stations and Art Deco or Brutalist architecture in London, in the tradition of Ian Nairn! Use the code aboutbuildings at checkout for 10% off! https://bluecrowmedia.com/

Edited by Matthew Lloyd Roberts.

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

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84 — Ian Nairn — 1/3 — Subtopia

por Luke Jones & George Gingell Discuss Architecture, History and Culture

The first episode in our new series on the work of architectural critic Ian Nairn. In this first episode we discussed his breakout work for the Architectural Review, Outrage, which railed against 'subtopia', the suburban sprawl of concrete and fencing that Nairn saw ruining the British environment in the decades after World War 2. We also discussed his writings on America, his similarities to Jane Jacobs and his work on Nikolaus Pevsner's Buildings of England.

Nairn has become something of a cult figure in recent years, with his uniquely irascible and sullen television style enjoying a successful afterlife on YouTube. In our next episode we'll be discussing his guide books: Nairn's London and Changing Towns, followed by a final episode on his TV work.

This episode is sponsored by https://bluecrowmedia.com/, who produce beautiful architectural maps that show you all the architectural highlights of a city, including newly released maps of Modernism in Venice and Prague. Use the offer code aboutbuildings for 10% off your next purchase.

Edited by Matthew Lloyd Roberts.

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*Preview* — 77.5 — Patrick Keiller Bonus Episode

por Luke Jones & George Gingell Discuss Architecture, History and Culture

This is a preview of a bonus episode we published on Patreon as part of our series of WG Sebald's 'Austerlitz', subscribe to our Patreon to subscribe and get access to our back catalogue of bonus episodes.

In this bonus episode we talked about the films of Patrick Keiller, specifically 'London' (1994) and 'Robinson in Space' (1997), a pair of meticulously observed polemical psycho-geographies, exploring the derangements and idiosyncrasies of Britain in the Long 90s. Like in the work of Sebald, a narrator stands in for Keiller, and relates to us the strange beliefs and worldview of his interlocutor, Robinson. Keiller's exploration is laboured with literary accretions, wry observations about the decline and fall of Great Britain, and more than a little righteous anger.

Edited by Matthew Lloyd Roberts.

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79 — Otto Wagner — 1/5 — Ringstraße Rent Palaces

por Luke Jones & George Gingell Discuss Architecture, History and Culture

This is the first episode in our new series on Otto Wagner. In it we discussed 19th century Vienna, an ancient city wracked by extremes of urbanisation and population boom; political radicalism and revolution. A crumbling ancient order and an emerging modern metropolis came to create the Ringstraße, a vast redevelopment programme that took the empty space around the walls of the old city and filled it with vast marble institutions and speculatively built apartment complexes that came to symbolise the newly empowered liberal city.

Into this fiery melting pot came Otto Wagner, a singular architect, often hailed as a precursor to modernism, whose career we will be exploring over the course of this multi-part series (with slightly shorter episodes that we will release more regularly).

There's lots of images in this one so please come to instagram to see them!

Edited by Matthew Lloyd Roberts.

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80 — Otto Wagner — 2/5 — The Style Question

por Luke Jones & George Gingell Discuss Architecture, History and Culture

In our second episode on Otto Wagner, we discussed a couple of Wagner's early buildings, specifically the Landerbank in Vienna and the Rumbach Street Synagogue in Budapest. Both are tantalising glimpses of the themes that would dominate his later, most famous works.

We then discussed the architectural theory that was being produced in vast quantities in the German-speaking lands of the 19th century, specifically how they addressed the question of architectural style, posing the question 'In what style should we build?' These authors, such as Gottfried Semper, Heinrich Hübsch and Carl Gottlieb Wilhelm Bötticher offered complex justifications for different architectural styles, grounded in stories about history, structural logic, skeuomorphs and culture.

Otto Wagner plunged headlong into this debate with his 1896 book, Modern Architecture: A Guidebook for His Students to this Field of Art, which offered his own view on the answer to the style question, and prefigured many of the arguments and ideas touted by the modern movement in the 20th century.

