The Twentieth Century Society

Campaigning for outstanding buildings

ZOOM EVENT: Autumn Lecture Series 2023: Monumentality Revisited COMPLETE SERIES

ZOOM EVENT: Autumn Lecture Series 2023: Monumentality Revisited Complete Series 

Thursdays from 19 October to 30 November at 6.30 pm 

The complete series of the hybrid Autumn Lectures for 2023 which will focus on the idea of monumentality.

During the twentieth century, the idea of monumentality has been in and out of favour several times, and it seems that despite serious critical reservations, architecture cannot reject it totally. Investigating this topic assists in charting some lesser-known figures of the period, and their work in turn illuminates the variety of forms and building types through which this concept has been explored.

Ranging from pre-1914 classicism, through some famous buildings by architects who are largely forgotten, and from classicism in Imperial outposts to India’s more recent re-seeding in north London, this series opens new perspectives on our understanding.

19 October. Monumentality on the Mersey: The Architecture of Herbert J. Rowse, Iain Jackson

Iain Jackson will discuss some of the major projects designed by Rowse from the Portland stone moderne Mersey Tunnel, India Buildings and Martins bank, through to the giant brick tunnel extracts, Philharmonic Hall and ‘battle of the plans’ Woodchurch Estate.

Iain Jackson is professor at Liverpool School of Architecture and codirector of the AHUWA research group. He co-authored a monograph on Maxwell Fry and Jane Drew and one on Herbert J. Rowse in the series Twentieth Century Architects. He is currently researching the architecture of the United Africa Company with a focus on their projects across Western Africa

26 October. Who’s afraid of big bad monuments?  - Alan Powers

As a background to the individual subject lectures that follow reviews the critical arguments for and against the idea of the monumental, especially how despite principled objections based in part on totalitarian adoptions of monumentality, architects in the post-war period valued the communal connotations of large formal buildings, so that monumental modernism and traditional revivals ran alongside each other, and the urge to be monumental never seems to disappear.

Alan Powers is a former Chairman of C20 and a current trustee. His books include Britain (2007), and Bauhaus Goes West (2019). He is a co-editor of C20’s publications Twentieth Century Architecture (journal) and Twentieth Century Architects (monographs), having collaborated on these over many years with the late Elain Harwood. Their collaborative monograph on Ernö Goldfinger will be published early in 2024. He teaches at London School of Architecture, New York University in London and the University of Kent.

2 November. Cachemaille-Day: Unconscious Monumentality in the Suburbs - Clare Price

Cachemaille-Day was the greatest parish church designer of the interwar period. Built for posterity, his churches are monuments in their suburban setting. Cachemaille-Day’s priority was the provision of spaces that worked for local communities, fulfilling a need for buildings to represent 'their social, ceremonial and community life'. This talk will explore how he designed landmark buildings in (arguably) unpromising surroundings to achieve this.

Clare Price is Head of Casework at the Twentieth Century Society and holds a DPhil from the University of Oxford for which she researched inter-war period church design. Recent publications include co-editing 100 Churches 100 Years (2019) with Elain Harwood and Susannah Charlton; and chapters in Re-construction (2023, ed. N. Shasore and J. Kelly); Holy Houses: Twentieth Century Architecture 14 (2023, ed. E. Harwood and A. Powers); Chancel Screens since the Reformation (2020, ed. M. Kirby) and Places of Worship in England and Wales 1929-1979 (forthcoming 2024, ed. P. Barnwell and A. Doig).' 

9 November. Monumental Designs on Democracy: Wembley to Waterloo - Neal Shasore

Neal will reflect on his recent book, Designs on Democracy, including the British Empire Exhibition at Wembley, Grey Wornum's headquarters for the RIBA at 66 Portland Place, and Giles Gilbert Scott's visions of the Thames riverside.

Neal Shasore is Head of School and Chief Executive of the London School of Architecture. Designs on Democracy: Architecture and the Public in Interwar London was published by Oxford University Press. A co-edited volume (with Jessica Kelly), Reconstruction: Architecture, Society and the Aftermath of the First World War, was published by Bloomsbury Academic earlier this year. He is a trustee of the Architectural Heritage Fund and the Twentieth Century Society.

16 November. Austen St Barbe Harrison: The Un-Englishman: An architect at Empire's End - Ellis Woodman

Born in London in 1891, Austen St Barbe Harrison worked extensively across the British Empire during its final turbulent decades.His major realised projects include the Rockefeller Museum in Jerusalem (1927-35) and the University of Ghana in Accra (1948-60). One of the most gifted and original English architects of his generation, Harrison had a complex relationship to the political contexts of the countries for which his work was designed.

Ellis Woodman is the director of the Architecture Foundation.  His biography of Austen St Barbe Harrison, The Un-Englishman: An architect at Empire's End will be published by MACK in 2024.

30 November. Neasden Temple - ’When Stones Speak’  - Tilak Parekh

The Neasden Temple (opened in 1995) is a prominent global religious and cultural landmark. It is the first traditional Hindu temple to be built outside of India and was for several years also the largest Hindu temple outside of India. To date, around 11 million visitors from more than 120 countries from around the world have visited the Temple. This multimedia presentation explores various aspects involved in the Temple’s inception and construction, retracing retrace the Temple’s journey from conceptualisation as an image in the mind of the guru to its material completion and illuminating the diverse social, theological, and architectural contexts in which it was built.

Tilak Parekh is doing his PhD at the University of Cambridge. His research interests span sacred space, religious leadership, youth religiosity, and digital religion. He has a degree in Theology and Religion from Oxford, followed by an MPhil at Cambridge and an MSc in Social and Cultural Anthropology at UCL.

Zoom season price:  C20 Society Members- £30;  Non-Members- £40; Young C20 member + guest – Free; Student + guest- £20.

*For student pricing please select from the dropdown option next to 'membership number' on the booking form below.*

*For Young C20 members, please email to secure a place.*

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Note: This event is hybrid and is being run both in-person at Cowcross Street Gallery and online via Zoom. The event will be recorded and offered as a catch-up lecture for those who have booked, and will be available for two weeks.

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The Twentieth Century Society is an IHBC (Institute of Historic Building conservation) recognised CPD provider.

The Twentieth Century Society is a registered charity, no 1110244

Above image: BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir - CB Sompura (1992-95). Image: Andrea Pucci


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