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By Mark Swenarton

The culture of idea stemming from John Ruskin and William Morris was once very important in its personal day and has persisted to exert a robust impact on architectural notion within the 20th century or even this day it truly is nonetheless commonly considered as the real "socialist" culture. the true nature of Ruskinian architectural idea is the puzzled during this full-scale learn of the topic. geared up as a chain of reviews of the key figures concerned - John Ruskin, Philip Webb, William Morris, W.R.Lethaby, Raymond Unwin and A.J.Plenty - the publication explores the roots of this college of concept in German Romanticism (and rather in idealist philosophy), unravels its uneasy courting with Marxism and the socialist circulation, strains its carrying on with function in 20th century structure, and concludes with a critique of its price and validity for the Nineties. in accordance with unpublished archival assets, this e-book is an immense reinterpretation of a primary strand in Western architectural inspiration. Mark Swenarton is the writer of "Homes healthy for Heroes" and a standard author on modern matters in structure, really for the weekly "Building Design".

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To what extent did Webb's architecture and his thinking about Philip Webb: Architecture and Socialism 33 architecture draw on his experiences in the socialist movement, particularly his encounter with the London marxists? To what extent on the other hand did it draw on the ideas that Ruskin had set out in 'The Nature of Gothic'? Despite his importance, there has been a dearth of historical studies of Webb, and Lethaby's biography, written shortly after the First World War, still remains the standard work.

Form, colour, atmosphere all here - the astonishing gyration of genius, pirouetting, as it were, to a point of painful delights. 28 In the Glebe Place house and other buildings designed in the late 1860s, Webb left behind him the 'Gothic days' of the Street office and the Red House (Fig. " In buildings like the Boyce house, or Hugh Bell's house 'Red Barns', the architecture was not based on an imitation or adoption of the architectural style of a particular period of the past; rather it made use of elements of building traditional in the locality, but composed them in a way that defied any easy stylistic classification.

Understand this clearly: You can teach a man to draw a straight line, and to cut one; to strike a curved line, and to carve it; and to copy and carve any number of given lines or forms, with admirable speed and perfect precision; and you find his work perfect of its kind: but if you ask him to think about any of those forms, to consider if he cannot find any better in his own head, he stops; his execution becomes hesitating; he thinks, and ten to one he thinks wrong; ten to one he makes a mistake in the first touch he gives to his work as a thinking being.

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