Brown, Neave (13 of 19). National  Life Story Collection: Architects' Lives

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  • Recording date

    2013-12-07, 2013-12-14, 2014-02-08, 2014-03-08, 2014-03-15, 2014-03-29, 2014-04-26, 2014-07-27, 2014-08-10, 2014-08-17, 2014-12-06

  • Recording locations

    Interviewee's home, London

  • Interviewees

    Brown, Neave (1929-) (speaker,  male)

  • Interviewers

    Franklin, Geraint (speaker, male)

  • Abstract

    Part 13: Remarks on PH: his work in offices of Alvar Aalto and LM. Remarks on relationship between PH and SW. NB invited to teach at Cambridge; comments on CR. CR, JS and SS products of Liverpool School of Architecture. Remarks on character of AA. Comments on character of AA under chairmanship of AB. Importance of knowledge of building techniques to architectural practice. Lack of interest of Archigram Group in detailing and architectural production. NB’s lack of involvement in the AA school in recent years. [00:11:11] Comments on LM, PH’s relationship with LM, and significance of PH’s work in LM studio. Relationship with CR and CR’s invitation to NB to teach at Cornell University [New York State] as a visiting critic. Remarks on architectural education in the United States and British architects obtaining teaching positions at American schools of architecture. [00:20:08] KF invited by Peter Eisenman [PE] to teach [at Princeton University]. Mentions New York Five group; remarks on PE and Cedric Price as designers. [00:26:00] Mentions problems with construction of Fleet Road, later supervised by David Porter. [00:27:26] Description of Alexandra Road project. NB introduced to project by John Green, discussion with SC. Development of brief. Quality of ‘inevitability’ of NB’s design. Rejection of mixed development formula of Camden planners. Idea of continuous building screening noise from the railway. Description of design process. Policy of different administration at Camden to segregate housing association from council maintained elements. Importance of continuous walkway. Continuity with English housing typologies. [00:39:10] Debates about rehabilitation of dilapidated Victorian houses previously on site. Addition of ancillary social buildings to housing. Allotted housing density exceeded. [00:45:12] Further remarks on development of scheme, and general reflections on NB’s work at Camden. Merits of continuous and overlapping development versus separate blocks. A relatively fixed form needed to provide space, freedom and choice in the planning of dwellings. [00:53:01] Community buildings initially planned as block diagrams. Invitation to teach at Princeton University School of Architecture at suggestion of Bob Maxwell [Robert Maxwell]. Permission from SC. Time at Princeton spent tutoring students and designing Alexandra Road community buildings. [00:56:15] Design of special school at Alexandra Road and consultation with health and education professionals. Change of client from Medical Office of Health to education authority. [00:58:32] Detailed design of Alexandra Road. Formal aspects of design. Difficulties of incorporating ductwork in a set-back building. [01:04:54] Remarks on design team; names include David Porter, Nick Alexandra, Gordon Benson [GB], Alan Forsyth [AF], Julian Feary, Ophir Kolker, Graeme Frost, Aubrey Hume. [Background noise at 01:07:35]. Refusal to move into own office. Importance of admin team and of keeping records. Management of conflict in the design process. Apportionment of work between members of the design team, and coordination with subcontractors and specialists. Sense of collaboration and participation with a hierarchy. [01:15:58] [Section closed from 01:15:58 to end of track]

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