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Robert Venturi (1925 - 2018)

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The AA extends its deepest condolences to Alumna Denise Scott Brown (AA Dipl 1956) on the passing of her partner and husband Robert Venturi.


Denise Scott Brown and Robert Venturi have together been credited with pioneering the Postmodernist movement in architecture. Venturi wrote many ground-breaking texts including Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture (1966) and, with Scott brown,  Learning from Las Vegas.

From the archive: Stierli, Martino. "In the Academy's Garden: Robert Venturi, the Grand Tour and the Revision of Modern Architecture." AA Files, no. 56 (2007): 42-55. http://www.jstor.org/stable/29544672.

Photo credit: 2008, Architectural Association Photo Library


 

Peter Maurice Rich (1930 – 2018)

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It is with great sadness we learn about the death of Peter Maurice Rich, 1930 – 2018, who passed away after a period of illness on 7 July.

Pete led a wonderful and vibrant life, full of travel, adventure and excitement, whilst also being a top-notch architect. He retained his acute mental sharpness and sense of fun right up until the time of his death.

Pete began his career young, as an office boy at a large Building and Civil Engineering Contractors Company in Central London. At the age of fifteen, he began attending evening classes at the Regent Street Polytechnic and gained a Higher National Certificate in Building.

Between the ages of eighteen and twenty Pete spent nearly two years in the army as a national conscript. On leaving the army Pete worked as a junior assistant for an architect for one year before emigrating first to Canada and then to the US. In 1954, he was offered a position at Skidmore Owings and Merrill in New York. In 1955 Pete returned to England.

 

After a period of work at George Wimpey, Pete decided that being a senior technician was not enough for him. His work in America had convinced him that he could be an architect. His quest to qualify began. He fought hard and was rewarded by a place in the Architectural Association School of Architecture in 1958.

The five years of full time education, between the ages of twenty-eight and thirty-two, was regarded by Pete as the turning point in his life. He enjoyed the company of his fellow students and teachers, and absorbed everything that the school offered him. Lifelong friendships were made and Pete graduated with honours, a very proud moment for him.

Pete held every post in the Students Union at the AA, and following graduation he was voted onto the Architectural Association’s Board of Governors as the students’ representative. He served in this role for many years, and on retirement Pete was awarded a life membership of the Association for services rendered.

Pete’s life as a qualified architect began in 1962 when he was offered work by the then head of the Architectural Association, Bill Allen, and subsequently he joined the architectural practice of Associated Architects and Consultants. There, Pete worked on large-scale social housing schemes.

Pete resigned from the partnership in 1972, and lectured at both the Bartlett School of Architecture and at the (then) Polytechnic of North London. Eventually Pete switched to being a full time lecturer at the Polytechnic of North London and he developed a BSc Architecture course for mature part time students. By 1978 Pete was the course lecturer for both the full and part-time BSc courses.

Pete enjoyed a gradual retirement over twelve years from full-time to three days to two days to one to half a day per week.


 

Michael Dickson (1944–2018)

It is with great sadness that we learn of the passing of Michael Dickson CBE, a founding partner of BuroHappold Engineering and influential figure in the development of the AA’s woodland campus at Hooke Park.

Following studies in Engineering at Cambridge and Cornell Universities, Michael joined Ove Arup in 1968, before leaving in 1976 as part of pioneering group of young engineers to form a new practice with Ted Happold: BuroHappold.

Following Ted Happold’s untimely death in 1996, Michael became chairman, leading the organisation for almost a decade as it grew into a global business.

BuroHappold described Michael as ‘unwavering in his commitment to building responsibly and touching the earth lightly. His construction philosophy – inspired by Frei Otto, a long-standing colleague – was that the most efficient use of the right materials is at the core of sustainability.’

Some of Michael’s remarkable engineering projects include the Savill Building Visitor Centre, Windsor (with Glenn Howells), The Queen’s Building at Emmanuel College, Cambridge (with Hopkins Architects), and Hooke Park’s timber-arched workshop, constructed using green timber thinnings cut straight from the woods.

