March Mostra/Meet the architect…Adam Nathaniel Furman

- An Furman, Picciridu's Tower, 2015

Adam Nathaniel Furman, Picciridu’s Tower, 2015

http://www.adamnathanielfurman.com/

Adam Nathaniel Furman‘s (Rome Prize-winner in Architecture October 2014– March 2015) project The Roman Singularity is a multi-media exploration in text, computer drawing, animation, hand drawing, and ceramic, creating an an imaginary alternate Rome for the 21st Century; a dream in the mode of Piranesi’s Ichnographiam Campi Martii, a peek out through the other side of Rome’s catastrophic and utterly incomparable reality-bending gravitational field, a new city from which fragments can be seen here in this exhibition. An in-depth presentation of this project can be viewed on his blog: http://theromansingularity.blogspot.it/

The Roman Singularity, il progetto di Adam Nathaniel Furman (Rome Prize-winner in Architecture October 2014– March 2015), è un’indagine multimediale realizzata con testo, disegno a computer, animazione, disegno a mano libera e ceramica, che crea una Roma cartacea del XXI secolo alternativa; un sogno che richiama l’Ichnographiam Campi Martii del Piranesi, e che si affaccia sull’altro lato del catastrofico, e incomparabile campo gravitazionale di Roma, capace di plasmarne la realtà, una nuova città i cui frammenti possono essere avvistati in questa mostra. Un’approfondita presentazione di questo progetto può essere visto sul suo blog: http://theromansingularity.blogspot.it

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Adam Nathaniel Furman, Photo: Antonio Palmieri


BSR Fine Arts March Mostra opens Friday 13 March 2015 18.30. Dates: 14–21 March (excluding Sunday). Hours: 16.30–19.00. Read the Press Release here or join the facebook event here.

MARCH MOSTRA 2015 POSTER

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Monte Mario: my first view of Rome

Tom Brigden was Giles Worsley Travel Fellow at the BSR in 2012. Here he tells us about his time at the BSR, his work as an architect at a leading international architectural practice specialising in conservation, and what J.M.W. Turner has got to do with Rome.

 T. Brigden, Nuova Pianta di Roma 2012, graphite and ink, 42x30cm

T. Brigden, Nuova Pianta di Roma, 2012, graphite and ink, 42 x 30 cm

Few cities could be said to approach Rome in terms of sheer density of historic and cultural sites, crowded as they are – quite literally in some cases – one on top of another. Given the opportunity, then, to live and work in such a place, what would be your first destination?

It is 9am, on a beautifully sunny October morning in 2012, my first morning in Rome. I’m heading north from the BSR, leaving the clustered domes and pinnacles of the city’s beguiling skyline behind me. My destination is the Riserva Naturale di Monte Mario to the northeast of the city. First impressions are not promising. Crossing the Tiber south of the Foro Italico, a tortuous knot of seemingly impregnable motorway slip roads and roaring traffic separate me from the park’s rusting barbed entrance gates.

Photo

Within, things do not initially improve, confronted as I am with littered scrub, vandalised bins and graffiti covered walls. However, as I begin climbing the steep, switch-back cobbled road which ascends the mountain I soon find myself immersed within a tangled ancient forest. Of course, ancient this forest may be, but to assume it is untouched by human hand in a place such as Rome would be a mistake; shattered walls and terraces revealed at each hair-pin bend hint at diverse former vocations ranging from Roman cemetery to seventeenth-century pleasure gardens and nineteenth-century fortress.

Though the gradually diminishing hum of the traffic I left behind seems an un-welcome modern interruption within this tranquil forest, the cobbled tracks traversing the mountain once formed the final triumphal stage of the so-called Via Francigena, the ’road from France’ European pilgrims took en-route to the Vatican. As such, these tracks once thronged with weary pilgrims and heavily-laden animals, drinking in their first views of the city and St Peter’s basilica beyond.

