Home > Architecture & Urban Design, Art, Sculpture & Photography, Blog, People, Things I Like..., Videos > Humanity, Quality & Scale. Sir Basil Spence describes his work….

Humanity, Quality & Scale. Sir Basil Spence describes his work….

February 4, 2014 Leave a comment Go to comments

I don’t know how long he spends surfing the net and not doing any work, but my good friend Mr. Wong has unearthed yet another gem…

My favourite architect talking about his wonderful work. Taken from a 1973 film short from a series called “The Pacemakers”, it’s something of a revelation.

The intro graphics alone were well worth finding and seeing, so evocative are they of 1970’s design, all that brown, olive and orange morphing into stylised silhouettes…

As for the film itself… I would so liked to have met Sir Basil. He seems so enthusiastic and earnest about his work, describing in eloquent words and beautiful sketches his belief in all things architectural and the “fire in our bellies” that drives us all… My favourite quote has to be “The illusion that you are still in the country… is ludicrous..” his counter to the critics of his Knightsbridge Barracks tower, and the argument about building near a park, but in the heart a major capital city..

This reminds me that of the many pieces I’ve written about Basil Spence, this one, Sir Basil & the Unknown Print… Part II elicited a rather scathing response from a former employee of his, in which he accused me of making things up and generally bad mouthing the great man. In my initial response, I took umbrage at his attitude and stood my ground. Having now watched this film however, I realise I was speaking out of turn and so I’ve gone back and corrected the tone of that original post, removing any suggestion that Sir Basil was either vain or difficult. The softly spoken, enthusiastic, considered (and let’s face it, rather posh) man in the film is very obviously neither of these things…

One final point to note is at 4.50 minutes, when the work of my friend William Mitchell up at Swiss Cottage gets a few seconds air time…  A beautifully sculptural piece from the early 1960’s that formed the walls of a sun terrace sadly now been destroyed. But that’s another story.

  1. February 4, 2014 at 21:42

    What a gem. You’ve done it again, Mr. Blogs! It’s always a joy to read your posts.

    • February 5, 2014 at 00:14

      Many thanks Bridget.
      Good to see that blue gecko again

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