Hooke Park Director Martin Self said: ‘Michael was a passionate supporter of the AA’s work at Hooke Park. As a member of the Hooke Park Advisory Group, he was instrumental in the formulation of the 2008 Strategic Plan and subsequently in guiding the development of the campus, providing exceptional generosity and depth of knowledge in his support to students and staff.

‘Through his pioneering engineering work with BuroHappold at Hooke Park in the 1980s, working with Frei Otto and Ahrends Burton & Koralek, Michael had established the technical possibilities of using low-value local timber in advanced construction, and advocated the continuation of this approach as the AA’s Design + Make programme re-started building work at the campus.

‘In retirement, his passion for wood continued through writing, including the publication of Sustainable Timber Design in 2015, and evidenced by his frequent visits to Bedford Square and Hooke Park – traveling from the Hebridean Islands where he and wife Effie, a landscape artist, would spend much of the year.

‘His warm-hearted, generous and incisive support to the Hooke Park project will be greatly missed by the AA.’

Read more about Michael’s life and legacy at www.burohappold.com/news/memoriam-michael-dickson/.


 

Hugo Hinsley (1950–2018)

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It is with great regret and deep sadness that we announce the death of our dear colleague and treasured friend Hugo Hinsley. With an AA career lasting 45 years, Hugo truly was at the heart and soul of all that we hold dear as a School Community. 

Hugo's funeral will take place at the Golders Green Crematorium, 62 Hoop Land, London NW11 7NL on Friday 1st June at 2pm.   This will be followed by a celebration of his life at the Architectural Association, 36 Bedford Square, London WC1B 3ES from 5pm. You are very welcome to join.

No flowers, please; instead a donation to Marie Curie would be greatly appreciated. Their care for Hugo in the last days of his life was wonderful and we are very grateful.  https://www.justgiving.com/HugoHinsley

The following obituary was prepared by the Housing and Urbanism Programme in collaboration with family, colleagues and friends.

Hugo Hinsley helped to shape architectural education at the AA and abroad for over 40 years. Always keen to broaden the scope of architectural discussion and learning, and to ask how architects might work in fresh ways to better envision and serve their purposes, he was nevertheless equally keen to ground the field in the palpable needs of urban communities. He was an indefatigable urban explorer, always curious how the city had been made, and his walks with students were famous for answering this question with equal balance given to politics, construction, and the cultural habits of residents, each of which may have lent something to the genesis of the place. But this was never to be confused with the narrow focus of the local historian. Instead, Hugo was a passionate internationalist, and his understanding of what was “taking place” in cities was informed by a rich conversation with architects and activists from around the world and a thirst for information regarding global political and urban transformations. He always saw the big picture in the detail.

Hugo was born in Cambridge in 1950, and his account of his upbringing in his academic parents’ home was one in which there was a regular rotation of visiting scholars and academics, infusing the domestic scene with discussions of science, culture, and the politics of international affairs. Not surprisingly, when Hugo studied architecture at Cambridge between 1968 and 1972, he found the curriculum somewhat too narrow and lacking attention to the key challenges of the period. He persuaded his director of studies to allow him to write his own brief for his final year, focusing on the failures of housing policy, the rise of squatting, and emerging housing initiatives.

After completing his degree, Hugo moved to London where he became involved with teaching at the AA. He was recruited in 1974 by John Turner, along with Tom Woolley and Hans Harms, to run a new programme on housing and community architecture. While housing was at the heart of urban social concerns at the time, Turner had been instrumental in reframing the topic in a way that highlighted the social process underpinning it. This theme was extended by Hugo and his colleagues in the new AA programme, emphasising the broadest range of community facilities that support residential life, and they initiated a Community Seminar that attracted broad participation from architects, planners, and community activists around London. Hugo was always proud of the tradition of the AA that enabled architectural education to be engaged beyond simply serving professional practice, and he was an enthusiastic defender of this tradition. When he later ran the 5th Year programme in Professional Practice at the AA, he brought in an inspiring range of practitioners who had turned their architectural education into novel forms of engagement in the wider urban world. Innovatively, Hugo partnered students with these leaders to better understand their work through direct experience, rather than simply replicating the usual lecture format. Hugo always sought to enable students to learn through direct experience of engagement with a problem that demanded an openness and integrity of thought.