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T. Brigden, City, Landscape, Fragment II, 2012, graphite and ink 42 x 30 cm

This magnificent panorama of the city, the sinuous Tiber sweeping in a broad meander between the Milvian Bridge and Mausoleum of Augustus, framed by elegant stone pines and backed by distant blue-grey hills, is an unforgettable introduction to the city. These wooded slopes were once the prized locations for grand villas, most notably the villa of the Roman poet Martial, Pietro da Cortona’s Pigneto Sacchetti (destroyed) and Raphael’s Villa Madama (left unfinished and largely altered), all of which carefully manipulated the contours of the hillside to take maximum advantage of the vista.

Later, in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the atmospheric ruins of these artistic and architectural treasures became a popular stop on the Grand Tour. Reaching an unusably decrepit bench at the summit of the hill, I muse on the idea that writers William Wordsworth and Henry James, artists Claude Lorrain, J.M.W. Turner, William Marlow and Richard Wilson, among many others, have all stood on this spot and admired the view. In fact, the popular depiction of this viewpoint, on countless canvasses, in numerous books, in hundreds of prints, contributed to its absorption into the British popular imagination; aristocratic gentlemen soon referred to the particular characteristics of a view from their Thames-side villas as equal to that of Rome’s Monte Mario. And yet, despite this fame, I enjoy this silent belvedere alone – you will not see the coach parties that crowd the Janiculum, the posing lovers of the Pincian or the group ‘selfies’ of the Capitoline hills here.

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T. Brigden, City, Landscape, Fragment IV, 2012, graphite and ink 42 x 30 cm

This brings me to why I could not resist Monte Mario as my first destination in Rome. My research interests lie in the contemporary phenomenon of view preservation within urban and historic environments. My PhD dissertation explored the history of view protection in London, which has some of the strictest view management policies of any world city, tracing its origin to the picturesque movement and the popularisation of a particular view of London, the view from Richmond Hill. As a final post-script to my dissertation I was keen to explore the connection between the Richmond Hill and Monte Mario views, which were frequently directly compared by writers, architects and artists, including Turner, Marlow and Wilson. My time at the BSR, generously supported by the Giles Worsley Fellowship allowed me the unrivalled opportunity to gather material and connections, in the libraries of the BSR, American Academy and in the city’s many public and private collections of art. Without the generosity and support of the BSR’s staff and other scholars, I could not have hoped to achieve this. As an architect with conservation specialist Purcell LLP, I utilise the skills I gained at the BSR in practice as well as in my academic work. This includes the preparation of detailed context and views analysis documents which inform the development of architectural and urban design proposals. As a practice, our work utilising such skills has included a huge diversity of complex projects, Tower Bridge, Durham Cathedral and the Palace of Westminster among them.

Every resident scholar, artist, architect or visitor to the BSR will have different ideas for their first excursion in the city. Those I met during my time at the school had plans ranging from following an itinerary of churches authored by Andrea Palladio, to the Beaux-Arts sculpture of Hendrik Christian Andersen, to the ossuaries of the Capuchin monks. It is this exposure to ideas, to different ways of seeing, experiencing and thinking about the city of Rome that I feel is one of the BSR’s greatest assets – I very much look forward to returning in the future, and another chance to see the city from a whole new perspective!


Dr Tom Brigden received a commendation for his PhD dissertation The Protected Vista: An Intellectual and Cultural History, As Seen From Richmond Hill at the Royal Institute of British Architect’s President’s Awards for Research 2014.

Applications are being invited for the 2015-16 Giles Worsley Rome Fellowship. See http://www.bsr.ac.uk/awards/architecture-awards-ii#giles for further details. The closing date for applications is 18 February.

