The ideal city or home has long been a preoccupation of thinkers, rulers, and architects. These lectures, mostly focused on western examples, range widely over time, and are loosely themed to discuss particular visions of models for dwelling, working and display. We will discuss both those which were built (or at least attempted) and schemes which never got further than the drawing board. In many of these instances Rome features heavily as it has in the architectural imagination of Europe since antiquity.
“Most informative. Richard pulled lots of information together making sense of fascinating developments and changes through the years”
08 Nov 2023 – The Long History
While the great cities of Antiquity no longer function, the planned environments of the Italian Middle Ages and Renaissance are still with us. Towns we regard as ‘organic’ were once part of a designed scheme, and the discussion will take in Siena and Florence, a number of ideal schemes which were never executed, and comparative examples from elsewhere in Europe.
15 Nov 2023 – The Working City
Markets, fortification, the production of chocolate have all inspired the conception and production of new settlements, and grandiose schemes have also been produced to accommodate or promote what was already there.
22 Nov 2023 – Cities as Gardens, Gardens as Cities
The balanced life, lived in communion with nature, has been an ideal which inspired the ancient Romans and le Corbusier. This lecture will run from the villa (particularly Hadrian’s) to the ville radieuse and beyond.
29 Nov 2023 – Cities of Power
Rome again provides the model for many schemes to represent power – spiritual as well as secular. Berlin, Paris, and Vienna were all reimagined and while London rather lagged in comparison, its grandeur, however, has been frequently re-thought in the imagination of its architects and planners.
06 Dec 2023 – Cities of Tomorrow
Technology has promised much, and has delivered much, though promise and delivery have often been far apart. Futuristic visions have a surprisingly long history and we will cover not only the futures where each of us has a personal helicopter, but new ways of conceiving the home and how that might build a new society.