The Community Seminar that Hugo began with Tom Woolley in 1974 led to the formation in 1976 of a loose collective of professional practitioners called Support, which focused largely on community architecture. The Winchester Project in Swiss Cottage and Kingsley Hall in Bow are just two of the many projects on which they worked, and which today still stand as exemplary community service institutions. Hugo also worked on the Coin Street project in London’s South Bank area, supporting its alternative approach toward inclusive, socially progressive redevelopment of central city sites. The combination of direct involvement in community architecture and the establishment of an academic platform for reflection on urban issues turned the Housing programme in the AA Graduate School into a scene of international debate, drawing in not only graduate but diploma students, as well, along with visiting scholars and activists from abroad.

Through these seminars, Hugo met Col James, who in 1982, invited Hugo to spend part of the year on the faculty of the University of Sydney. Here, Hugo met a number of like-minded scholars, architects, and housing activists who shared his interest in social justice through housing, and he became closely involved in the housing rights of aboriginal communities in Australia’s central cities. The contacts Hugo made there fuelled his international perspective on this global issue, and this was a perspective that continued to inspire what had now become the Housing and Urbanism Programme in the AA Graduate School, which Hugo co-directed with Jorge Fiori. A central plank of the Programme over the years has been the direct engagement with city governments, their local communities and local universities, through a short, intensive workshop as part of each year’s educational calendar. In the mid-1990s, Hugo was also asked to revive and run what was called the Visiting Teachers Programme at the AA – a one-month seminar bringing teachers from around the world to learn about the school’s ethos and practice, to share experiences, and discuss educational schemes. Hugo was keen to reject narrow manifestos of architectural theory or practice. Instead, he was always interested to diversify understandings, to innovate, and to support the widest gene pool of architectural work.

Hugo was a man of great generosity toward his friends and colleagues. He always preferred to support and encourage rather than take the limelight. He was more interested in being part of successful collective endeavour than in personal recognition, and absolutely detested the syndrome that had given rise to the culture of star architecture. And yet, Hugo was also a man of great concentration, talent, and personal commitment to his work and his hobbies. He had a deep knowledge of construction techniques, both historical and contemporary, urban policies, housing schemes, and much more that defined our field of architectural urbanism. He possessed a similarly cultivated knowledge of ceramics and had pursued pottery as a hobby. In his younger years he owned and maintained a collection of classic motorcycles. One sees a pattern here: he was always most interested in those things in which one may be fully engaged, mind and body, and so always seemed to have the richest possible insights to share with his students and friends. We will always miss this man who enlivened our seminars and classrooms, our city walks, our H&U barbeques, our discussions at the AA bar, and much, much more.


 

Will Alsop OBE RA AADipl (1947–2018)

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It is with the greatest sadness that we learn of the death Will Alsop, one of the AA’s most notable alumni and former tutors, and winner of the 2000 Stirling prize, who has passed away aged 70.

Will Alsop graduated from the AA in 1973 before going on to teach from 1975 to 1989 with David Greene, John Lyall and artist Bruce McLean, among others.

He worked briefly for Maxwell Fry and Jane Drew, before joining Cedric Price for four years and then later setting up practice with his contemporary John Lyall in 1981, who remembers Will as ‘exceptionally talented and always having a unique view of architecture’.

Will met his wife Sheila at the AA when she was AA General Studies Coordinator and they married in 1972. Among his former students at the AA are Amanda Levete, Steve Christer of Studio Granda, and current AA Interim Director Samantha Hardingham.