December Mostra/Meet the architect…Adam Nathaniel Furman

- A Furman, There's no place like dome

– AN Furman, There’s no place like dome, 2014

http://www.adamnathanielfurman.com/

Adam Nathaniel Furman‘s (Rome Prize-winner in Architecture, October 2014 – March 2015) project  The Roman Singularity is a multi-media exploration in text, computer drawing, animation, hand drawing, and ceramic, creating an alternative paper Rome for
the 21st century; a dream in the mode of Piranesi’s Ichnographiam Campi Martii, a peek out through the other side of Rome’s catastrophic and utterly incomparable reality-bending gravitational field, a new city from which fragments can be seen here in this exhibition. An in-depth presentation of this project can be viewed on his blog: http://theromansingularity.blogspot.it/

The Roman Singularity, il progetto di  Adam Nathaniel Furman (Rome Prize-winner in Architecture, ottobre 2014  – marzo 2015), è un’indagine multimediale realizzata con testo, disegno a computer, animazione, disegno a mano libera e ceramica, che crea una Roma cartacea del XXI secolo alternativa; un sogno che richiama l’Ichnographiam Campi Martii del Piranesi, e che si affaccia sull’altro lato del catastrofico, e incomparabile campo gravitazionale di Roma, capace di plasmarne la realtà, una nuova città i cui frammenti possono essere avvistati in questa mostra. Un’approfondita presentazione di questo progetto può essere vista sul suo blog:  http://theromansingularity.blogspot.it/


BSR Fine Arts December Mostra opens Friday 12 December 2014 18.30. Dates: 13 – 20 December (excluding Sunday). Hours: 16.30-19.00.                                                        Read the Press Release here or join the facebook event here.

DECEMBER MOSTRA 2014 POSTER

March Mostra/ Meet the architect…Edward Simpson

E Simpson, Stairwell - ICP Housing at Citta Giardino Aniene, 2013

E Simpson, Stairwell – ICP Housing at Citta Giardino Aniene, 2013

dense-italy.tumblr.com

Edward Simpson’s (Rome Prize-Holder in Architecture, October 2013 – March 2014) work in the March Mostra considers housing projects built during the period 1895-1982, and specifically the form and detail of shared and circulation spaces that connect the home to the street.  Central to these studies are the residents’ individual experience of this journey and the spaces within which residents are able to socialize.

Il lavoro di Edward Simpson (Rome Prize-Holder in Architecture, ottobre 2013 – marzo 2014) per March Mostra esamina insediamenti abitativi costruiti nel periodo 1895-1982 e in particolare la forma e il dettaglio degli spazi comuni e di circolazione che collegano casa e strada.  Cruciali per questi studi sono l’esperienza individuale di tali percorsi dei residenti, e gli spazi entro i quali essi possono socializzare.

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BSR Fine Arts March Mostra opens Friday 14 March 2014 18.30. Dates: 15 – 22 March (excluding Sunday). Hours: 16.30-19.00. Read the press release here or join the Facebook group here.

March Mostra Poster

Rome Prize in Architecture

Edward Simpson is the 2013-14 Rome Prize-winner in Architecture here at the BSR. After reporting on the BSR’s autumn architecture news (BSR News, Winter 2014), Edward shared with us some more personal thoughts about his residency. 

Edward Simpson

Why did you apply for the Rome Prize?  What was it about the BSR that made you want to come to Rome?

When I applied for the Prize I was a practicing architect in London and whilst my formal training was complete, the realities of housing development had triggered specific interests for me that I felt couldn’t be pursued in practice. Some of these issues are in the control of the designer and others are not and knowing which ‘battle to fight’ within the design process isn’t always immediately clear. My main motivation to apply was the potential for spending a period of time in which I could establish my own priorities in order to take them back to practice.

E Simpson, Model – Open Courtyard at Via Galileo Ferraris, Testaccio, 2013

Have your plans remained the same as what you thought you would be doing, or have you followed a bit of a different trajectory than you thought?

Whilst the overall topic has remained the same, my work has become much more focused during the first half of my residency. I began with a number of broad questions relating to new forms of housing, their individual success and the extent to which they changed Italian cities during the twentieth century. However, through spending time in the projects I have developed a specific interest in public and shared spaces within these projects, and in the journey of the individual resident from the street to their own front door. In the December mostra I brought the first stage of this work together in a series of photographic studies of communal areas and a large model of a courtyard in the Testaccio district.

Click here to see Edward’s project website.

