Coventry Cathedral: Art and Architecture in Post-War Britain

By Louise Campbell | Go to book overview

Conclusion

The Architect and his Times

IN retrospect, Spence was to be fairly critical of the completed cathedral building, acknowledging that it looked as if it had been designed in three stages.1 He pointed out that the cathedral was completed in a context markedly different from that in which it was begun. 'If I could build Coventry again I wouldn't build it in the same way. The mood is different now: there's not the same emotional intensity.'2

During the eleven years between competition and the consecration architectural attitudes changed very fast. The late 1950s saw the end of the gentle pragmatic modernism of the immediate post-war period, with its interest in decoration, in the use of natural facing materials, and in picturesquely informal planning. Although the juxtaposition of the ruins and the new cathedral proposed by Spence was not a device of which every architect in 1951 approved, it was well suited to the mood of the period. By 1958, this kind of approach had come to seem both romantic and unadventurous when compared with George Pace's scheme for St Marks' church Sheffield, shown at that year's Royal Academy exhibition, in which a hexagonal new church--its roof supported on two spectacularly cantilevered concrete arms-- was fused with the tower and porch of its bombed predecessor (Plate 185). The buildings of the early 1950s, by their lack of assertiveness, seem to have provoked a younger generation into intransigence and extremism. Casson and Conder's design for the Arts Faculty complex at Cambridge ( 1953-9), in which libraries and teaching buildings were arranged around a sunken water square, linked by covered ways and paved walks, with changes of level and materials used to articulate different zones, appeared eclectic and bland to critics in the 1960s

____________________
1
'Some people objected that it might have been designed by three architects. Well it was three architects. I designed the main building in 1950, but other parts in 1956 and 1958.' P. Lewis, "'The Very Model of a Monumental O.M.'", Queen, 221 ( 1962), 6. Interestingly, a decade later, Spence had a different perspective on the cathedral, and said in retrospect he would have made the design simpler, broader, and less detailed. "'Artist Who Still Faults his Masterpiece'", Coventry Evening Telegraph, supplement ( 24 May 1972), 8.
2
Cardiff Evening Mail ( 5 Feb. 1965).

-254-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Coventry Cathedral: Art and Architecture in Post-War Britain
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS v
  • Contents vii
  • List of Color Plates ix
  • LIST OF BLACK AND WHITE PLATES xi
  • Abbreviations xix
  • Introduction 1
  • Part I. Architecture and Politics 5
  • 1 The Cathedral and the City: The Blitz, Civic Ideology And Reconstruction 7
  • 2 The Cathedral Project 1940-1947 22
  • 3 'towards a New Cathedral'? 37
  • Part II. The Creative Process 69
  • 4 Modernism and Tradition: The Genesis of Spence's Competition Design 71
  • 5 The Competition Design Refined, 1951-1954 81
  • 6 The Architect and the Artist 102
  • Part III. Design into Building 131
  • 7 The Licence to Build, 1954 133
  • 8 The Turning-Point, 1954-1956 141
  • 9 The Design Recast, 1956-1958 148
  • Pa IV. For and Function 193
  • 10 The Modern Church 195
  • 11 Provost and Architect 206
  • 12 The Cathedral Completed, 1960-1962 216
  • 13 The Cathedral and the Post-War World: Austerity and Triumphalism 243
  • Conclusion 254
  • APPENDIX: DONATIONS 276
  • Bibliography 278
  • Index 283
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
/ 290

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.