Appointed OBE in 1999, the following year would prove to be momentous for Will as he established Alsop Architects, was elected to the Royal Academy, and won the Stirling prize for Peckham Library, a building that redefined what libraries could be in the 21st-century.

Image: Will Alsop at the AA in the 1970s, © AA Photo Library


 

Tom Ryland (1947–2018)

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It is with great sadness that we learn of the death of alumnus Tom Ryland AADipl RIBA, who died peacefully on 9 March 2018.

He is remembered here by fellow former AA student Jonathan Ball who reflects on their time spent studying in London in the 1960s: Tom Ryland – Those were the days my friend

A service of thanksgiving will be held on 21 April at 12.00 at St Peter’s Church, W6 9BE. Donations in Tom’s memory may be made to The Blood Fund, which supports the Haematology Department at Hammersmith Hospital: www.imperialcharity.org.uk/the-blood-fund.


 

Michael Thomas Cartledge AADipl (1925–2016)

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Michael Thomas Cartledge, who studied at the AA from 1947–1952, died peacefully on 23 December 2016.

Michael worked in both public and private practices and specifically in designing schools whilst working in the Architectural Department for Bromley Council, London.

After early retirement in 1981 he pursued his great interest in ceramics, both in sculpture and pottery.  He completed a ceramics course (1985–1986) at Goldsmiths College of Art, London, and was an active member of the Kent Potters Association, where he regularly exhibited his work.


 

Ivor Smith (1926–2018)

The AA is saddened to hear of the passing of alumnus and architect Ivor Smith (AADipl 1951) who has died at the age of 92.

Ivor Smith was born in 1926 in Essex and later evacuated to Derbyshire towards the start of the Second World War as a teenager. He went on to work on a farm in the early forties, before heading to London to study at the Bartlett, and later at the Architectural Association where he completed the AA Diploma in 1951.

After graduating from the AA, Smith joined the city architects’ office in Sheffield in 1953 where he and the late Jack Lynn designed and oversaw the building of Park Hill, the iconic housing scheme for which he is most well-known.

Leaving Sheffield, he went on to found Ivor Smith Architects in Oxfordshire in the 1960s and launched a teaching career.

Ivor Smith is survived by his wife Audrey, four children, eight grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren.

Read more at https://www.architectsjournal.co.uk/ivorsmith

From the AA Archive: watch a panel discussion between Martin Richardson, David Levitt, Piers Gough, and David Turnbull, moderated by Mohsen Mostafavi entitled Park Hill and the Future of Public Housing


 

David Bernstein (1937–2018)

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It is with great sorrow that we learn of the passing of former AA tutor David Bernstein who has died aged 80 following a short battle with cancer.

David Bernstein was born in New York in 1937. He first read architecture at the University of Cincinnati, before studying under Louis Kahn at the University of Pennsylvania.

In 1964 he moved to London with his wife Beverly, initially intending only to stay for a year. In reality, they never returned to the US, together making a significant contribution to architectural education and social housing in the UK. They first worked at the AA, Beverly as a senior registrar and David teaching.

Alongside his teaching role, David worked under William Whitfield and then Patrick Hodgkinson, where he met David Levitt whilst designing the iconic Brunswick Centre. In 1968 the two Davids established architectural practice, Levitt Bernstein, and Housing Association, Circle 33. The pair led both organisations until 1974, when they left Circle 33 and dedicated all of their time to Levitt Bernstein. Here, David Bernstein led a huge range of projects, from the refurbishment of the ICA to a great many social housing projects across the capital for the likes of Peabody Trust, Metropolitan Housing Trust and Tower Hamlets Housing Action Trust. He was also keenly involved in all aspects of running the practice, later taking the role of Managing Director. He was always modest and created a culture within the Practice that put people first – both staff and the users of the spaces designed.

