CANCELLED – ASSC: Designed in Parallel or in Translation? 2 March

Please note that Friday’s talk has been cancelled due to adverse weather.

Finola O’Kane Crimmins (UCD Dublin)

Designed in Parallel or in Translation? 

Plantation Landscapes from Ireland, Jamaica and Georgia 1730-1830

2 March, 6pm, Keynes Library, School of Arts, Birkbeck, 43 Gordon Square



. . Category: Archived Events . Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Architecture, Space and Society Centre: Reading Group 19th May 2016

Birkbeck’s Architecture Space and Society Centre is inaugurating a reading group. It will be a forum for wide ranging discussion of architecture, space and society, across periods, geographies and disciplines.

Each session will be led by an ASSC member (or 2-3 members), who will assign preparatory tasks.  These will normally be texts to read, but preparation could also include a building, site, or set of images to look at, for instance.

All academics and research students at Birkbeck with an interest in the themes discussed are welcome to participate. ASSC speakers from beyond Birkbeck will also be invited and encouraged to invite their research students.

1st session, Thursday 19 May 3.30-5pm, 43 Gordon Sq, Room 112

Architecture Across Time – led by Nic Sampson and Leslie Topp

To inaugurate the reading group, we have chosen two texts which address the question of what happens when we look at issues in architecture across disparate time periods.

Alexander Nagel, Medieval Modern: Art out of Time (2012), chapters 2, 18 and 19.

Reyner Banham, ‘Revenge of the Picturesque: English Architectural Polemics, 1945-1965’ in John Summerson, ed., Concerning Architecture: Essays on Architectural Writers and Writing presented to Nikolaus Pevsner (1968)

Nagel’s book is a provocative argument for a new flexibility in history of art that tries to shake up our strict adherence to periods and style, and see important multiple connections between modern and pre-modern art.  We’ll read a short intro chapter in which he sets out his stall and two chapters (also fairly short) on the medieval cathedral and early 20th-c architectural modernism (German and Russian).

The Banham essay, with its rich account of the polemics around British post-war modernism and various periods and traditions in pre-modern architecture (from Renaissance humanism to 18th-century picturesque), is a lively document of post-war debates about period-hopping with a close link to Birkbeck’s famous past Professor Pevsner.

If you are interested in attending please contact Leslie Topp (, who can send you the readings.

The reading group will be followed by:

Thurs 19 May, 18.00-19.30, Birkbeck main building, entered off Torrington Square, Room 153

Mark Crinson, ‘Brutalism: From New to Neo’

The last few years have seen a wealth of publications and exhibitions about Brutalism, yet without any quite seeming definitive. This talk from Professor Mark Crinson (Manchester) sifts through them, and attempts to separate what they say about our present preoccupations from what they say about the past. What was Brutalism? Why does it still seem to separate us into either ardent advocates or angry critics? This public talk looks ahead to Professor Crinson joining History of Art at Birkbeck.

. . Category: Archived Reading Groups . Tags: , ,

Two events at The Architecture Space and Society Centre, February and March 2016

The Architecture Space and Society Centre (ASSC) at Birkbeck is delighted to announce two upcoming events:

The Thinkers in Architecture inaugural lecture will be given by Norbert Nussbaum (University of Cologne). The title of his lecture is “From the Belly of the Architect”; it will be held on Friday 12th February at 5pm in the Keynes Library (Room 114), School of Arts, Birkbeck, 43 Gordon Square, London, WC1H 0PD

Professor Nussbaum is a distinguished architectural historian and author of seminal studies on German medieval architecture and on Gothic vaults. He is also deeply engaged with contemporary architectural issues, as well as the investigation, reconstruction and conservation of buildings.

ASSC’s Thinkers in Architecture series brings prominent architectural historians, critics and thinkers to Birkbeck to give extended talks about issues emerging from their research.

The following event will inaugurate our New Book series. Owen Hopkins will speak about his book From the Shadows: The Architecture and Afterlife of Nicholas Hawksmoor. Barry Curtis (Royal College of Art) will respond.

This event will take place on Friday 4th March, at 6pm, in the Keynes Library, Birkbeck School of Arts, 43 Gordon Square, London WC1H 0PD

Owen Hopkins is new book, From the Shadows: The Architecture and Afterlife of Nicholas Hawksmoor (Reaktion, 2015) – is a lively and detailed history of Hawksmoor’s work and, pivotally, the ways it has been seen by a variety of observers over the nearly three centuries since his death. Owen Hopkins is a writer, historian and curator of architecture. He is Architecture Programme Curator at the Royal Academy of Arts.

New Books will present authors of recent books on architecture, urbanism and landscape speaking about the crux of their contributions to the area, followed by a short response by an invited scholar and discussion.

We hope you can join us. These events are free, but booking is recommended.

For more information and a link for booking, please go to our NEW website:

. . Category: Archived Events . Tags: , , , , , ,