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.
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.
“We go eastward to realize history and study the works of art and literature, retracing the steps of the race; we go westward as into the future, with a spirit of enterprise and adventure.” Henry David Thoreau[i]
At dawn I jogged up the granite steps of the Colorado State Capitol in Denver. Reaching the top and turning to face Civic Center Park and its dramatic backdrop of the Rocky Mountains, I succumbed to the awe any Easterner feels in the vast American West. Below me lay a graceful tableau of Beaux-Arts city planning painted in green grass and trees and white marble, purple mountains and Colorado-blue sky. It hardly seemed to contain the uncontainable space and energy of the West.
Figure 1 – My early morning view of Civic Center Park from the steps of the Colorado State Capitol.
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
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
[As we approach the twentieth anniversary of the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art, I thought I would share with you a memoir I wrote for our tenth anniversary.]
Just before Rosabelli and I walked into the Piazza Navona I asked her to pause for a moment, knowing the thrill that she was about to experience for the first time. Then she walked into the Piazza and with awe she gasped at the beauty of the plashing fountains with their brilliant sunlit sculptures set off in front of the darkly towering San’Agnese in Agone. Large tears welled up in her eyes as she breathed in a small part of what Rome offers an architect. It was Rosabelli’s first trip to Rome from her native Brazil and it was also the Institute’s inaugural Rome Architectural Drawing Tour.
Houston, TX – September 12, 2011 – The Institute of Classical Architecture & Art Texas Chapter has awarded the Byrd Residence a 2011 John Staub Honor Award in Restoration and/or Renovation. Fort Worth homebuilder and master-craftsman Brent Hull of The Brent Hull Companies collaborated with Virginia-based design firm Christine G. H. Franck, Inc. to restore this historic home to its original charm.