Talks at Veretec
Review of Mapping London
Architectural Research Quarterly 2010
Sala Martins Penna
Teatro Nacional Cláudio Santoro
19-20 April 2005
Canberra / Brasília
Canberra Contemporary Art Space [Canberra: CASC 2001]
Herzog & deMeuron
Issues in Architecture Art & Design
vol. 3 no. 2 [University of East London 1994]
The History of Construction, Veretec
Talks at Veretec
Thomas Deckker was appointed Senior Architect at Veretec, a multiple award winning executive architectural practice, in 2021. Following the commission to execute the renovation of a the Army and Navy Warehouse in Greycoat Place, London SW1, originally designed by Sir Reginald Blomfield, Thomas Deckker was asked to present some talks on the history of construction. These talks expanded to include his special subject, Brasilia.
Jean-Nicolas-Louis Durand: Recueil et parallèle des édifices de tout genre
Iron and Clinker
Modern building construction sprang from 2 sources: on the practical side, mill buildings - a combination of heavy masonry walls, cast iron columns, wrought iron beams, and masonry jack arches, that developed in textile mills mainly in the Derwent Valley in England, and the theoretical abstractions of Jean-Nicolas-Louis Durand, head of the École Polytechnique in Paris. In Précis des leçons d'Architecture données à l'École Polytechnique
(Paris 1800), Durand was the first architect to design using a combination of structural and planning grids, and illustrated designs for buildings as combinations of functional units in both plan and elevation. These 2 strands were exemplified in the work of Henri Labrouste and Karl Friedrich Schinkel
. Labrouste can be considered the first modern architect in France, superseding architects like Claude-Nicolas Ledoux
. Schinkel was brought up with the rationality of Durand but sent as a spy to England in 1826 to record mill buildings for future use in the industrialising Prussian state.
Wallace K. Harrison & J. Andre Fouilhoux / Henry Dreyfuss: Democracity
New York Worlds Fair 1939
This talk was based on the latest research into Brasilia, which showed its allegiance to political and architectural ideals stemming from the New Deal in the United States in the preceding 2 decades.
Flavian Amphitheatre, Rome (70-80 AD)
photo © Thomas Deckker 1984
Concrete and Stone
The development of waterproof concrete in Imperial Rome allowed architects to make buildings of exceptional size and spatial complexity. The knowledge of making pozzolano concrete died out with the fall of Rome, never to be revived. During the phases which, by leaps and bounds, architecture was reborn in Europe - the Carolingian Renaissance of the 800s and the development of Norman Romanesque in the 1000s, masons at first tried to reproduce the forms of Roman buildings in stone but later, in the flowering of Gothic around 1200, finally broke free from this aesthetic preference and created more structurally appropriate forms. When architects replaced masons in the Italian Renaissance of the 1400s, and returned to Roman aesthetics, the cutting of stone passed from a vernacular practice to the science of stereotomy. Stereotomy gave architects the mathematical tools for integrating buildings and landscape, exemplified by the military engineer Sébastien Le Prestre de Vauban
The Garden of Edzell Castle
photograph © Thomas Deckker 2014
Thomas Deckker presented a talk on Edzell Castle
, based on an article he had published in the Journal of the Garden History Society
. The renaissance garden at Edzell was a witness to, and emblem of, the cultural changes in Scotland in the late 16th century:
David Lindsay's garden at Edzell Castle was part of a larger enterprise of novel and sophisticated ideas - on architecture, gardening, cooking, hygiene and even mining - that transformed Scottish culture at the end of the sixteenth century. Scottish nobles looked, for a cultural model, to their peers in France, especially the Loire Valley and the Île-de-France, where a distinctively French culture had emerged among a new class of educated nobles, courtiers and administrators earlier in the century; they mixed a progressive development of the arts of civilisation with symbolic forms derived from the feudal past, to emphasise their - in many cases mythical - lineage.