Carlo Scarpa and Castelvecchio Revisited. This is the title of a book published after 21 years of work by the practice. The title was chosen deliberately as these aspirations have guided our work throughout that time.
In a city like Edinburgh, where the entire city centre is designated as a "world heritage site" and where both planners and citizens are extremely conservative and suspicious of contemporary architecture we have found ourselves continually needing make the case for a contemporary contribution to the evolving history of the city. Fake history or hiding behind historic facades is unfortunately the easy solution in so many cases. William Morris, the founder of the Society for the Preservation of Ancient Buildings wrote that "after all, history is perpetual change" and we need to continually make the case that our grandchildren need historic buildings of today as well as of yesteryear.
In addition, the history of the 19th and 20th centuries has been the gradual erosion of the intimate connection between architecture and the place in which it is found. The exclusive use of local materials, the careful husbandry of energy resources and the beauty of the town and villages created by the aggregation of thousands of similar design decision creates a natural beauty that we have today lost. First industrialisation in the 19th century and then globalisation in the 20th has made architecture very similar all over the world; often with the same architects building the same buildings!. We prefer that all our buildings are "rooted" in their place based on a search for underlying patterns of the city or landscape in which they are found.
The lecture takes six projects from our work to demonstrate these themes.
About Richard Murphy -
Richard Murphy was born in Cheshire in 1955, educated at Newcastle and Edinburgh Universities and later taught at Edinburgh University. He founded Richard Murphy Architects in Edinburgh in 1991 and since its inception the practice has won twenty-seven RIBA or RIAI Awards, has twice been shortlisted for the Stirling Prize and once for the RIBA Lubetkin Award. In 2017 it won the RIAS Doolan Best Building in Scotland Award for its Dunfermline Carnegie Library and Galleries and the same year won the best building in Ireland award from the RIAI for the O’Donaghue Centre for the Performing Arts, National University of Ireland in Galway.
The practice’s work is wide ranging. It includes houses, student, social and private housing, educational and health buildings, offices and a hotel, master-planning, galleries, theatres and two British Embassies. Much of this work has been won in architectural competitions. The practice has built in all four countries of the UK, the Republic of Ireland, the Netherlands, Malta, Macedonia and Sri Lanka.
Richard is an acknowledged authority on the Italian Architect Carlo Scarpa and has written monographs on the Castelvecchio in Verona and the Querini Stampalia in Venice as well as presenting a film for Channel 4. A revised and expanded second edition of the Castelvecchio monograph was published at the end of 2017. Two monographs have been published on the practice’s own work and the practice has been the subject of exhibitions in Edinburgh, London, Denmark and the USA as well as exhibiting in the British Pavilion at the Venice Biennale, 2004.
In 2006 Richard was voted “Scottish Architect of the Year” by readers of Prospect Magazine and in the Queen’s Honours List 2007, he was awarded an OBE. In his spare time he sings with the Chorus of the Scottish Orchestra and pilots his Microlight G-RIBA around the skies of Scotland and beyond.
Richard lives in a new house which he designed himself in the Edinburgh New Town World Heritage Site. In 2016 it was awarded an RIBA National Award and in 2016 also won the RIBA/Channel 4 House of the Year Award.
RIBA CPD at The Big 5 Dubai -
RIBA is the official architecture knowledge partner for The Big 5, the largest building and construction show in the Middle East. Since 1979, the event has launched hundreds of thousands of products, it has facilitated partnerships, advanced knowledge and industry best practices, while serving as the gateway for international companies to access the Middle East market.
Gathering buyers and manufacturers of construction products from around the world, The Big 5 offers a broad educational agenda, with high-level conferences and CPD-certified workshops across four days. The RIBA CPD programme has been designed to provide you with an insight into the big issues affecting practices in today’s challenging environment.
You can hear more from Richard Murphy on "Architecture of its time and place" at the RIBA Talks on 28th November, 12:55 - 13:40.