The pleasures of life are often shaped by their surroundings, and this short course will introduce selected buildings that frame those pleasure belonging to a number of well-recognised types. The lectures are not intended as comprehensive histories, but short biographies of interesting or well-loved buildings, drawing connections and pointing out idiosyncrasies.
“Most informative. Richard pulled lots of information together making sense of fascinating developments and changes through the years”
The longest-lived of these building types, the palace can be a retreat, theatre of self-promotion and location of feasts and revels, and is often all three. How such functions were accommodated varied through time, but certain themes recur.
The complexities of showing plays, variety or cinema are only one aspect of the design of theatres: they must also act as permanent billboards for the events within and (often) as a setting for the social interactions of the audience.
There are few types of building where engineering and high art meet so frequently. The need to contain (and let in and out) vast crowds, to cover them (or not).
Beginning as an adjunct to palaces, the buildings used to display painting, statues and other works of art have to meet a number of different expectations: to impress without being obtrusive and to light, frame, and organise the works they contain.
Mass transport was one of the great developments of the modern period. The technical questions of how to accommodate the needs of passengers, and the buses, trains and aeroplanes they are headed for, have often been augmented by the urge to supply grandeur, even to thrill.