Brown, Neave (18 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 18: General remarks on NB’s work outside England. Invited to work in Italy after Armando Malvestiti [AM] took an interest in NB’s work. Visit to Bergamo architects’ association. Comments on work of Aldo Rossi. Visit to site at Mozzo, a suburb of Bergamo with AM and subsequent commission to design housing. Description of NB’s design [‘Mozzo one’] and subsequent stages of planning approval, working drawings and construction. Comment on publication and error in design credit. [00:12:55] Subsequent commission from AM for second site [‘Mozzo two’]. Description of design; scheme stalled when site sold. Commission from AM for third site, again abortive, and office development. NB designed a total of five building in Bergamo, only one of which got built. Observations on NB’s career post-Camden and insecurity of private practice. [00:18:10] Friendship with Dutch architect Jo Coenen [JC]. Invited by JC onto judging panel for housing competition outside Amsterdam. Judged anonymously by won by NB’s assistant on Zwolsestraat scheme. Remarks on JC. [00:27:02] As Dutch state architect, JC responsible for the masterplan for Eindhoven. Commission from JC to design housing in form of ‘medina’ [Smalle Haven, Vestdijk]. Description of site and scheme, designed in association with Eindhoven practice Van Aken. Invitation from JC to interview for professorship at Department of Architecture of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology; negotiated part-time post. [00:37:00] Association with local architectural firm in competing Eindhoven scheme and relationship with client. Further remarks on design; rapid sale of competed flats and formation of residents’ group. [00:47:35] General observations on housing associations in Holland and comparison with British social housing programme. [00:52:42] Decision to study art; foundation course at City and Guilds [of London Institute], where fellow architect Martin Richardson was studying. Comments on art education. Party at Eindhoven to celebrate completion of NB building. [00:58:10] Decision to stop practicing architecture; remarks on the present-day architectural profession. Mentions AA-trained younger generation of architects including Zaha [Hadid], Alvin Boyarsky, Rem Koolhaas and Archigram. Enlarged role of contractors and specialists in contemporary building design and loss of architects’ control. Changes in client relationship and implications on social content of architecture.

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