Go to Blue Crow Media and use the offer code AboutBuildings at checkout to get 10% off your next architectural map.

Edited by Matthew Lloyd Roberts.

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81 — Otto Wagner — 3/5 — On the Stadtbahn

por Luke Jones & George Gingell Discuss Architecture, History and Culture

In this episode, we talked about the middle stage of Otto Wagner's career, primarily his work on the infrastructure of the city of Vienna. Visit our instagram and Twitter for pictures of the dams, railway stations and bridges that shaped Viennese modernity and provided the infrastructure for this rapidly growing city.

Edited by Matthew Lloyd Roberts.

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*Preview* — 81.5 — Klimt

por Luke Jones & George Gingell Discuss Architecture, History and Culture

This is a preview of our latest bonus episode on Gustav Klimt and the Vienna Secession, get access to the full episode on our Patreon.

In this episode we discussed the work of the Vienna Secession beyond Otto Wagner, particularly the artist Gustav Klimt. The Secession were a group of radical artists who were central to establishing the Art Nouveau in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Klimt's paintings, with their flattened perspectives, hallucinatory colours and heroin-chic female nudes made him famous, however increasingly prominent commissions led to his style coming into conflict with the dominant hierarchies of taste within the Empire.

Edited by Matthew Lloyd Roberts.

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82 — Otto Wagner — 4/5 — Secession

por Luke Jones & George Gingell Discuss Architecture, History and Culture

In the penultimate episode in our series on Otto Wagner, we discussed Wagner's most famous projects, the art nouveau works produced at the height of the Vienna Secession. We talked about the Majolikahaus, other art nouveau apartment blocks, the Karlsplatz stadtbahn station and his transcendent Kirche am Steinhof designed for a psychiatric hospital with Wagner also masterplanned.

There's one more episode to come on Otto Wagner, where we will discuss his relationship to modernism! Our next series on the British architectural critic Ian Nairn will start in June.

Edited by Matthew Lloyd Roberts.

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83 —Otto Wagner — 5/5 — Proto-Modernist

por Luke Jones & George Gingell Discuss Architecture, History and Culture

Our final episode on Otto Wagner considers his relationship to modernism, asking whether Wagner was a predecessor to modernism. We discussed his most modern building, the Österreichische Postsparkasse or Austrian Postal Savings Bank, like so much in Vienna at this time, a coming together of the old world and the new.

Our next series on Ian Nairn will start very soon!

Edited by Matthew Lloyd Roberts.

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

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78 —WG Sebald's Austerlitz — 2/2

por Luke Jones & George Gingell Discuss Architecture, History and Culture

Our second episode on WG Sebald's 2001 novel 'Austerlitz', in which discussed the complexities of depicting the holocaust, psychoanalysis, Perrault's Bibliothèque Nationale, Liverpool Street Station and Casanova.

Watch Sebald giving a reading of Austerlitz and listen to an interview with him on KCRW.

This episode is sponsored by Blue Crow Media, who gorgeous architectural maps. Use the offer code aboutbuildings at checkout to get 10% off.

Edited by Matthew Lloyd Roberts.

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

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77 — WG Sebald's Austerlitz — 1/2

por Luke Jones & George Gingell Discuss Architecture, History and Culture

In our first episode of 2021 we discussed Austerlitz, WG Sebald's last novel, published just months before he died in a tragic accident. The novel is concerned with memory and trauma, explored through the life of Jacques Austerlitz, an architectural historian who has repressed his childhood memories of fleeing Prague as a refugee on the Kindertransport. Through Austerlitz's process of remembering and discovering his history, and the fate of his parents in Nazi concentration camps, the book explores the challenges of remembering and representing the Holocaust. It is a deeply architectural novel, concerned with different ways of understanding the historical agency of architecture, and the power that space and material culture have on the formation of memory and the process of remembering.

Edited by Matthew Lloyd Roberts.

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

Our sponsor for this episode is Blue Crow Media, who produce gorgeous architectural maps of different cities, including Pyongyang, Tbilisi and New York. Use the offer code aboutbuildings for 10% off your next purchase.

