Albert Richardson

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Sir Albert Edward Richardson
Born (1880-05-19)19 May 1880
London
Died 3 February 1964(1964-02-03) (aged 83)
Ampthill, Bedfordshire
Awards Royal Gold Medal for Architecture, 1947; President of the Royal Academy, 1954; Knighted, 1956
Practice Richardson & Gill;
Projects Monumental Classic Architecture in Great Britain and Ireland (1914)

Sir Albert Edward Richardson K.C.V.O., F.R.I.B.A, F.S.A., (London, 19 May 1880 – 3 February 1964) was a leading English architect, teacher and writer about architecture during the first half of the 20th century. He was Professor of Architecture at University College London, a President of the Royal Academy, editor of Architects’ Journal and founder of the Georgian Group.

Life and work[edit]

Richardson was born in London. He trained in the offices of Leonard Stokes and Frank T. Verity, practitioners of the Beaux-Arts style, and in 1906 he established his first architectural practice, in partnership with Charles Lovett Gill (the Richardson & Gill partnership was eventually dissolved in 1939).

He wrote several articles for Architectural Review and the survey of London Houses from 1660 to 1820: a Consideration of their Architecture and Detail (1911). In the following year he was appointed architect to the Prince of Wales's Duchy of Cornwall Estate. His massive work, Monumental Classic Architecture in Great Britain and Ireland (1914) established him as a scholar; in it he reappraised the Greek Revival architects C.R. Cockerell and Henri Labrouste.

In his own work he was strongly influenced by nostalgia for the craftsmanship of the late Georgian era and the pared-down Neoclassicism of Sir John Soane in particular, but he recognised that his classical ideals needed to be developed to meet the challenges of Modernism. The result was a synthesis of traditional and modern approaches which was adapted and applied to industrial and commercial buildings, churches and houses. His deep knowledge of and sympathy towards Georgian design also helped him in numerous post-war commissions to restore bomb-damaged Georgian buildings. Ironically, several of his designs – most notably, Bracken House in the City of London, the first post-war London building to be listed and protected from redevelopment – are now regarded as classic milestones of 20th century design.

He was awarded the Royal Gold Medal for Architecture in 1947 and was elected President of the Royal Academy in 1954; he was knighted in 1956.

From 1919 until his death in 1964, Richardson lived at Avenue House, 20 Church Street, Ampthill, Bedfordshire, an 18th-century townhouse in which he initially refused to install electricity, believing that his home needed to reflect Georgian standards of living if he was truly to understand their way of life, though he was later convinced to change his mind by his wife, Elizabeth Byers (March 1882 – 1958), whom he had married in 1904. They had one daughter.

Projects[edit]

Manchester Opera House

Books[edit]

All published at London except where noted.

  • London Houses from 1660 to 1820: a Consideration of their Architecture and Detail (1911)
  • Monumental Classic: Architecture in Great Britain and Ireland (1914; reprinted 2001)
  • Regional Architecture of the West of England. (1924)
  • The Old Inns of England (1935;reprinted 1967)
  • The Significance of the Fine Arts (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1955)
  • The Art of Architecture (New York: Philosophical Library, 1956)

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Assembly Rooms". National Heritage List for England. English Heritage. Retrieved 14 December 2013. 


Cultural offices
Preceded by
Sir Gerald Kelly
President of the Royal Academy
1954–1956
Succeeded by
Charles Wheeler