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Of Its Time and of Its Place

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The title of this lecture is explained by Richard Murphy Architects’ location between two opposite points of view. There is little in our work that might be called avant-garde. The office does not subscribe to the high-octane world of the international ‘starchitects’ depositing iconic buildings in different cultures around the world, which whilst having some superficial photo-journalistic value, rarely repay close inspection. The other position is represented by the society in which we work, Edinburgh in particular, but also elsewhere in the UK. This is a city where many citizens wish that the modern era had never occurred. Modern architecture, it seems to be universally agreed, has spoilt the view. However it is essential for the health of our culture that we make buildings that are recognisably of today so that in future there will be some history from this era to preserve. Rooting recognisably new buildings into old places or particular landscapes; contributing towards, rather than damaging, their location; continuing, rather than fossilising, the history of a place: there are our objectives. We call it architecture of its time and place.

This talk is part of the Martin Centre Research Seminar Series series.

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