Sir Basil Spence RA OM (1907-76) was one of the most prolific British architects of the post-World War II era. Born in India during the colonial period, Spence was educated in Scotland and spent his early career during the 1930s designing country houses. It was after returning from wartime service in the army that built his reputation as a Modern Movement architect, with a series of projects including Coventry Cathedral, Hyde Park Barracks, and the University of Sussex, among many that would define his career. Knighted in 1960 for his work on Coventry Cathedral, Sir Basil Spence became one of Britain’s most famous post-war architects yet his work sparked as much controversy as it did plaudits.
And despite his public prominence as an architect during his life, and his large volume of work, Sir Basil Spence is today less celebrated.
In a Docomomo talk entitled “Sir Basil Spence : Radical or Reactionary?” through an exploration of some of his key buildings, Keith, who is currently working on a new masterplan for the original part of the University of Sussex and overseeing the upgrade to Spence’s 1961 Grade II* university library, will invite us to look again at Spence’s legacy.
Date : 6 June 2023
Time : 18.30
Venue : The Gallery 77 Cowcross Street London EC1M 6EL only
The event will be recorded for future publication on the Docomomo website
About Docomomo :
“The Modern Movement exploded onto the world from the technological and social transformations of the late 19th and early 20th Century. It sits across culture: revolutionising art, philosophy, and politics. Buildings and space remain its most visible monument. Docomomo UK exists to document and conserve that legacy. We are part of an international network of groups that campaign to save Modern Movement buildings and record their history.
We carry out original research which feeds into our monthly talks, study tours, and online journal, celebrating and continuing the interplay of ideas across borders that was central to the Modern Movement.
We are one of 77 chapters around the world that make up Docomomo International. It brings together historians, architects, planners, landscape architects, conservationists, teachers, students and public officials from across architectural culture. Membership gives access to this global network.“