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*Preview* — 76.5 — Robert Moses Bonus Episode

por Luke Jones & George Gingell Discuss Architecture, History and Culture

This is a preview from our latest Patreon Bonus Episode – subscribe to our Patreon for just $3 a month to listen to the whole episode! Thank you to everyone who supported the show this year, we couldn't have done it without you, and we can't wait to discuss more architectural history in 2021.

Our final episode for 2020 is here and our last episode on Jane Jacobs. We're discussing Robert Moses, the megalomaniacal titan of New York planning who wielded enormous political power and bent the metropolis to his will, orchestrating a symphony of demolitions, highways, expressways and grands projets which changed the face of the city forever.

'You can draw any kind of picture you want on a clean slate and indulge your every whim in the wilderness in laying out a New Delhi, Canberra, or Brasilia, but when you operate in an overbuilt metropolis, you have to hack your way with a meat ax.'

He was also a spiteful bully, a racist, an egomaniac and a very difficult man, yet he maintained his authority and his power for almost 3 decades before a precipitous fall in the 1960s, when public and political opinion turned against him for good. He embodied everything that Jane Jacobs despised about urban planning, but his life and work have much to tell us about the mid-century city.

Edited by Matthew Lloyd Roberts.

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76 — Jane Jacobs — 2/2 — Unslumming and Gentrification

por Luke Jones & George Gingell Discuss Architecture, History and Culture

Our second episode on Jane Jacobs' canonical work, 'The Death and Life of Great American Cities'. In this second half we further discuss her vision for the ideal city, based on her experiences in Greenwich Village in the 1950s. We focus on her ideas around 'unslumming', her alternative model of gentle and community-led gentrification which offered an alternative to the mass-demolition of deprived neighbourhoods advocated by planners during this period. We talk about the ethics and politics of gentrification and Jane's blindspot for certain pernicious effects of market economics, and her proposals for economic health. We also discuss her approach to the car in the city, which will feel very familiar to anyone concerned with transportation and urbanism today. Subscribe to our Patreon for a bonus episode coming soon on Jane's campaigns against Robert Moses and the Lower Manhattan Expressway.

Our sponsor for this episode is Blue Crow Media, who produce gorgeous architectural maps of different cities, including Pyongyang, Tbilisi and New York. Use the offer code aboutbuildings for 10% off your next purchase!

Edited by Matthew Lloyd Roberts.

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

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75 — Jane Jacobs — 1/2 — Eyes on the Street

por Luke Jones & George Gingell Discuss Architecture, History and Culture

The first episode in a two-part series on Jane Jacobs, a profoundly influential writer, thinker and campaigner on issues of urbanism, whose magnum opus 'The Death and Life of Great American Cities' (1961) forms the backbone of our discussion. In it, Jacobs lays out an idealised vision of tight-knit, dense communities, inspired by her time living in Greenwich Village, Manhattan. It is a vision of an interconnected, urban way of life dominated by local small-scale agents: families, independent businesses and community ties from which emerge vitality, security and comfort in densely populated streets of tenements with wide sidewalks and endless lines of sight across the bustling public spaces.

Jacobs' work was a rejection of many sacred cows of modernist planning, espoused by architects and bureaucrats alike: questions of density, scale, urban grain, transportation and space. Jacobs felt that their efforts rarely supported the vitality and energy she found so alluring in the tenements of Greenwich Village.

Subscribe to our Patreon for a discussion of one of the infrastructure projects Jacobs campaigned against: Robert Moses and the Lower Manhattan Expressway.

Also, we just reached 1 million listens on this feed! Thank you so much for all your support, we couldn't have done it without you. Remember to tell a friend, and give the show a review if you enjoyed it.

Our sponsor for this episode is Blue Crow Media, who produce gorgeous architectural maps of different cities, including Pyongyang, Tbilisi and New York. Use the offer code aboutbuildings for 10% off your next purchase!

Edited by Matthew Lloyd Roberts.