Some of Bernstein’s most significant projects include the Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester (1976) – a futuristic seven-sided theatre in the round; Hart Hill Lane (1977) – a development of flats for the elderly and ten family homes in Luton; and the Gateway Centre in Southwark (1993) – a scheme of 58 flats for young people, 32 ‘move-on’ flats and a job/training centre.

The Levitt Bernstein’s website remembers him as: ‘Kind, light-hearted and full of integrity, David remained a father figure for many of us long after his retirement and we will miss him dearly. The culture and ethos we all cherish here today is thanks so much to his wonderful, open and compassionate sensibility.’

Since 2012 David worked closely with the AA to establish and to award annually a prize in memory of his wife Beverly, with generous support of many friends and family. The Beverly Bernstein Prize is run by the AA’s postgraduate programme in Housing and Urbanism, in recognition of Beverly’s involvement with the school and of her life-long interest and specialisation in housing and development planning.

A week before his death he published a book of his short stories titled Growing Pains and Senior Moments.

Image courtesy Levitt Bernstein


 

David Shalev OBE (1934–2018)

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It is with great sadness that the AA has learnt of the passing of architect and former AA tutor David Shalev OBE, who has died at the age of 83. He is remembered here by Su Rogers.

David Shalev was totally dedicated to architecture. He taught it, and with his partner Eldred Evans he practised it and lived it. We taught Intermediate 2 at the AA together from 1974–76, but we were first introduced through my friendship with Eldred, who I met a decade earlier while a graduate student at Yale in the 1960s. Eldred, Richard [Rogers], Norman Foster and myself were the only English students there, having received scholarships. Our friend Jim Stirling was also teaching at Yale, and we would all spend weekends together in New York. Eldred was fantastic at Yale. She was the outrageous English girl.

Back in London I had a different kind of friendship with David. He was a rigorous man. You first have to know that the AA’s chairman Alvin Boyarsky was very good at unit ‘marriages’. I started teaching at the AA in 1971 when I needed some extra money. Alvin set me up with Elia Zenghelis and then with Rick Mather. When Rick became too busy to teach, Alvin asked if I would teach with David. Working together wasn’t our choice, but it ended up being an incredibly successful partnership.

Our unit was different to a lot of what was then happening at the AA. On the one hand you had Mark Fisher, whose projects dealt with entertainment and inflatables, David Greene, who was a member of Archigram, and other units dealing with lightweight structures. On the other hand, you had few units that were actually teaching how to design a building. David and I were interested in doing just that. So if there were students – like David Chipperfield, Alex Lifschutz, the late Michael Baumgarten and Kathryn Findlay – who wanted to understand how to design a building, it was easy to attract the good ones. We had 50 students applying for about 20 places, so we could pick who we wanted.

To make a good unit you had to have good briefs, you had to have a good programme, and you had to know what you wanted out of that programme – because students are pretty naïve at that stage in their lives, and they need to be helped along the way. You also had to accept that the only way to get good work out of students was to be disciplined enough as a tutor. And so David and I spent a lot of our summer holidays researching what we wanted to teach. In our first year of teaching together we chose to concentrate on educational buildings, where the briefs became more complicated as the year progressed, which allowed students to learn from and develop a set of rules. The idea of the school – especially the school without walls – was fashionable, and so we began with a brief for a nursery, which progressed into a brief for a primary school and culminated in an ever-more complex secondary school.

It was challenging, but it created a continuous learning curve. This applied to not only the students, but also to us as tutors, and especially to me. I learned a lot from David. He was fantastic with the students. As David Chipperfield has said he always had a pencil in his hand, and he had such a straight way of teaching. When he spoke in tutorials or crits it was clear that he was simply interested in the students’ ability to learn through the plan and the section. He wanted to know if they understood whether the elements that make up a building were working – whether the structure was working, the plan was working, the section, the elevation. This clarity was expressed through his and Eldred’s own architectural projects.

