Peter Smithson



As he left his studio on 3 March, Peter Smithson suffered a collapse that put an end to a career inseparable from that of his wife Alison, who passed away in 1993. The couple’s scarce oeuvre – from Hunstanton School (1949-1954), to the headquarters of The Economist (1959-1964), probably their best work – is as influential today as their unbuilt projects, among which are the cathedral of Coventry (1951), the social dwellings Golden Lane (1954) and the extension of the University of Sheffield (1953). But above architecture, which they tried to give a human countenance, the Smithsons were interested in the city and were in the center of all cultural debates: with the Independent Group they participated in the exhibition ‘This is Tomorrow’ (1958), that impulsed pop art; and from the CIAM and the Team 10 they articulated their critical position toward the rhetoric of the Modern Movement. Author with Alison of books such as Ordinariness and Light (1970) and Without Rhetoric (1973), Peter Smithson was also a charismatic professor (at the Architectural Association and Bath) and gave classes and lectures around the world.

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