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

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74 — Monasteries — 3/3 — Fourier, Narkomfin, La Tourette

por Luke Jones & George Gingell Discuss Architecture, History and Culture

The final episode in our series on the deep history of the monastery. Modernity has arrived and monasticism is living a strange afterlife. First, we discuss the early 19th century Utopian Socialism of Charles Fourier, whose Phalanstère take the framework of the monastery and repurpose it to build community whose purpose is not the Opus Dei, but to ensure that all its members live fulfilling and happy lives. Next come the Constructivist communities of the early Soviet Union, where monastic communal living is weaponised as a tool to smash traditional bourgeois lifestyles and mould the next generation. Lastly we return to the the sunny hills of southern France, where Le Corbusier brought together his late-career love of sculptural concrete with the religious revival in postwar France to build the greatest monastery of the 20th century, La Tourette.

Our final episode of this series, on Romanticism and the Monastery, will be out on our Patreon feed next week.

Make sure you visit our instagram and view the pinned stories on 'Monasteries' for all the images from this series. Our next series on Jane Jacobs will begin next month.

Edited by Matthew Lloyd Roberts.

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73 — Monasteries — 2/3 — The Apostolic Life

por Luke Jones & George Gingell Discuss Architecture, History and Culture

In our second episode on Monasteries we're talking about Carthusians, millenarian religiosity, the co-option of radicalism by the mainstream, baroque splendour, Slow TV, retirement bungalows and whether Jesus owned the shirt on his back. In this episode we attempt to delve into the way that monastery buildings facilitate true Monastic obedience, and the way that different typologies of monastic domesticity might reflect different priorities in their orders. We also question how the Church harnessed the radical and dangerous power of popular religiosity by co-opting some movements into the status quo, such as the Franciscan Order, whilst burning countless Cathars and Waldensians as heretics.

For more on these themes, catch our latest bonus episode on Umberto Eco's 'The Name of the Rose'. Another Patreon Bonus on Dominican heretic Tommaso Campanella's psychedelic and monkish Utopia 'The City of the Sun' will be out very soon.

You can watch the documentary we mention about a Carthusian Monastery 'Into Great Silence' on YouTube

Edited by Matthew Lloyd Roberts.

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72 — Monasteries — 1/3 — Cluniacs and Cistercians

por Luke Jones & George Gingell Discuss Architecture, History and Culture

In this new 3 part series we’re trying something a little bit different, we’re going to try and think about the monastery from deep time up to the present day. The monastery is an almost unique architectural typology; in its continuity, the specificity of the brief and its legacy and afterlife. In this first episode we discuss the origins of the monastery, and the conflict that arises between differing visions of monastic life in 11-12th century France. What role should architecture, art, sculptural decoration, gold, marble and jewels play in the life of a monk sworn to poverty? How can the architecture and style of monasteries give voice to the ideologies of the monastic orders that live in them? We will be thinking about the afterlife of monasteries in the fervent imagination of modernism in later episodes.

Make sure you visit our pinned instagram story to see images of the amazing buildings we are discussing.

This episode is sponsored by Blue Crow Media, who publish lushly designed architectural maps of cities all over the world, from brutalist Sydney to Art Deco New York. Use the offer code aboutbuildings to get 10% off if you buy before the end of August.

Edited by Matthew Lloyd Roberts.

Support the show on Patreon to receive bonus content for every show. For this episode we will very shortly be releasing a Patreon bonus on Umberto Eco's post-modern genre mashup 'The Name of the Rose'.

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71 — Christopher Alexander — 2/2 — Pattern Language

por Luke Jones & George Gingell Discuss Architecture, History and Culture

In our second episode on Christopher Alexander, we discuss 'A Pattern Language', the book he wrote with Murray Silverstein and Sara Ishikawa, published in 1977. The text proposes a list of patterns, derived from experience, imagination and vernacular traditions, from the scale of the city to the balcony and the flowerbed. The text has been influential on many professions, from architects to computer programmers, and its blend of universal claims, spatial analysis, political idiosyncrasy and design logic makes it a unique and intriguing piece of theory. We then discuss some of Alexander's buildings, which we admittedly have not been to visit, but generally we find them to be somewhat wanting!