E Simpson, Top Floor of Corviale, 2013

E Simpson, Top Floor of Corviale, 2013

What has been the biggest benefit for you about staying at the BSR?

Living in Rome has placed me within a city of extremely varied housing precedents, developed due to a highly particular series of changes in politics and planning law after unification; to be amongst them for this period of time is invaluable. I have also been given the opportunity to live with both artists and academics, each of whom have their own specialities and opinions and I feel that the resulting conversations have strongly affected the way in which I have thought about my work. Perhaps the most significant benefit has been the ability to spend time, whether in reading, visiting, photographing or making. As a result I’m particularly grateful for the way in which the day-to-day organisation of the BSR gives residents the maximum number of hours in the day in which to pursue their own work.

E Simpson, Courtyard Garden at Villaggio Olimpico, 2013

E Simpson, Courtyard Garden at Villaggio Olimpico, 2013

What are your plans for the remainder of the residency?

It is important for me to bring together my studies into a consolidated body of work that can be easily communicated, as I intend to have exhibitions in the UK following my residency. In order to do this I will be visiting many more projects in Rome, but I also hope to travel to Northern Italy to look at workers’ housing in Milan, Ivrea and Genoa. Whilst much of my methodology will remain the same I am hoping to additionally produce a series of detailed drawings that describe the spaces that I’ve found most inspiring and – I hope – a series of films comprising static shots of the communal spaces studied.

Applications for the Rome Prize in Architecture 2014-15 are open until Friday 7 February.  See our website for further details: http://www.bsr.ac.uk/awards/architecture-awards-ii

Meet the architect…Edward Simpson

E Simpson, “Top Floor of the Corviale”, 2013

E Simpson, “Top Floor of the Corviale”, 2013

http://dense-italy.tumblr.com/

Edward Simpson (Rome Prize-Holder in Architecture, October 2013-March 2014) is an architect. He studied at Cambridge University and London Metropolitan University, his Diploma Thesis focusing on public spaces that are formed by housing through proposals for Carpenters Estate in Stratford. Since 2007 he has worked at DSDHA in London.

Edward’s work in Rome considers housing projects built during the period 1895-1982, and specifically the form and detail of shared and circulation spaces that connect the home to the street. Central to these studies are the resident’s individual experience of this journey and the spaces within which residents are able to socialize.

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Edward Simpson (Rome Prize-Holder in Architecture, ottobre 2013-marzo 2014) è architetto. Ha studiato all’Università di Cambridge e alla London Metropolitan University; la sua tesi di diploma era incentrata sugli spazi pubblici formati dalle abitazioni attraverso proposte per il Carpenters Estate a Stratford. Dal 2007 lavora presso DSDHA, Londra.

Il lavoro di Edward a Roma esamina insediamenti abitativi costruiti nel periodo 1895-1982, e in particolare sulla forma e il dettaglio degli spazi comuni e di circolazione che collegano casa e strada. Cruciali per questi studi sono l’esperienza individuale di tali percorsi dei residenti, e gli spazi entro i quali essi possono socializzare.

Friday 13th Invitation

BSR Fine Arts exhibition “Friday 13th”. Opening Friday 13 December 2013 18.30-21.30. Exhibition runs Monday-Saturday 16.30-19.00 until 21 December. Further details here.

Meeting Architecture: Architecture and the Creative Process

The BSR’s new architecture programme Meeting Architecture: Architecture and the Creative Process will commence on Tuesday 29 October with a lecture and study-exhibition by Adam Caruso (Caruso St John Architects) and the artist Thomas Demand. Curator of the BSR’s Architecture programme, Marina Engel, spoke to Elena Bordignon about the idea behind the project.

Meeting Architecture is a very generous title, a sort of invitation to meet architecture, to understand it, its problems and potential. What is the main theme of the project?

We rarely reflect on how architecture, perhaps more than any other profession, often touches on and includes an extraordinary range of disciplines.  In our previous programmes on urbanism, we have focussed on the need for architects to negotiate politics, sociology, psychology, economics, science, history, archaeology in their work and even that is a limited list.  Meeting Architecture, will instead concentrate on the relationship between architects and practitioners of other creative processes.

