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Durham University

Institute of Advanced Study

Past Events

Recovery of Beauty Lecture - The pendulum of taste: architecture and the rise of a State aesthetic

7th November 2011, 18:15 to 19:15, Room 201, Elvet Riverside Building, Dr Simon Thurley (English Heritage)

This is the third lecture in the Recovery of Beauty Lecture Series.

Architecture is the most public of the arts and forms the aesthetic context of our everyday lives. Since 1945 the State has increasingly been patron, arbiter, regulator and guardian of architectural aesthetics - a process paralleled in other cultural spheres. Simon Thurley looks at the rise of State intervention in architecture and asks what it might mean for the future.

Simon Thurley is a leading architectural historian, a regular broadcaster on television and radio and the Chief Executive of English Heritage; the Government's principal advisor on the historic environment in England. English Heritage champions England's heritage and advises government, and others, on how best to ensure it can be enjoyed now and looked after for future generations. Under Simon's leadership several major projects have been achieved, including the restoration of the Elizabethan Garden at Kenilworth Castle and the transformation of the Great Tower at Dover Castle. Simon is a leading architectural historian with a number of bestsellers to his name. Until he joined English Heritage in 2002 he was Director of the Museum of London, the world's largest city museum. From 1990 to 1997 he was Curator of Historic Royal Palaces and responsible for a number of major restoration projects, including the building of the new Jewel House for the Crown Jewels at the Tower of London. He is also a regular broadcaster on television and has worked on several BBC documentaries. He is a member of a large number of historical and archaeological organisations and is currently Visiting Professor of the Built Environment at Gresham College, London.

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