Jones, Edward (5 of 11) National Life Story Collection: Architects' Lives

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    Interviewee's home, London

  • Interviewees

    Jones, Edward, 1939- (speaker, male)

  • Interviewers

    Dillon, Niamh (speaker, female)

  • Abstract

    Part 5: Discussion on competition for Northampton County Hall: it was an international competition which was rare at the time. [00:01:36] Although several friends submitted, Jeremy Dixon (JD) design went through to the second stage. Mentions pyramid shape and how rare this was – collaborative work on finished design. [00:03:23] Design won but competition was cancelled due to change of government. Mentions architect Richard Sheppard involvement, mentions Hugh Casson’s commendations. [00:05:55] EJ discusses authorship on a project – how EJ was collaborating on other competitions: i.e. Schinkel Archives in Berlin, Taoiseach’s residence in Dublin, with Margot Griffin, and Michael Gold. How EJ characterises this period in the 1970s as “living on your wits”: teaching, working and entering competitions. [00:09:37] Discusses his book, “Guide to the Architecture of London” Explains how he was managing all these different tasks. [00:11:50] Teaching internationally. [00:12:20] Mentions the end of his first marriage – his work ethic, EJ had analysis for a period in the 1970s. [00:14:30] Sources of support during the end of of his first marriage. Talks about the consequences/effects of the divorces on the oldest three children –[Section from 00:17:16 to 00:17:57 CLOSED and muted on playback track] [00:18:03] How architecture became a kind of solace. His feelings about competitions- Taoiseach competition and how it didn’t chime with lead juror Aldo Van Eyck, [00:21:43] the effect of winning the competition for Mississauga County Hall. Describes the architectural landscape in Britain in the 1970s. [00:24:11] Describes the attitudes toward public housing within local authorities immediately post-war and how they (EJ, JD etc) were re-considering the idea of the house, the street, the square, in the urban context, mentions how Chelsea Barracks is using traditional building forms. [00:28:29] Influences of Alan Colquhoun – his ideas of type and form and how this was a counter-reformation in architecture. [00:30:26] Reflects on Robin Hood Gardens by the Smithson’s’, the refurbishment of the Brunswick Centre in London. Mentions how the ‘Grunt Group’ (EJ, JD and friends) opposed the ideas of the Smithsons’ – mentions research Land Use Built Form by Lionel March at Cambridge University. [00:33:35] Discusses the gap between architectural ideas at the time and public acceptance of modernist housing blocks. Mentions JD’s housing project in St. Mark’s Road (London). Defensible Space by Oscar Newman in 1972. [00:38:26] EJ discusses optimum types of housing /dwellings. (mentions bringing countryside into the city being an English ideal). [00:43:09]EJ explains how his book came about – choosing subject matter and time period. [00:46:11] His co-author Christopher Woodward – the audience for the book. Buildings they chose to include. Civic space in London and how this compares to those in Europe. [00:50:10] Mentions book by Rasmussen on London – “London: the Unique City”. [00:55:10] How they chose the 1000 buildings in London to include. Describes his co-author Christopher Woodward. Explains the term “the Grunt Group” that they were christened by Peter Cook. Being christened the “Lost Generation” by Walter Segal – reflects on the Bauhaus being in existence only 30 years before his studies. [01:02:49] Fascism and the Modern Movement. The Scandinavian influence in Britain post-war – mentions a Leon Krier lecture on architect Albert Speer. [01:06:53] Influence of Le Corbusier, Atelier 5, Louis Kahn, Stirling and Gowan. [01:08: 53] Describes the relationships within the Grunt Group: working on the Tatlin Tower and Pravda Tower, using TC100 crockery, driving Porsches and 2 CV cars. [01:12: 20] What he was wearing in the 1970s. Describes their interiors – mentions antique furniture. [01:15] Mentions designing rugs recently for Zeev Aram. Where he socialised in the 1970s – mentions smoking heavily, listening to jazz, reading Elizabeth David and cooking communally. [01:19:05] Mentions how most of his friends were architects. In 1960s he discusses his first teaching job at Regent Street Polytechnic in London – why he took the job – teaching in Cornell in USA in 1973. Contrasts teaching in USA and Britain. [01:24:51] Contrasts teaching in Dublin. [01:25:44] Explains how the students protested and had the architecture school at UCD shut down, Ivor Smith was hired as interregnum Professor – lecturers from Glasgow and London were hired, some Irish lecturers. Mentions how good the experience was at UCD. [01:28:53] Discusses architecture in Dublin in the 1960s and early 1970s, mentions modern buildings by Michael Scott, [01:31:21] talks about current Irish architecture and current recession (Grafton Architects) Shay Cleary, Sheila O Donnell. [01:32:34] EJ taught the third year at UCD – projects he was setting the students, the urban context, discusses DJ redevelopment of Regents Palace Hotel in central London. [01:38:18] EJ discusses the political background in Ireland in the early 1970s – anecdote about mentioning his grandfather was in the Black and Tans in pub – [01:40:58] discusses Irish students and Irish education – teaching in Ireland, England and USA simultaneously. [01:42:43] Describes how he taught in tutorials – mentions teaching in USA – teaching continued – describes assessment by critical juries, compares it to the Beaux Arts system. [01:46:37] EJ discusses what happened to students who couldn’t perform – characteristics that you need to succeed in architecture (a necessary toughness). [01:51:21] Reflects on his responsibility to give students a sense of architectural life after university. Talks about the current culture of the superstar architect. Importance of connecting the theory and practice of architecture. Reflects on the architecture in the UK and the USA – and how the architecture schools tend to be good but the profession lacklustre.

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