Edited by Matthew Lloyd Roberts.

Support the show on Patreon to receive bonus content for every show. Check out our most recent bonus on the debate between Christopher Alexander and Peter Eisenman at Harvard in 1982.

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<img alt="Picture of Alexander's Sala House" src="https://pbs.twimg.com/media/EcyqtGiWkAEMrgH?format=jpg&name=900x900" title="Sala House" />

<img src="https://pbs.twimg.com/media/EcyqtGiWkAEMrgH?format=jpg&name=900x900" alt="Sala House" title="Sala House" width="900" height="900" />

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70 — Christopher Alexander — 1/2 —Notes on the Synthesis of Form

por Luke Jones & George Gingell Discuss Architecture, History and Culture

This is the first episode of a new series on Design Theorist, Architect, Mathematician and Computation Fan, Christopher Alexander. Alexander studied Mathematics at Cambridge University in the 1950s, then undertook the first ever PhD in Architecture at Harvard, where he applied newly emerging ideas of computational analysis to questions of design. The results of this combination are bizarre, often illogical, undeniably of there time, but also lay the foundations for much subsequent interaction between design and computation, including the Parametricism that we discussed in our last series on Zaha Hadid. In this first episode we mainly discuss his 1964 work Notes on the Synthesis of Form, which was based on his PhD thesis. Make sure to subscribe to catch the next episode, where we will discuss his 1977 work with Ishikawa and Silverstein, Pattern Language.

Edited by Matthew Lloyd Roberts.

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69 — Zaha Hadid — 4/4 — The Parametric Years

por Luke Jones & George Gingell Discuss Architecture, History and Culture

In this final episode on Zaha Hadid we discuss a small fraction of the huge number of projects that ZHA produced from the early noughties up to Zaha's untimely death in 2016. We attempt to reflect on Zaha's legacy as a designer, try to understand what concepts defined her design process, from Parametricism to pure sculptural form. There are so many projects from this period that we could have talked about, so we focus on discussing the most

Projects discussed: Maxxi Museum in Rome, Ordrupgaard Museum Extension in Denmark, Phaeno Science Centre in Wolfsburg, the Kartal Masterplan proposed for Istanbul, Bergisel Ski Jump and the Nordpark railway stations in Innbruck, the London Aquatic Centre built for the 2012 Olympics, the Library at the University of Economics in Vienna, Dongdaemun Design Plaza in Seoul, the SOHO projects in Beijing and the King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center in Saudi Arabia.

Pictures of all these projects will be on our pinned instagram story titled 'Zaha 4'.

The site recording at the London Aquatics Centre will be published in full on our Patreon, which you can access for just $3 a month.

Edited by Matthew Lloyd Roberts.

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68 — Zaha Hadid — 3/4 — Vitra to Cardiff

por Luke Jones & George Gingell Discuss Architecture, History and Culture

The third part of our ongoing series on Zaha Hadid! In this episode we discuss the early buildings of the practice, including IBA housing in Berlin, Vitra Fire Station, Spittelau Viaduct Housing, and the unbuilt competition winning design for the Cardiff Opera House. As always, make sure you check out our pinned instagram story to see pictures of all of the projects we discuss. Thanks for listening!

Edited by Matthew Lloyd Roberts.

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Bonus Unlocked — 48.5 — OMA — Bigness

por Luke Jones & George Gingell Discuss Architecture, History and Culture

UNLOCKED PATREON BONUS

This unlocked bonus episode comes from our Patreon feed, where we post extra content and bonus discussions with every episode of the podcast. This bonus follows on from Episode 48, discussing the early projects of OMA and the theory of BIGNESS developed by Rem Koolhaas. If you want to access many hours of bonus material like this, you can subscribe to our Patreon for just $3 a month at www.patreon.com/about_buildings.

Our series on Zaha Hadid will continue next week.

Edited by Matthew Lloyd Roberts.