I wasn’t aware of it then, but what we ended up doing was practising a kind of discipline. Mark Fisher would affably joke about the focus of our unit. He would say to his students, ‘Let’s go see what Mrs Clean is up to.’ It’s true that we weren’t partaking in certain aspects of ‘flower power’. (We were, however, great at unit trips – we went to Paris, Barcelona, took tours of English architecture, hosted summer picnics and visited schools all around the UK, from the eco-friendly Constantine Primary School in Cornwall to Prior Western, a state primary school at the Barbican known for its open-wall design.) But there were other kinds of implicit ‘straightness’ to the unit, in that we taught both the value of looking at buildings and the value of architectural history. We also recognised that we had some bright students, and we minded what they were going to do professionally.

David was full of integrity. He would never do something for his own benefit, or something he didn’t believe in. Of course Eldred is all of those things too, and so they made an incredibly good pair. David was a warm and generous person, a brilliant tutor and his criticism was always constructive. He wanted students to understand the process of design, and it was because of his leadership that we had such talented people joining the unit. His legacy will remain through the work of those students.

– Su Rogers

Image: AA Photo Library


 

Philip Eyton-Jones (19402017)

The AA is saddened to hear of the passing of alumnus and Life Member Philip Eyton-Jones, who has died at the age of 77.

Read more about Philip's life and work in the obituary published by the North Wales Daily Post.


 

Neave Brown (19292018)

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The AA remembers alumnus and RIBA Royal Gold Medal winner Neave Brown, architect of three of the most pioneering housing schemes of postwar British architecture.

The following was written in 2013 by architectural historian Mark Swenarton as an introduction to his conversation with Brown. It has been republished here in its original form as a tribute.

To the greater majority of architects and scholars Neave Brown is known as the man responsible for Alexandra Road (1968–69), a masterwork of postwar British architecture and one of only a small number of English housing projects to command worldwide attention. Yet Brown’s story is a good deal more complex than this might suggest. To start with, he is only half-British – his mother was American, he was born in the United States and schooled equally in the US and the UK. In formation as much as outlook, therefore, Brown is transatlantic – although by no means in the Churchillian sense that this might imply.

Secondly, while famed as a practitioner, Brown has had a parallel career as an academic. The most complex part of Alexandra Road was designed while he was at Princeton. Through his teaching he also made links – personal and intellectual – in unexpected quarters: at one end of his career Colin Rowe asked him to come to Cornell, at the other Jo Coenen invited him to take over his own professorship at Karlsruhe. Here, then, was a rich mixture of ideas and inspirations.

Thirdly, Brown has an unusually broad view of the role of the architect. As a schoolboy he was passionate about modern art and his initial desire was to go to art school; but he then decided to read English at Oxford. Only while doing his National Service did he settle on architecture at the AA. As Brown matured, these broader interests remained: designer of buildings, of course, but also artist and public intellectual, a person informed about the issues of the day.

Finally there is the complexity of Brown’s attitude to Le Corbusier and the legacy of modernism. Like many of his contemporaries Brown believed in modernism but also in Englishness. Specifically he loved Corb but hated his ideas about cities. From that dynamic sprang the inventiveness of his own proposals for housing and cities: proposals that were mainly made in Britain, but were also the product of much more besides.

Read Neave Brown’s complete conversation about his life and workpublished in AA Files 67 and watch his 2013 conversation with Mark Swenarton at the AA.

Image: Neave Brown, photographed in the garden of Winscombe Street, c 1995 


 

Gavin Stamp (1948–2017)

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The AA remembers the passionate and prolific architectural writer and historian Gavin Stamp, pictured (right) with Leon Krier in 1992. 

Read his essay ‘Anti-Ugly Action’, published in AA Files 70.

Gavin’s Funeral will be held at St Giles Church, Camberwell at 11.00am on Thursday 25 January, followed by a Service of Interment at Camberwell Old Cemetery, Forest Hill Road, SE22.

