Wednesday, 1 February 2017, 6:00PM - 7:00PM
Museum of London

Perfection or Pastiche? New Buildings in Old Places

Simon Thurley CBE

The blight of the concrete municipal buildings of the 1960s and 70s in the historic centres of our cathedral cities is all too familiar. Everyone wants to avoid the same mistakes being made again, but there is a fissure between those who wish to build in contemporary styles and materials and those who want to adopt a local historical vernacular. There is also a tension between developers who say they have to build big and residents who want a human scale. Can we reconcile old and new in our historic cities? 


No reservations are required for this lecture. It will be run on a ‘first come, first served’ basis.
Doors will open 30 minutes before the start of the lecture.
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Professor Thurley is a leading architectural historian, a regular broadcaster and was, for thirteen years, Chief Executive of English Heritage, the Government's principal advisor on the historic environment in England. Prior to joining English Heritage in 2002, he served as the Director of the Museum of London, the world's largest city museum. Between 1990 to 1997 he was the Curator of Historic Royal Palaces, the organisation is responsible for Hampton Court Palace, the Tower of London, Kensington Palace, the Banqueting House, Whitehall and Kew Palace.

Throughout his career Simon has been passionate about communicating English history. He is the author of more than ten books including The Building of England, his history of English architecture, and The Royal Palaces of Tudor England, the subject of his PhD taken at the Courtauld Institute. At Historic Royal Palaces, and later at English Heritage, he was responsible for major restoration projects - the most recent of which was the restoration of the Stonehenge landscape and the construction of a new museum there. At the Museum of London he led an exciting exhibition programme, inspiring people with a passion for the city. His television projects include, most recently, Heritage! the story of the heritage movement in Britain made for BBC4.

He is currently a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Historical Research, University of London. He is also a Trustee of the British Library, of the Canal and River Trust and of the Society of Court Studies, an academic study group he helped to found 25 years ago. He is a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries and the Royal Historical Society. He is currently the Gresham Visiting Professor of the Built Environment.

Professor Simon Thurley continues his series on the Built Environment in the 2015/16 academic year entitled 'Power, Medicine, Genius and Destruction: Great London Buildings and their Creators, 1200 to 2000'.

Professor Thurley's previous lecture series are as follows:

2014/15 The Royal Palaces of England
2010/13 A History of English Architecture: 410 - 2013
2010 London and its Architecture
2009 Heritage and its impact on the way we live

All of Professor Thurley's past Gresham lectures can be accessed here.

Current Gresham Professor of Environment

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