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67 — Zaha Hadid — 2/4 — The Peak

por Luke Jones & George Gingell Discuss Architecture, History and Culture

In our second episode on Zaha Hadid, we're covering the rest of the 1980s, from the competition to design the Peak Leisure Centre in Hong Kong, to the Deconstructivism exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. The episode also includes an interview with Andrew King, a principal at Lemay Architects in Canada, Professor at McGill University and winner of two AIA Progressive Architecture Awards. In the late 1980s Andrew worked in Zaha's office, and the interview gives a wonderful insight into Zaha's method and the close personal relationships she forged with people who worked for her. We want to warmly thank Andrew for his time and memories of Zaha, and also thank friend of the show Kai Woolner-Pratt for putting us in touch with him. If you want to listen to the full length interview, you can find it on our Patreon.

Make sure you check out the Zaha Hadid pinned story on our instagram to see all the images for this episode.

Edited by Matthew Lloyd Roberts.

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66 — Zaha Hadid — 1/4 — AA Days

por Luke Jones & George Gingell Discuss Architecture, History and Culture

In our first episode on Zaha Hadid, we dive into the spell-binding work of one of the most famous, controversial and interesting architects of her generation. We begin by imagining the unique atmosphere of the Architectural Association in the 1970s, where Zaha was a student, taught by Leon Krier, Rem Koolhaas and innumerable other architectural luminaries. We examine two of her student projects, Malevich's Tektonik and A Museum for the 19th Century, both heavily influenced by an interest in Russian revolutionary avant-garde art, from Suprematism to Constructivism. We then discuss one of her earliest competition entries, the residence for the Irish Taoiseach in 1979. In the next episode we will cover her competition entry for the Peak in Hong Kong and interview Professor Andrew King, who worked at her office in the late 1980s.

The Rem Koolhaas lecture that Luke discusses in the episode can be found on the AA Lecture Archive.

Go to Instagram, and have a look at our pinned story for Zaha, which will include all the images you could desire in the correct order with captions and explanations.

Edited by Matthew Lloyd Roberts.

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65 — Andrei Tarkovsky — 3/3 — Nostalghia and The Sacrifice

por Luke Jones & George Gingell Discuss Architecture, History and Culture

In our final episode on Andrei Tarkovsky, we discuss the two films he directed after leaving the Soviet Union: Nostalghia (1983) and The Sacrifice (1986). Both films see a continued intensification of the directorial moves that Tarkovsky had been developing for his whole career: from heightened and ecstatic soundtracks to long and suspenseful shots; from close-ups of valuable objects in the mud to underdeveloped and over-emotional female characters. The films both draw heavily on the landscapes of Northern Italy and the island of Gotland in Sweden, which are rendered sublimely beautiful through Tarkovsky's unique blend of painterly compositions and disorientating surrealism. We hope you enjoyed this series on the films of Tarkovsky, next up we will be returning to architecture in the company of the inimitable Zaha Hadid!

Edited by Matthew Lloyd Roberts.

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64 — Andrei Tarkovsky — 2/3 — Stalker

por Luke Jones & George Gingell Discuss Architecture, History and Culture

In our second episode on Soviet director and auteur Andrei Tarkovsky we discuss his most well known film and possibly his magnum opus, Stalker (1979). The last film that Tarkovsky made whilst living in the Soviet Union, Stalker is loosely adapted from the novel Roadside Picnic by Boris and Arkady Strugatsky.

In Stalker, Tarkovsky takes decaying the post-industrial ruinous landscapes and transforms them into the mysterious 'Zone', a land full of hidden rules and invisible threats, that our trio of anguished and existentially angsty protagonists must traverse. Our characters are the Writer and the Professor, guided through the mysterious and dreamlike landscape by the eponymous Stalker. In this episode we discuss the unique artistic and technical feats that make this movie such a cult classic, and some of our quibbles with Tarkovsky's ethic.

Edited by Matthew Lloyd Roberts.