Photo Valerie Bennett © AA Photo Library


 

David Marks MBE (1952–2017)

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It is with the greatest sadness that we learn of the death of David Marks (AADipl 1978), an architect, innovator and entrepreneur whose life’s work was inspired by the belief that good design has the power to improve the quality of people’s lives.

Whilst studying at the AA he met Julia Barfield, his wife and practice partner. Together they designed iconic landmarks and transformed skylines, first in London with the London Eye and Treetop Walkway at Kew, and last year with the completion of Brighton’s British Airways i360, the world’s tallest moving observation tower.

We extend our deepest condolences to Julia and their three children.

A full obituary can be read online at www.marksbarfield.com.

Image: Gary Eastwood


 

Paul Hereford Oliver MBE (19272017)

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It is with the greatest sadness that the AA has learnt of the death of Paul Oliver MBE, who has passed away at the age of 90.

Paul Oliver was an architectural historian and world renowned expert on blues music who wrote some of the most authoritative histories of the genre. Paul’s time at the AA is recorded here by Patrick Wakely (AADipl 1963), who worked alongside him:

Paul Oliver was appointed to the staff of the AA in 1960, initially to teach drawing, principally to first year students, in succession to Bernard Myers. However, his role rapidly expanded to the teaching of the history and theory of the modern movement in architecture, eventually assuming responsibility for all ‘History of Architecture’ teaching at the AA.

He consistently set the different periods and ‘styles’ of architecture in the social and cultural context in which they were initiated and developed – an approach that differed from the more traditional  classification of historical periods based on structural and building technology, and the aesthetic expressions that developed from them.

Paul organised and ran irregular events on specific themes of the history and theory of architecture that ranged from half-day seminars to two- or three-day workshops for which he engaged many different characters and personalities, among them Kenneth Frampton, Joseph Rykwert, Peter Rayner Banham, Arthur Korn, Robert Maxwell and Dennis Sharp. These events attracted much interest outside the school and were frequently attended on an ad hoc basis by practicing architects, academics and writers from different parts of the world.

To formalise this, in 1971, Paul launched the AA Graduate School, in part modelled on the AA Department of Tropical Studies that ran six-month Certificate courses for professionals and selected final-year students. He continued to develop his study of traditional indigenous building – vernacular architecture – that supplemented and complemented his teaching on history and theory.

At the same time, Paul continued to develop his appreciation and understanding of the blues and Afro-American musicians, which had preoccupied him since before he joined the AA staff. He would host jazz and blues evenings at the school, selecting favourites from a vast collection of 12" 74 rpm records. These gatherings were invariably prefaced with a consistently erudite and interesting lecture on the music and the musicians, illustrated by two-screen simultaneous slides of the characters and events. The rest of such an evening was devoted to the music itself.

In 1964, John Lloyd, with whom Paul had worked in the First Year at the AA and who had subsequently been seconded as Dean of the Faculty of Architecture in Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), in Kumasi, Ghana, under an agreement of collaboration and mutual support with the AA, invited him as a visiting lecturer for nine months to teach in the Faculty. Paul, working with his Ghanaian students, used this experience to develop his knowledge and understanding of traditional vernacular architecture in different regions of Ghana, ultimately leading to his edited books ‘Shelter and Society’ (1969) and ‘Shelter in Africa’ (1971).

In 1973 he left the AA and was appointed Head of the Department of Art and Design at Dartington College of Arts near Totnes, Devon, from where he moved to the Department of Architecture at Oxford Polytechnic (later Oxford Brookes University).

Meanwhile, the AA Graduate School continued to flourish and grow, so that by 2017, the year of Paul Oliver’s death, it conducted a programme of 11 distinct Masters Degree courses and a comprehensive PhD Programme.

Paul Hereford Oliver, historian of architecture and the blues, born 25 May 1927; died 15 August 2017.

Read more about Paul’s life and work at https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2017/aug/31/paul-oliver-obituary.


The presentation of images shown at Paul Oliver's memorial on Saturday 26 May 2018 can be viewed here

Image: Philip Opher


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