Recorded in Savannah, Georgia, this brief lecture, delivered to trustees of the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art, presents the history of the development of the ICAA over the years and its place in the larger context of architecture, urban design, landscape, decoration, construction, and the arts today.
N.B., as history is only as good as the historian, corrections and additions to this story are welcome by the author.
Next week, I am honored to be presenting a lecture at the Seminario Internacional Arquitectura y Humanismo being held at the Escuela Técnica Superior de Arquitectura de la Universidad Politécnica de Madrid in conjunction with the Premio Rafael Manzano Martos. I will be presenting the rationale and work of our new center, CARTA, and my thoughts on the role of place, particularly in the American West. An excerpt from the catalog accompanying the symposium follows the break below, the full text of which may be downloaded by clicking HERE.
Denver’s Larimer Square.
As America rebounds from the Great Recession of 2008, cities such as Denver, Seattle, and Portland are experiencing rapid growth, in both city-center infill projects and expanding suburban development. This building boom, driven as much by demand for new housing and commercial space as it is by capitalism, is unfortunately characterized by buildings that all too often lack durability, sustainability, and beauty. Many of the buildings being built, especially in historic neighborhoods, have nothing in common with their contexts.
Franck’s lecture looked at various aspects of the building crafts today, including the important role of craft traditions in enhancing the character of a place, contributing to robust local economies, and preserving and advancing knowledge of best practices. She also discussed the need for a greater focus on building crafts in architectural education, an issue the Contemporary Traditional Architecture Initiatives includes in its mission.
The lecture, organized by the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art Tennessee Chapter, concluded a year-long focus by the chapter on traditional building crafts. Following the lecture, attendees discussed ways to advance the understanding and practice of the art of craft today, including taking lessons from successful cultural shifts, such as the increased acceptance of the importance of local foods to community health and the rise of the ‘maker movement,’ or do-it-yourself, culture.
Dean Mark Gelernter says “this new position will help pull together a number of programs and initiatives in our college around the theme of Enduring Places. This means designing buildings and places that can last longer by adapting to changes over time, rather than wastefully replacing them when functions or tastes change.” Enduring Places partners sustainability with historic preservation, and focuses renewed attention on how buildings in the past adapted more gracefully to change than many of our more recent buildings. This initiative will help today’s practitioners learn important lessons from our traditional settlement patterns, design languages and building practices. Continue reading →
In 2002, after running the then-named Institute of Classical Architecture’s programs since 1997, I decided it was time for a workshop to discuss the future of our educational programs. 2002 marked the end of our first decade. During that time we had experienced financial, geographic and student growth and were on the cusp of three of our biggest steps forward: merging with Classical America, launching our template for chapters, and hiring our first President, Paul Gunther. Over the course of the following two years we gathered twice, inviting all of our faculty and fellows together to discuss the current and future state of our educational programs. We sought to arrive at a shared vision of future needs and possibilities. Many of those things we identified a decade ago have come to be fulfilled, some have yet to be, and some are no longer relevant. It is interesting to look back on this now, a decade later, after just returning home from the ICAA‘s National Curriculum Conference in Newport.
ICAA Instructors and staff meet at the 2013 National Curriculum Conference
I am often asked which books should be read to learn about the history and practice of classical architecture. In an attempt to answer that question, I offer this list of essential books. Without doubt it is incomplete, as all pursuits of knowledge will always be. And it certainly reflects my own interests, as it is weighted to American architecture. Nonetheless, I hope you find it useful and please advise me of any errors or omissions.
One brisk New York winter’s eve I skipped into the Century Association, thrilled that the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art had arranged a visit to see Charles Platt’s book collection. His scrapbooks, with shiny photographs lining black pages, were the highlight. In awed silence I imagined Platt studying them as he designed his own projects. Designers need access to good precedents, yet one cannot always dash off to study buildings and places in person. It is with that in mind that I have assembled and shared my Architectural Image Database.
I am charged with offering concluding remarks and answering the questions of what the future holds and what challenges we face to meet that future. Before I do, I would like to thank our hosts and offer a special thanks to Michael Lykoudis for his vision for this conference. I also would like to take this opportunity to thank those people who have been so critical to the path of my own career – Bill Westfall, Thomas Gordon Smith, Rodney Cook, Richard John and my dear friends at the Institute.
Now, what challenges do we face and how do we meet them? Well, to consider this, I am first going to take my gloves off for a moment and succumb to what I would call realism, or what Michael Lykoudis has called pessimism, and then I will put my gloves back on and, hopefully, conclude on a polite, optimistic note.
Three Generations of Classical Architects conference speakers, panelists, and attendees, University of Notre Dame (2005)
From April 12-14, 2002 architects, urbanists, and educators gathered at the town of Windsor in Florida to discuss an ideal curriculum for architectural education which would address the crisis in architecture and urbanism. Among many distinguished speakers, I was invited to present the programs and philosophy of the Institute of Classical Architecture (today’s ICAA). Here below are my remarks as published in the Windsor Forum on Design Education: Toward an Ideal Curriculum to Reform Architectural Education, edited by Peter Hetzel and Dhiru Thadani (Miami: New Urban Press, 2004).
Christine G. H. Franck demonstrating rendering techniques during ICAA Summer Program