Transculturation. Merging and Converging of Architectural Idioms, Energies and Ideals.

Session Chair: Miriam Fitzpatrick

Miriam Fitzpatrick is a lecturer in Architecture at WIT and in Urban Design at UCD. She graduated in Architecture from UCD, holds a Masters from the LSE’s Cities Programme and is currently pursuing a PhD at UCD. She previously worked for international design firms, including Grimshaws and Fielden Clegg Bradley architects in London, Diamond Schmitt Architect in Toronto and Sasaki Associates in Boston. She was a founding member of English Heritage’s Urban Panel and a Board member of The Heritage Council, Ireland. She is writing a biography on Holly Whyte.

In Conversation With Limerick City: Andy Devane and St. Marys Girls Primary School, King’s Island, Limerick City 1951.

Peter Carroll.

A SAUL 2nd Yr student exhibition in 2011 on the construction of St. Mary’s Girls Primary School, King’s Island presented Peter Carroll, Senior Lecturer and his students at SAUL with an opportunity to seek value and recognise quality in the city’s fabric.

This well-disguised school, designed in 1951 by Andy Devane, is not so much a building but rather city fabric. It reinstates streets and spaces both within the school and beyond its limits. It resonates and converses at every level with its context: engaging with the city’s medieval wall; reinforcing an old lane that runs through the school; terminating a street with its entrance; addressing the space of Peter’s Cell; attaching itself to existing stone buildings that form parts of the school. Coupled with this, the school is as much a conversation with the built American work of the architect’s former master, Frank Lloyd Wright under whom he studied at Taliesen West in 1946. This school represents one of the first design commissions Devane received on returning to practice to Ireland from Taliesen West.

The economy of construction evident in the school fabric has great richness. The fairfaced unpainted blockwork has a density and life of its own and almost sparkles when lit by sunshine. Every mortar joint in the stack-bonded blockwork has been meticulously weathered to throw any rain away from the block below. Over-sailing eaves and canopies are elegantly articulated to the thinnest of concrete projections Internally bright colours accentuate windows, doors and rooflights while generous use of terrazzo is employed on stairs and toilet plazas served by central drinking fountains.

This is a school that continues to stand the test of time. Like an integral part of a city’s fabric, you do not notice it. Its architecture is silent. Yet it delights on so many levels in its lively conversation with Limerick City and beyond.

In the context of St. Mary’s Girls School Peter Carroll will discuss the ongoing dialogue that Devane maintained with Limerick City as well as the work of his lifetime master and friend Frank Lloyd Wright.

Transregional Urbanism in Izmir.

Fatma Tanis TU Delft.

Izmir is an important east mediterranean port city located on western coast of Turkey. It has always been a junction of east and west not only from geographical and also from cultural aspects.

Izmir, as a port city, became a crucial commerce center in the beginning of seventeenth century during the Ottoman Era. In order to develop and maintain the trade in Europe, capitulation agreements were signed between the Ottoman Empire and European merchants. Treaty of Kucuk Kaynarca, signed in 1771, gave some privilege to merchants as well. After the agreement for European traders was launched by the Ottoman Empire, merchants from several European countries like Great Britain, The Netherlands, France and Italy settled down in Izmir. Port city thus gained diverse dynamics within multicultural atmosphere. The Ottoman Empire had multinational character. In addition to that this feature enhanced by agreements. Most of the families were living on the waterfront, close to the port facilities. However some of them had farmers in rural areas, which became borough today. In regard to their innate urban practices, it can be thus claimed that european architectural and urban approaches were applied within time. To do so, european companies involved to the process. Enterprises, actors, and their roles will be expressed in the paper in line with cross-culturalism. Whereupon the notions such as clock, banking, insurance system, post office etc. has entered into daily life with port-related urbanism. Consequently, Izmir and Izmirian’s daily routines were influenced by european planning approaches and its effects. This paper basically aims to investigate how a port city had been urbanized in such cross-cultural environment in the history. Scope of the research is exploring how shifting networks have created unique palimpsest of structures and actor networks in case of a port city Izmir.

Displacements: Austrian Architects in New Zealand Exile

Tanja Poppelreuter

In 1939 New Zealand granted refuge to approximately 1100 mostly Jewish refugees who had fled Germany and its neighbouring countries after the events of the so-called ‘Reichskristallnacht’ in November 1938.

Among them were the Austrian architects Heinrich Kulka, Friedrich Neumann and Ernst Anton Plischke. Neumann had been educated in the beaux-arts tradition in Vienna and Paris but had also been working in an architect ‘brigade’ in the USSR from 1932 to 1937. Heinrich Kulka was one of Adolf Loos’ disciples and in 1932 the editor of the first monograph on Loos’ work. Plischke had studied under Peter Behrens and worked for Josef Frank. He was interested in Le Corbusier’s work and applied his ‘Trace Regulateur’ to some of his commissions in Vienna.

The New Zealand Labour Government had, since 1935, focused on the reorganisation of its welfare system and social housing. Neumann and Plischke found work for the Housing Division at the Ministry of Works almost immediately after their arrival; their expertise in social housing and modern building methods might have been a stimulus to offer them employment.

After the National Party replaced the Labour Government in 1949 the political will shifted away from developing a welfare state and towards supporting private business enterprises and private house building was supported over social housing schemes. Subsequently, avant-garde architecture that had been developed in Europe or the United States was now viewed with scepticism. New Zealand architects sought to overcome ‘imported’ styles and wished to develop a distinctive national style instead.

The European refugee architects were now representatives of an architectural movement that was being superseded. They had been respected as first-hand witnesses to the development of modernism during the 1940s and early 50s but as refugees their expertise was not no longer drawn upon in the development of a New Zealand specific modernism during the late 1950s and 1960s. This paper investigates the ways in which three Austrian architects adapted, negotiated and responded to this challenging situation.