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C.R. Cockerell: architecture, history, time and memory

Bordeleau, Anne; (2006) C.R. Cockerell: architecture, history, time and memory. Doctoral thesis, UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

The definition of what architecture means and how it signifies shifts with different conceptions of shared time (history) and personal time (memory). Turning to the nineteenth century, the thesis explores how comprehensions of architectural meaning were informed by architects' acquaintance with history. Because architects were acutely aware of the schism between a new socio-historical interpretation of architecture and its more traditional grounds, re-examination of this period offers us the opportunity to reconsider issues still relevant today - the struggle between imitation and innovation, the definition (or rejection) of aesthetic experience, the stakes behind architectural judgment (who decides and how), or fundamentally, how to act (i.e. build) when there is no longer a single grand narrative but a plurality of possible histories. The work focuses on how the English architect Charles Robert Cockerell (1788-1863) addressed the dilemma of history: if architecture was over-identified with the past, the dangers of an eclectic historicism loomed ahead if architecture was dissociated from all historical narratives, it risked become meaningless. Analysis of Cockerell's conception of history suggests that he attempted to avoid these consequences in two essential ways. First, a reading of Cockerell's textual and graphic representations of history (diaries, Royal Academy lecture notes and drawings) reveals how his definition of an active relation with the past inherently guarded the communicability and metaphysical significance of architecture. Second, a study of Cockerell's unfinished building for Cambridge University Library, illuminated by various drawings (Grand Tour studies and publications design development, contract and exhibition drawings), discloses how the setting of his architecture was not merely historical but deeply contextual and experiential. Questioning architecture as a trace from the past, an imprint of its time and an index requiring movement for comprehension, the work addresses the ways in which memory is drawn in architecture and architectural discourse.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: C.R. Cockerell: architecture, history, time and memory
Identifier: PQ ETD:591657
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by ProQuest. Third party copyright material has been removed from the ethesis. Images identifying individuals have been redacted or partially redacted to protect their identity.
UCL classification: UCL > School of BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment > Bartlett School > Bartlett School of Graduate Studies
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1444354
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