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Architecture on TV Season at BFI Southbank, 2016
London Festival of Architecture Television, UK
13 Apr 2016
Architecture on TV season at BFI Southbank, June 2016
BFI announces Architecture on TV season
This June the BFI Southbank will be hosting a season exploring TV’s role in British architecture, with special screenings of rarely seen material and Q&As with experts and commentators.
The season is part of this year’s London Festival of Architecture; full details of the season are below.
British Film Institute – BFI, 21 Stephen Street, London W1T 1LN, United Kingdom
Architecture on TV season at BFI Southbank, June 2016
• THU 9 JUN, 18:10 – SCREENING AND INTRO: Architecture’s Arrival on Screen: Kenneth Clark / Onstage: Arts Producer John Wyver
• MON 13 JUN, 18:20 – SCREENING AND Q&A: Nairn’s Journeys / Onstage: Writer and filmmaker Jonathan Meades
• WED 15 JUN, 18:20 – SCREENING AND INTRO: Perspectives on Pevsner / Onstage: editors of the ‘Pevsner Architectural Guides’ Charles O’Brien and Simon Bradley
• WED 22 JUN, 20:50 – SCREENING AND INTRO: Cities & Critics / Onstage: Director Mike Dibb
• SUN 26 JUN, 15:10 – SCREENING AND INTRO: Concrete at a Crossroads / Onstage: Joseph Watson, London Creative Director, National Trust
• THU 30 JUN, 18:15 – SCREENING AND INTRO: Transport as Architecture: Ballard to Banham / Onstage: Writer and journalist Paul Morley
This year’s Broadcasting the Arts focuses on Architecture on TV, exploring TV’s role in British architecture. Television has long been an outlet for Britain’s most imaginative critical voices, including JG Ballard, Iain Nairn and Raymond Williams, all of whom make appearances in programmes in the season. TV has not only provided a platform for these commentators but played a pivotal role in broadening architecture’s audiences and engaging the public in debate.
Architecture was first introduced to television by the didactic Kenneth Clark, best known for his work on Civilisation, the season includes two episodes of his earlier programme Great Temples of the World where he investigates some of the world’s most celebrated religious sites including Chartres Cathedral (ATV, 1965) in France, and Karnak (ATV, 1966) an Egyptian temple which is the largest ancient religious site in the world.
In Nairn’s Journeys Ian Nairn set out to prove that architecture is more than just structural design, it is the creation of place, space and identity. The season will include a screening of two episodes: Oxford (BBC, 1970) and Football Towns: Huddersfield and Halifax (BBC, 1975), which will be followed by a Q&A with writer and filmmaker Jonathan Meades.
Other critics featured in the season include the prodigious Raymond Williams who makes a rare television appearance in Where We Live Now: The Country & The City (BBC, 1979). Williams charts the explosive and sometime poetic relationship between Britain’s rural landscapes and the rise of industrial cities. This will be screened alongside Twilight City (C4, 1989) a captivating docudrama exploring London’s social and structural changes in Thatcher’s Britain.
Basil Spence and Patrick Nuttgen examine contentious debates that surround the use of concrete and steel on the steps of the Southbank Centre in Concrete at a Crossroads featuring The Pacemakers: Basil Spence (COI, 1973), Where We Live Now: Architecture for Everyman (BBC, 1982) and Heart by-Pass: Jonatan Meades in Birmingham (BBC, 1998).
The season rounds off with a unique J.G. Ballard double bill which sees the author deconstruct the beauty and menace of motorised society in Transport as Architecture: Ballard to Banham; this event will be introduced by journalist Paul Morely who appears alongside Ballard in The Thing is… Motorways (C4, 1990). In addition to Ballard’s thoughts on the utopian sentiments behind motorways and service stations, Reyner Banham pays tribute to LA and its freeways in Reyner Benham Loves LA (BBC, 1972).
Architecture on TV season at BFI Southbank – Details
SCREENING IN THE SEASON:
Architecture’s Arrival on Screen: Kenneth Clark + intro by Arts Producer John Wyver
Great Temples of the World: Chartres Cathedral
ATV 1965. Prod Alastair Reid. 45min
+ Great Temples of the World: Karnak
ATV 1966. Prod Jon Scoffield. 45min
Before his ground-breaking work on Civilisation (BBC 1969), Kenneth Clark tested out various formulas for presenting the arts on television. In his Great Temples of the World Series, Clark is his usual affable (if reserved) self, and invites the audience along with him as he investigates some of the most celebrated religious sites in the world.
Chartres places the cathedral into the context of its stubbornly modernising town and provides an assessment that doubles as an introduction to Gothic architecture. In Karnak, we’re invited along for a journey that brings Clark’s connoisseur eye to bear on this magisterial, but less familiar, aspect of Ancient Egypt.
THU 9 JUN 18:10 NFT3
Nairn’s Journeys + talk and Q&A with writer and filmmaker Jonathan Meades
Nairn’s Europe: Oxford – Padua
BBC 1970. Prod Barry Bevins. 30min
+ Nairn’s Journeys: Football Towns: Huddersfield and Halifax
BBC 1975. Prod Barry Bevins. 30min
Ian Nairn set out to prove on national television that architecture was more than just structural design – that it was the creation of place, space and identity. These anecdotal documentaries show Nairn communicating this in his typically brilliant and quixotic style. They take viewers around the British Isles and Europe, with Nairn setting his sights on everything from major civic edifices to pubs and markets – witness here his barbed admiration of Oxford’s cloistered colleges and his love affair with the industrial north.
