THE DEVELOPMENT OF ARCHITECTURE BETWEEN THE EIGHTEENTH AND TWENTIETH CENTURIES
Since the eighteenth century, in connection with the development of the steel industry, a notable current of engineering architecture was born (bridges, pavilions) which used the new materials – iron and steel – for the new functions, with precociously rational aesthetic results (bridge over the Severn in Coalbrookdale, 1775; Bristol, 1829-31, Clifton Suspension Bridge; J. Paxton’s Crystal Palace at the 1851 Universal Exhibition in Hyde Park). In the second half of the century the activity of Arts and Crafts architects was joined by official historicism and eclecticism: Ph. Webb (Red House, built for W. Morris in 1859) and Norman Shaw they built private town and country houses, interpreting the English style of seventeenth-century dwellings with extreme freedom. The activity of Ch. F. Annesley Voysey is linked to this current. XIX designed a series of country houses which, for simplicity of lines, were the closest to rational architecture that existed in Europe at that time. At the same time, the typically English idea of the garden city emerged which, supported by social ideologies, tended to determine a balance between the natural environment, architecture and the needs of the community (Letchworth Garden City, 1904). Great importance, in the same period, was the work of Ch. R. Mackintosh (Art School of Glasgow, 1896-1907), liberty. But according to Computerannals, the works of Voysey and Mackintosh had greater resonance on the continent (where they influenced Horta, Van de Velde and the architects of the Vienna Secession) than at home. In fact, after the fundamental contributions of the century. XIX, English architecture marked a setback until the second postwar period; only after 1945, in relation to the needs of reconstruction and the need to decongest the capital, did Great Britain once again become, with the Scandinavian countries, one of the poles of European architecture. The client was hired by public bodies: a state body, the London County Council, promoted the creation of residential neighborhoods of low-cost dwellings to replace the slums Londoners (Roehampton, JL Martin, RH Matthew and H. Bennett) and new towns or satellite cities, such as Harlow, Crawley, Stevenage, Hemel Hempstead. The same social concern explains the high quality of English school architecture (buildings promoted by Hertfordshire County Council). We recall in this regard the school of Hunstanton (Norfolk) of P. and A. Smithson, the University of Sussex at Brighton of sir Basil Spencer, the York University of sir Robert Matthew and S. Johnson-Marshall and the East Anglia University of Norwich by Sir D. Lasdun. At the same time, the first public megastructures are built (Cumberauld New Town in Glasgow and Brunswick Center in Bloomsbury in London). At the beginning of the 1960s, the Archigram group emerged, exercising an interesting function of breaking on a cultural level. In the following decade it was possible to witness a new resumption of public initiatives in academic buildings; the most interesting creations are the work of J. Stirling and J. Gowan. Since the seventies, architects N. Foster and R. Rogers have established themselves as the forefathers of High Tech, a style characterized by the attribution of aesthetic values to structural elements and functional systems, with the use of very advanced construction technologies. Of Foster’s worthy of note is the Sainsbury Center for Visual Arts in Norwich, Norfolk (1978); the Renault distribution center in Swindon, Westshire (1983); the terminal of the new London station; Stansted Airport (1981-91), but above all the headquarters of the Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank in Hong Kong (1981-86), considered a masterpiece of high-tech architecture. Rogers’ most prestigious works include the headquarters of Lloyd’s in London (1979-86), the buildings of the Reuters agency and Channel 4 (1994) also in London and
CONTEMPORARY TRENDS IN FIGURATIVE ARTS AND SCULPTURE
In the field of the figurative arts, if in the years around 1930 the Unit One and Circle groups tried to define programmatic addresses, in the course of the following decades the renewal work nevertheless took place on the level of individual research. Among the main contemporary English artists we mention: the sculptor H. Moore (1898-1986) and the painters F. Bacon (1909-92) and G. Sutherland (1903-80); the abstractionists B. Nicholson (1894-1982) and A. Davie (b. 1920), who are credited with being the first in Europe to understand the greatness of JP Pollock. In 1960 Situation, a group of abstract painters (R. Smith, R. Denny, H. and B. Cohen, J. Hoyland, I. Stephenson and A. Green), responded even more precisely to suggestions from New York. R. Hamilton (1922-2011), P. Blake (b. 1932), D. Hockney (b. 1937) and A. Jones (b. 1937) were the English forerunners of pop art. In the late sixties and early seventies the emergence of the Art & Language movement , oriented towards conceptual art, offered a new development of the art of Great Britain. The continuity with the figurative tradition, which still remains one of the focal characteristics of British art, was maintained, as well as by F. Bacon, by painters such as L. Freud (1922-2011), F. Auerbach and L. Kossof, the original nucleus of what RB Kitaj (1932-2007), in 1976, defined the London School. In sculpture, after the fundamental contribution of H. Moore, whose teaching survives in the work of B. Hepworth (1903-75) and R. Butler (1913-81), on the premises of the sculpture of the sixties, by A. Dear (1924-2013) to the minimalism of R. Long (b.1945), a new school of sculpture was created in Great Britain that brings together different artists, some internationally known, such as A. Kapoor (b.1954), S. Cox (b. 1946), AD Cragg (b.1949), A. Gormley (b.1950), E. Allington and B. Woodrow. The group, more than a well-defined movement, represents the appearance of a new climate that sees the emergence of a group of artists united by an interest in the work understood as an installation, capable of defining the space in which it is placed and of establish a dialogue with it, re-establishing a relationship between English sculpture and urban culture.