Picaresque picturesque or decoy decay: Dudley Zoo by Tecton and Berthold Lubetkin

Szynalska, Karolina (2012) Picaresque picturesque or decoy decay: Dudley Zoo by Tecton and Berthold Lubetkin. In: Theoretical Currents II: Architecture and its Geographical Horizons, 4-5 April 2012, University of Lincoln.

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Picaresque picturesque or decoy decay
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On Tuesday 25 November 1947 Nikolaus Pevsner gave a lecture before the Royal Institute of British Architects on the Picturesque in Architecture. He included such a variety of buildings that John Summerson, during the subsequent discussion, proposed the word picturesque could be omitted. He thought the word had a ‘hopelessly imprecise meaning’. Pevsner’s picturesque architecture was simply architecture.
Picturesque is an ambiguous term. It is part of the vocabulary of English Romantic painting. In architecture it refers to abandoned ruins, purpose built ruins, flamboyant garden follies, and the new urban leisure pursuit – urbexing (the art of exploring derelict buildings).
John Piper believed that an appreciation of the picturesque is not only a sophisticated pleasure, but a matter of public importance. It symbolizes man’s relation to nature.
It also inspires us to reflect upon the subjects of order and control. It is a representation of freedom. It provides us with aesthetic delight and intellectual excitement.
It is my contention that the picturesque and Modernism have a lot in common. Both derived from painting; they exploit the representations of purely abstract concepts. Both are poetic theories. They claim to be rational, but – when carefully assessed – they seem absurd.
I will speculate about different ways of seeing and understanding of the picturesque and Modernist buildings in a landscape settings; Lubetkin’s zoos. The multiple narratives will be inspired by picturesque-related concepts from outside of art and architectural domain such as Darwin’s Thinking Path and the Savannah Principle.

Keywords:Lubetkin, Tecton, Architecture, Pavilions, Zoo buildings, picturesque
Subjects:K Architecture, Building and Planning > K200 Building
K Architecture, Building and Planning > K110 Architectural Design Theory
K Architecture, Building and Planning > K310 Landscape Architecture
K Architecture, Building and Planning > K100 Architecture
V Historical and Philosophical studies > V146 Modern History 1920-1949
K Architecture, Building and Planning > K300 Landscape Design
Divisions:College of Arts > School of Architecture & Design > School of Architecture & Design (Architecture)
ID Code:6007
Deposited On:24 Jul 2012 14:17

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