An Architecture of Invitation: Colin St John Wilson

ISBN: 9780754637837
Artist(s): Colin St John Wilson
Author(s): Sarah Menin and Stephen Kite
Format: hardback
Edition: -
Year published: 2005
Publisher: Lund Humphries
Publisher Location: London
Total Pages: 360
Illustrations: 249 b&w

Artist(s) Biographies:

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An Architecture of Invitation: Colin St John Wilson is a distinctive study of the life and architectural career of one of the most significant makers, theorists and teachers of architecture to have emerged in England in the second half of the twentieth century. Exceptionally in an architectural study, this book interweaves biography, critical analysis of the projects, and theory, in its aims of explicating the richness of Wilson’s body of work, thought and teaching. Drawing on the specialisms of its authors, it also examines the creative and psychological impulses that have informed the making of this work – an oeuvre whose experiential depth is recognized by both users and critics.

Wilson’s work seeks an order that is not self-contained but is rather open to site, to light, to human touch, and to circumstance: for him this demands an ethical choice between the rival claims of Art and Life. Thus his work might be characterized as an architecture of invitation, predicated on the notion of architecture as a Practical Art, whereby form is born out of a process of painstakingly searching out the particular and psychological needs of the user. The ethic identified in the book takes Wilson beyond technocratic obsessions or transient pre-occupations with style, towards a more radical agenda than many would recognize. This is evidenced in Wilson’s concern to address both the ‘inner’ (the psyche, physiological needs, and patterns of use) and the ‘outer’ (the humanist polis) in his architecture. Such agendas are timely and throw a significant challenge to the pervasive individualism of the object-city of ‘landmark’ architecture.

Sir Colin St John Wilson was the architect of the new extension at Pallant House Gallery, which opened in 2006.


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