MON 13 JUN 18:20 NFT2
Perspectives on Pevsner + intro by Charles O’Brien and Simon Bradley, current editors of the ‘Pevsner Architectural Guides’
Contrasts: The Buildings of England
BBC 1968. Prod David Cheshire. 30min
+ Good Afternoon
Thames 1973. 10min (extract)
+ Travels with Pevsner: Worcestershire
BBC 1998. Dir Lucy Jago. 50min
Nikolaus Pevsner was the author of the Pevsner Architectural Guides, the essential handbook for any architecture enthusiast. These screenings celebrate his televisual legacy, showing the man at work in a special edition of Contrasts, alongside an episode of Travels with Pevsner, which reveals his influence on a generation of broadcasters – especially Jonathan Meades, who playfully deconstructs the historian’s seriousness.
WED 15 JUN 18:20 NFT2
Cities & Critics + intro by director Mike Dibb
Where We Live Now: The Country & The City
BBC 1979. Dir Mike Dibb. 50min
The prodigious cultural theorist Raymond Williams makes a rare TV appearance charting the exploitative and sometimes poetic relationship between Britain’s rural landscapes and the rise of the industrial city.
+ Twilight City
C4 1989. Dir Reece Auguiste. 50min
The Black Audio Film Collective’s captivating docudrama explores London’s social and structural changes in Thatcher’s London, entwining a fictional émigré narrative with interviews from critics including Paul Gilroy and Homi Bhabha.
WED 22 JUN 20:50 NFT2
Concrete at a Crossroads + intro by Joseph Watson, London Creative Director, National Trust
The Pacemakers: Basil Spence
1973 COI. 14min
+ Where We Live Now: Architecture for Everyman
1982 BBC. Prod Christopher Martin. 50min
+ Heart by-Pass: Jonathan Meades in Birmingham
1998 BBC. Dir David F Turnbull. 29min
Television has often spearheaded the contentious debates that surround the concrete and steel of Britain’s post-war townscapes. Here we can see TV’s contribution in its full range: from the Central Office of Information’s pithy, optimistic profile of Basil Spence and Patrick Nuttgens’ examination of the modern movement from the steps of The Southbank Centre, to Jonathan Meades’ droll reclamation of all things Brum.
SUN 26 JUN 15:10 NFT2
Transport as Architecture: Ballard to Banham + intro by writer and journalist Paul Morley
1971 BBC. Dir Harley Cokeliss. 17min
+ The Thing is… Motorways
1990 C4. Dir Bob Bee. 20min
A Ballard double bill sees the author deconstruct the beauty and menace of a motorised society in Crash! and then pile into a hatchback with Paul Morley to ruminate on the utopian sentiments behind motorways and service stations.
+ Reyner Banham Loves LA
1972 BBC. Dir Julian Cooper. 51min
In a compelling tribute to LA, Reyner Banham contends that the freeway is not only the best way to see architecture, but that it’s architecture itself.
THU 30 JUN 18:15 NFT3
BFI Southbank London
About the BFI
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The BFI Board of Governors is chaired by Josh Berger CBE.
The BFI Southbank is open to all. BFI members are entitled to a discount on all tickets. BFI Southbank Box Office tel: 020 7928 3232. Unless otherwise stated tickets are £11.00, concs £8.50 Members pay £1.50 less on any ticket – www.bfi.org.uk/southbank.
Young people aged 25 and under can buy last minute tickets for just £3, 45 minutes before the start of screenings and events, subject to availability – http://www.bfi.org.uk/25-and-under.
Tickets for FREE screenings and events must be booked in advance by calling the Box Office to avoid disappointment
The BFI Shop is stocked and staffed by BFI experts with over 1,200 book titles and 1,000 DVDs to choose from, including hundreds of acclaimed books and DVDs produced by the BFI.
The benugo bar & kitchen
Eat, drink and be merry in panoramic daylight. benugo’s décor is contemporary, brightly lit and playful with a lounge space, bar and dining area. The place to network, hang out, unpack a film, savour the best of Modern British or sip on a cocktail.
There’s more to discover about film and television through the BFI. Our world-renowned archival collections, cinemas, festivals, films, publications and learning resources are here to inspire you.
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BFI London Imax architect : Avery Associates
Location: BFI, 21 Stephen Street, London W1T 1LN, United Kingdom
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Climbing Great Buildings
Architecture on Television – BBC 2 TV Series, Britain
From St Paul’s Cathedral to Caernarfon Castle, the series had unprecedented access to the finest buildings in the UK. Remarkably, each agreed to take part, even though many were very fragile structures in poor condition. The riggers (industrial rope access firm Wallwalkers) had their work cut out ensuring the climbing team didn’t damage irreplaceable 500-year-old terracotta on a Tudor building or knock bits off gothic sculptures 240ft up Lincoln Cathedral’s central tower.
BBC TV Architecture Show – Climbing Great Buildings
Structures featured on Climbing Great Buildings TV Series
building photo © David Lawson
Website: BBC TV Architecture
British Architecture – Links
Architecture Articles – Selection
Architecture Narrative : article by Trevor Tucker
Sustainable Building Design : article by Trevor Tucker
Sustainable Architecture – Building Issues : article by Adrian Welch
Comments / photos for the Architecture on TV Season at BFI Southbank 2016 page welcome
Website: www.bfi.org.uk + www.southbankcentre.co.uk