Maguire, Robert (13 of 19) National Life Story Collection: Architects' Lives

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  • Recording locations

    Interviewee's home, London

  • Interviewees

    Maguire, Robert, 1931 (speaker, male)

  • Interviewers

    Sandino, Linda (speaker, female)

  • Abstract

    Part 13: RM's approach to the conservation of historic and ancient buildings; importance of adapting buildings and opposition from the preservation societies. Description of fight with English Heritage [EH] over advice to Gislingham parochial church council about their church as a 'museum of neglect'. Anecdote about the EH inspector's intransigence and eventual dismissal. EH's final acceptance of 'allowable adaption for re-use'. Remarks about the decision-making process at EH; support from current EH inspector; recent article about EH conservation policies by its director. Substantial comments on the neglect of the teaching of architectural history in the education of 'modern' architects (AA excepted); what this neglect implies for architects' designs and their understanding of buildings. Detailed description of 'the corner problem' in architecture using example of Mies van der Rohe at MIT [[Massachusetts Institute of Technology] and the classical solution at the Parthenon; coins term 'aesthetico-structural'. Modernists' rejection of history. Remarks about Quinlan Terry and Robert Adam's 'blind' interpretation of classicism. Laments the disappearance of knowledge of historical architectural systems and its eventual impact on the conservation of historic buildings; sensitivity and respect needed in approach to ancient buildings; not creating a pastiche. Comments on the curriculum of current conservation courses.

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