Mark Wilkinson

Senior Architectural Technologist

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why architecture...

Lego, Meccano, papier mache, then the entire contents of a garage (apart from the car) and garden shed emptied onto a summer lawn and assembled into dens, vehicles, random structures. An early preoccupation with making things was somewhat overtaken by books and music in my teenage years and academic study at a school that fairly rigorously separated the arts and sciences such that by the time I needed to choose a career I was a mathematician, physicist, chemist. However a purely academic course did not really appeal and thoughts of making things came to the fore again so I found myself in Leicester and in James Stirling's Engineering Building. It soon became clear that the general engineering course was not quite ticking all the boxes and that just being in that building on a daily basis, despite the leaks and draughts, was of greater interest. The clarity of the organisation of lecture theatre, laboratory, workshop and office spaces; the structural gymnastics; the variety of arrangements of glazing; the geometry of the workshop roofs were fascinating and reminding me of the similar and related thoughts and feelings I'd had when moving from looking at a books on Nervi and Prouve to books on the slightly less obviously engineered work of Le Corbusier, Mies, Wright.

 

The lines, patterns & rhythms in plans, sections and elevations echoed those in mathematics - Le Corbusier's Modular Man following on from Leonardo's Vitruvian but tying in the Fibonacci Sequence and Golden Ratio with ergonomics was a revelation - and music - Goethe's "Music is liquid architecture; architecture is frozen music" struck a particular chord.

To cut a long story short a slight change of direction was required to find a role in the process of combining the firmness the commodity and the delight. 

firmness, commodity and delight
— Vitruvius trans. Wotton

Kettle's Yard Detail – line, form, colour, rhythm, pattern, texture... - 1
Citroen CX – beyond engineering - 2
Leicester Engineering Building - 3