Keith Williams gives Docomomo Lecture on Sir Basil Spence 6 June 2023

6 June 2023 : Keith Williams gave the Docomomo Lecture on Sir Basil Spence to a packed house at London’s Alan Baxter Gallery

Keith Williams gave a Docomomo Lecture on architect Sir Basil Spence 1907-1976 to coincide with start of his practice’s work on the Basil Spence designed buildings at the University of Sussex.

The event at the Alan Baxter Gallery in London’s Clerkenwell was sold out and attended by many significant figures in the arts and architecture including former broadcaster and Barbican boss Sir John Tusa, Professor Emeritus Maurice Howard and Dr Alistair Grant from the University of Sussex, Bob Allies, Piers Gough, Mike Stiff, Robert Adam, Neil Deely of Metropolitan Workshop, Amin Taha, Malcolm Reading, Martin Williams and Biba Dow and Alan Jones of Dow Jones. Nigel Rippon and Jane Harvell representing the University of Sussex were also present.

The lecture was introduced by Andrew Scoones of Docomomo UK, an organisation that exists to document and conserve the legacy of Modern Movement buildings, as part of an international network of groups that campaign to preserve the best of modern architecture.

Keith’s address centred on Spence and his life and work, as explored through four key projects namely Coventry Cathedral, the University of Sussex, Hyde Park Cavalry Barracks, and 50 Queen Anne’s Gate and Spence’s place as one of the most famous architects of his day.

Keith also introduced some of the work that he is undertaking at Sussex. The initial buildings by Spence opened in 1961 as the first of the seven brand new universities built after World War II. Known as “plate glass universities” Sussex includes some of the most important post was university buildings built in Britain. Most are listed Grade II or Grade II* with the original Student Union building College House, now Falmer House listed Grade I. Keith is currently working on updating Spence and Sylvia Crowe’s original masterplan as well as upgrades to the Main Library.

Keith’s talk can be watched via the link to the Docomomo website