Why do you think it is important to investigate the nature of collaborations between artists and practitioners of other creative disciplines like cinema, art and music?

In Britain, in 1956, the exhibition This is Tomorrow at London’s Whitechapel Art Gallery saw artists, architects, musicians and graphic designers working together in a seminal art exhibition. The crossing of boundariesbetween the different creative processes has since become a characteristic of British culture. Internationally too, contemporary architects are designing an increasing number of art spaces, galleries and museums as well as concert halls, performing arts spaces, fashion sets, etc. They are constantly expected to understand and accommodate other creative processes in order to design their work successfully. This process has also led to a number of fascinating collaborations, most notably between artists and architects, two fields that are historically closely linked.

Meeting Architecture will examine some of these collaborations and focus on those rarer examples inwhich architects and artists conceive and design the projects together as opposed to architects inviting artists to decorate a finished building. The programme will also consider less explored territories such as music, and look at some of the projects that unite architects and composers focusing on how architecture, venue and context can help shape the artistic output of composers, an area that has not been widely investigated. The concept of cinema as the architecture of moving space has often been discussed. However, there has been less consideration of how many film directors, directors of photography and scenographers have been trained as architects and of the considerable influence that this has had on their work in film.

This is a selection however, we could also consider the relationship between architecture and fashion, architecture and the performing arts or many others. For the moment, we have selected disciplines that are represented in our research and activities at the British School at Rome

The  programme will open on 29 October  with a lecture/study-exhibition called Madame Wu and the Mill from Hell.  The Anglo-Canadian architect  Adam Caruso and the German artist Thomas Demand will  meet to discuss the nature of their collaborations.

Could you tell me how you conceived the project of their study-exhibition?

I think that Adam Caruso and Thomas Demand are a rare example of artists and architects who conceive and develop their projects together. A lot of collaborations follow the format of the example I gave earlier. In the study-exhibition, we shall concentrate on three examples. Two began with the artist inviting the architect to collaborate with him; the design of Thomas’s exhibition at the Nationalgalerie and the design of his house near Berlin. Conversely, for the Nagelhaus, a public commission in Zurich which is our third case study, the architect Adam Caruso invited the artist Thomas Demand to jointly develop the concept.

Is there an example – not necessarily contemporary – of a collaboration between an architect and an artist, that you consider particularly significant? And why?

There are many such examples, but I think a reported conversation between Le Corbusier and Jacques Lipchitz really summarises how many architects look at collaborations with artists. Jacques Lipchitz described being shown the Square du Docteur Blanche by Le Corbusier when it was quite new. It is closed off by a curved wall and Lipchitz suggested he could do a relief on it – to which Le Corbusier replied: ‘Vous n’avez rien compris, Lipchitz! c’est le mur même qui est l’oeuvre d’art’.

In the presentation of the project, you raise many questions. One question in particular really fascinates me: ‘How do you define creativity in architecture?’

How would you reply to this question?

I don’t have a clear answer and that is what prompted me to work on this programme. They are all questions I would like to investigate. The one you have chosen is the most difficult. When it is already challenging to define ‘architecture’ as a discipline, how do you then define ‘creativity in architecture’? Reinier de Graaf will talk about this in his lecture:

“Why is it that so many disciplines resort to architectural terms to describe their strategies, concepts and ideas. Does architecture and the way of thinking that comes with it have a validity beyond making buildings?”

On what basis have you chosen the programme’s many future participants?

We have tried to choose some of the most interesting examples in various fields across a range of countries. Of course it is just a selection and there are many other interesting examples of collaborations that we could discuss for years to come!

This text has been adapted from an interview originally produced in Italian in the blog ATP Diary. www.atpdiary.com

See the BSR website to find out more about the Meeting Architecture programme. http://www.bsr.ac.uk/research/architecture/architecture-and-the-creative-processes