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63 — Andrei Tarkovsky — 1/3 — Setting the Stage

por Luke Jones & George Gingell Discuss Architecture, History and Culture

In this first part of our new series on legendary Russian director Andrei Arsenyevich Tarkovsky we discuss his early films: Ivan's Childhood (1962), Andrei Rublev (1966), Solaris (1972) and Mirror (1975). We will also be releasing a Patreon bonus very shortly with discussions of the work Tarkovsky did whilst studying at film school, including The Violin and the Steamroller (1961).

Tarkovsky's work is greatly favoured among architects, despite not being explicitly architectural. His strange dream-like visions conjure up a unique spatial experience, with strange and often confusing materiality that hovers somewhere between a childhood memory and a disturbing nightmare. In this episode we discuss his interest in the paintings of Bruegel, the importance of faith to his work, his overpowering Oedipal complex, his run-ins with the Soviet authorities, and the artificial naturalism of his sets.

Make sure you subscribe to catch our next Tarkovsky episode, where we will be discussing Stalker (1979).

Edited by Matthew Lloyd Roberts.

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62 — Leon Battista Alberti — 2/2 — Building the Quattrocento

por Luke Jones & George Gingell Discuss Architecture, History and Culture

62 — Leon Battista Alberti — 2/2 — Building the Quattrocento

Having discussed his magnum opus, 'De Re Aedificatoria' in the last episode, here we discuss the curious collection of buildings that Alberti designed across Italy over the course of his lifetime. From the hulking and austere white stone of the Tempio Malatestiano in Rimini to the carefully proportioned fine marble inlay of the Santa Maria Novella in Florence, these buildings have a unique feeling, that reflects the idiosyncratic interests of Alberti in conjuring the authentic mood of Classical Architecture, within the confines of his rigid understanding of proportion and geometry. These moments of strangeness are heightened by the incomplete nature of much of the work, and his own distance from the construction process, most of which he directed by letter. Make sure you check out the pinned story on our instagram for this episode, where you will find lots of high quality images of the buildings we're discussing.

Edited by Matthew Lloyd Roberts.

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61 — Leon Battista Alberti — 1/2 — De Re Aedificatoria

por Luke Jones & George Gingell Discuss Architecture, History and Culture

In this first episode of a two parter, we tackle the original big beautiful bouncing boy of the High Italian Renaissance, Leon Battista Alberti, and his 1485 blockbuster publication, On the Art of Building in Ten Books. After Vitruvius' original Ten Books, De Re Aedificatoria represents only the second explicitly architectural treatise in the history of Western Architecture. Alberti's work covers everything you'd need to start building and much more, including: sacrificial animal murder; mysterious gases that leak from the ground; how best to control a mob; endless quotations from Classical sources and some ruminations on the nature of beauty. We also discuss the historical context of Renaissance Italy, Florentine class-warfare shenanigans and the many strange and unexpected twists and turns of this enigmatic cornerstone of the canon. In the second episode we will be discussing Alberti's buildings!

Edited by Matthew Lloyd Roberts.

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60 — Reyner Banham — 2/2 — Design By Choice

por Luke Jones & George Gingell Discuss Architecture, History and Culture

In our second and final episode on Reyner Banham, we discuss his pivot to Los Angeles, his love affair with Archigram, his theories of Megastructure, and his later projects on American industrial vernacular ('Concrete Atlantis') and his unpublished book about the High-Tech movement.

After his support of the Smithsons and the 'New Brutalism' Banham was next renowned for supporting and publicising the work of English paper-architecture utopia-envisioners Archigram. We discuss Archigram, their lack of built fabric and the potentials of ecstatic 1960s techno-optimism. Banham's most iconic work is probably his 1972 documentary 'Reyner Banham Loves Los Angeles' and we discuss the documentary, Banham's idiosyncratic presenting style, as well as his blind spots around race, class, and the un-freedom of bottomless consumption. You will hear a series of clips from the documentary scattered through the episode. We also reflect on Banham's legacy, the revival of his reputation, and the difficulties of techno-optimism in the face of the climate crisis.

Edited by Matthew Lloyd Roberts.

