Perspectives on Architecture: Architectural Space in the Work of Ernö Goldfinger
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Ernö Goldfinger wrote little abstract architectural theory, but what he did write was devoted to Space in architecture, notably the three articles published in the Architectural Review in 1941-2 - 'The Sensation of Space', 'Urbanism and Spatial Order', and 'The Elements of Enclosed Space' - and also the text associated with his pavilion at the This is Tomorrow exhibition at the Whitechapel Gallery in 1956 - a pavilion which was effectively a theoretical demonstration of those ideas. The text was re-published amongst a set of essays presented to Arthur Korn in 1968. 'This is Tomorrow' was staged by a group that was a kind of breakaway from the French Groupe Espace, that had been founded some years earlier to establish the links between the Fine Arts and Architecture by André Bloc, architect, engineer, proprietor and editor of the magazine L'Architecture d'Aujourd'hui, and friend of Goldfinger's. Goldfinger was for forty years 1935-1975 London correspondent of the magazine. In this talk, James Dunnett will seek to interpret Goldfinger's architecture in terms of its expressive manipulation of space, from the late 1920s through to his last work in the 1970s, space being an intimate reflection of structure.
James Dunnett studied architecture at Cambridge and sculpture at St Martin's School of Art. He then worked for two years for Ernö Goldfinger and for eight years for the London Borough of Camden Architect's Department, before setting up his own practice and starting to teach architecture part time first at Canterbury then at Oxford Brookes University. He has subsequently lectured at many Universities around the world. He was founding Secretary in 1990 of DOCOMOMO-UK, the UK branch of the international association for the conservation of the Modern architectural heritage, and latterly Co-Chair 2002-2012. His translation of Le Corbusier's book The Decorative Art of Today (1925)was published in 1987, and he has written numerous articles about the history and theory of architecture and art in the twentieth century and especially the work of Ernö Goldfinger. He has designed and curated exhibitions at the Architectural Association, the Royal Academy and the RIBA Drawings Collection.
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Trellick Tower, London. Image Courtesy of James Dunnett