Associate Professor Lydia Soo awarded Senior Fellowship from the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art
Associate Professor Lydia M. Soo has received a Senior Fellowship from the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art. This fellowship enables her to complete her book manuscript, entitled “The Places and Spaces of Architectural Discourse in Restoration London,” during the fall term 2011, conducting research and writing at the Centre located on Bedford Square in London, England.
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Synopsis of the book:
In the absence of an English equivalent for the Académie royale d'architecture in Paris, where in late 17th century London did architectural discourse, which generated the ideas behind the innovative designs created after the Stuart restoration (1660) and the Great Fire (1666), take place? Using Robert Hooke's diary, the maps of Ogilby (1676) and Morgan (1682) as well as a wide range of other textual and visual sources, the book reconstructs where speculations about architectural theory and practice were carried out — in a variety of locations and places, public and private as well as institutional and commercial. These venues ranged, for example, from the Royal Society, the first English scientific organization, to numerous coffee houses, book shops, and artisans' workshops scattered about the city. The book demonstrates that London did not have anything like the French academy of architecture, with a prescribed agenda and meeting place. Instead discourse on architecture took place informally within a decentralized network of spaces but also paths, located across Restoration London — a great laboratory of excavation and discovery as well as rebuilding and expansion, fueling and fueled by the architectural ideas of Sir Christopher Wren, Hooke, and many others who participated in the conversation.