New Palladians Exhibition, Architecture Tradition, Buildings, Robert Adam Architect

New Palladians Exhibition London

Prince’s Foundation Gallery Show, London, England, UK

1 Sep 2008

New Palladians Exhibition

Robert Adam calls for a ‘new modernity’

Prince’s Foundation Gallery Exhibition

In a speech to be delivered at the opening of the New Palladians exhibition in London on 2nd September 2008 Robert Adam will use the 500th anniversary of Andrea Palladio’s birth to call for action and change.

Address: Prince’s Foundation Gallery, 19-22 Charlotte Rd, London EC2A 3SG

Phone: 020 7613 8500

Location: just north east of Old Street tube station

New Palladians Exhibition
New Palladian design by Nigel Anderson

Robert Adam will say “This is the moment to cast off prejudice against tradition, to understand the values of traditions and carry them forward to a new modernity. Palladio’s works are truly sustainable – they are still popular and relevant today. We can take this memory forward to a better future. Now is the time for change. Now is the time for action.”

Adam will tell the audience that “change is in the air” as 15 years of economic stability ends and the UK government is on the brink of change. “It is at times like this that the old certainties are overturned and the actions of a few really can make a difference”.

New Palladians Exhibition London
New Palladian design by Hugh Petter

The Traditional Architecture Group (TAG) and The Prince’s Foundation for the Built Environment have brought together new work by leading exponents of contemporary traditional and classical architecture for this exhibition. The collected work demonstrates that traditional and classical architecture are an international force in the built environment. Four Robert Adam Architects directors are showing designs which range from steel capitals to office buildings. (see selection of images at foot).

Prince's Foundation Gallery Show
New Palladian design by George Saumarez Smith

Speaking at the same event on behalf of The Prince’s Foundation, Hank Dittmar will emphasise the importance of building on Palladio’s legacy:-
“It is … vital that we capture the spirit and essence of [Palladio’s] legacy and use his wisdom to shape our own environment. This will in turn allow us to build buildings that endure and create towns, cities and places that inspire future generations who may cast a critical eye on the legacy we leave behind.”

Alireza Sagharchi, Secretary of TAG who co-curated the exhibition, will expand on this view saying:-
“The architecture of The New Palladians is inventive, innovative and part of a continuum, but always and fundamentally inseparable from the fabric of a tradition that itself is thoroughly alive and very changeable.”

Prince's Foundation Gallery exhibition
New Palladian design by Robert Adam

The exhibition is taking place at the Prince’s Foundation Gallery, 19 – 22 Charlotte Road, London EC2A 3SG from Wednesday 3rd September to Saturday 20th September. Entrance is free.

Robert Adam Architects

Andrea Palladio Architecture Exhibition @ Royal Academy of Arts by Eric Parry

Palladio Talk

Robert Adam’s Palladio Speech in full


Palladio’s 500th birthday comes at an interesting time. Change is in the air. When politics and economics change, social and cultural change usually follows. Fifteen years of economic stability has ended. The UK government is likely to change in the next year or so. The French and Italian governments have just changed and the US presidential elections are coming up. Change is in the air and it’s at times like this that old certainties are overturned. The actions of a few really can make a difference.

For more than half a century architecture and art have been set against continuity and tradition. Eighty years ago there was a reaction against nineteenth century thinking, against the establishment responsible for the First World War and against the rise of Fascism. The resultant ideology, Modernism, sought revolution in aesthetics and society, purity in technological advance and made deviation and difference its guiding lights.

When Fascism was defeated and technology seemed invincible, Modernism became the establishment. In the following sixty years, the results were at times exciting but too often were deeply damaging. The constant search for novelty and aesthetic innovation is, in the end, self-defeating. Now Modernism feeds off its own history and has created new set of traditions – but these are traditions alien to the public and exclusive to the design professions.

With the new pressures of globalisation and climate change, the time has come to look again at an artistic and architectural philosophy that belongs to an historic period of revolution and cheap energy. It’s time to look again at one of the defining principles of Modernism: the denial of tradition. Social studies have shown the importance of tradition in collective memory and identity. Globalisation highlights the need to counteract the deadening effects of uniform modernity. Research into sustainability has proved that building technologies and types of the pre-Modernist period, at a time when energy was expensive, are relevant today.

This is the moment to cast off prejudice against tradition, to understand the values of traditions and carry them forward to a new modernity. Palladio’s works are truly sustainable – they have lasted nearly 500 years, they are still popular, and they are relevant today. We, here, can take this memory forward to a better future. Now is the time for change. Now is the time for action.

Robert Adam, August 2008

Prince’s Foundation Gallery
19-22 Charlotte Road
City of London EC2A 3SG

Location: 19-22 Charlotte Road, London, EC2A 3SG, England, UK

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