Support the show on Patreon to receive bonus content for every show. The next bonus episode will be discussing the ropily-acted Sci-Fi cult classic 'Silent Running' in all its Banham-ite glory.

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59 — Reyner Banham — 1/2 — Science for Kicks

por Luke Jones & George Gingell Discuss Architecture, History and Culture

As requested by the listeners, part one of a two parter on Reyner Banham!

Banham was an architectural critic, historian, scenester and prophet of the future, with a flair for iconoclastic and pugilistic writing. In this first episode we discuss his background in Norwich and his studies at the Courtauld Institute under Nikolaus Pevsner, where he wrote his PhD on the history of the modern movement. We then consider his involvement with 'The Independent Group' at the Institute of Contemporary Art, his support for the 'New Brutalism' of Alison and Peter Smithson, and his role in British architectural culture.

Central to the development of Banham's project was his obsession with technology and his growing fascination with the potentials of American consumerism and the ways it might change architecture. We conclude with his ecstatic vision of the mechanical pudenda of technological architecture, in his first visits to America and his plastic bag homes.

Here are the key Banham texts we discussed in this episode:

PhD thesis (later to be published as Theory and Design in the First Machine Age)

'School at Hunstanton, Norfolk' Architectural Review, September 1954

'The Machine Aesthetic' Architectural Review, April 1955

'Vehicles of Desire' Art, September 1955

'The New Brutalism' Architectural Review, December 1955

Theory and Design in the First Machine Age, 1960

'The History of the Immediate Future' RIBA Journal, May 1961

'What Architecture of Technology?' Architectural Review, February 1962

'A Clip-On Architecture' Design Quarterly 63, 1965

'A Home is Not a House' Art in America, Vol. 2 1965

Edited by Matthew Lloyd Roberts.

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58 — The Reactionaries — 3/3 — The Empire Strikes Back

por Luke Jones & George Gingell Discuss Architecture, History and Culture

In our final episode on Reactionaries, we explore the politics and theory that underpinned the reactionary rejection of Modernism in the 70s and 80s. We discuss Prince Charles' architectural interventions and the theories of our future king's favourite architect, Leon Krier (and Krier's problematic fave, Albert Speer). We also dive into the hotbed of Trad theorising, Peterhouse College Cambridge, and its two favourite sons, architectural historian David Watkin and philosopher Roger Scruton. We explore the framing of traditionalist theory against modernist hegemony, and ask if the architectural consensus of the 21st century is a bit more Trad than some advocates would admit.

We also dip our toes into the culture war, and ask questions about the political connotations of architectural style in the age of social media. Is an obsession with style actually holding us back from confronting the real social, economic and political problems that ail the city? Ultimately, we lament the destruction of good architecture of any style, with a poignant reflection on the proposed fate of the Aton Estate in Roehampton

Edited by Matthew Lloyd Roberts.

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57 — The Reactionaries — 2/3 — Caesar's Palace without the Fun

por Luke Jones & George Gingell Discuss Architecture, History and Culture

In our second episode on Reactionaries, we explore the rejection of modernism by traditionalist architects and theorists in England after the Second World War. Modernism became the hegemonic architectural and urbanist mode in England during this period, and we examine those who rejected the consensus, and sought to continue the retreat into the past, designing architecture that occasionally verges on Caesar's Palace, without any of the fun.

In this episode, we discuss Raymond Erith, the traditionalist architect who restored Number 10 Downing Street in the 1960s. We go on to discuss his pupil, Quinlan Terry, whose Richmond Riverside Development we went to visit and recorded our observations in situ. Their stodgy, and often unsuccessful attempts to revive and reconjure a classical vernacular expresses a political and ideological agenda that we attempt to unpack, and will go on to discuss in our final episode on the Reactionaries.

As always, find images on our social media feeds, and footage from the trip to Richmond in a pinned story on our instagram.

There will be a bonus episode discussing the cult 60s TV Show The Prisoner for Patreon Subscribers.

Edited by Matthew Lloyd Roberts.

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