Ralph Erskine



If modernity’s reformist commitment never disappeared altogether, it was thanks to figures like Ralph Erskine, whose work was rooted in the profession’s social dimension. Born in London in 1914, when he finished his studies he moved to Sweden. Guided by a leftist ideology to which he remained faithful, he was attracted by the circumstances of a country he considered ideal for putting to practice his integral interpretation of architecture. He aided in the development of its social democratic program through works like Gyttorp (1945-1955) or Brittgarden in Tibro (1959). These and other housing projects (eg, Byker in Newcastle on Tyne, 1969-1981), houses including his own in Drottningholm (1963), and offices like The Ark in Hammersmith (1988-1991) helped forge his reputation as a pioneer of ecological architecture. The bioclimatic content of his projects, which he planned in collaboration with the buildings’ users, earned him awards like the Wolf in 1984 and the RIBA Gold Medal in 1987. He devoted the final years of his coherent career to designing model neighborhoods like the Millennium Village of Greenwich in London.

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