William Vose Pickett’s celebration of an imagined architecture - The failure of invention without representation

Guedes, P. (2005). William Vose Pickett’s celebration of an imagined architecture - The failure of invention without representation. In: Andrew Leach and Gill Matthewson, Celebration: Proceedings of the 22nd Annual Conference of the Society of Architectural Historians Australia and New Zealand, Napier, New Zealand, 24-27 September 2005. Celebration: The 22nd annual conference of the Society of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand, Napier, New Zealand, (147-153). 24-27 September 2005.

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Author Guedes, P.
Title of paper William Vose Pickett’s celebration of an imagined architecture - The failure of invention without representation
Conference name Celebration: The 22nd annual conference of the Society of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand
Conference location Napier, New Zealand
Conference dates 24-27 September 2005
Proceedings title Celebration: Proceedings of the 22nd Annual Conference of the Society of Architectural Historians Australia and New Zealand, Napier, New Zealand, 24-27 September 2005
Place of Publication Napier, New Zealand
Publisher Society of Architectural Historians Australia and New Zealand
Publication Year 2005
Year available 2005
Sub-type Fully published paper
ISBN 0-473-10349-4
Editor Andrew Leach
Gill Matthewson
Start page 147
End page 153
Total pages 7
Language eng
Formatted Abstract/Summary
William Vose Pickett dreamt of an entirely fresh architecture based on the use of metals. Over 20 years, starting in the 1840s, he disseminated his ideas, enthusing about an architecture based on industrial production with the whole globe as its potential market. It was to be an architecture based on curved lines, skeleton construction, suspension systems for support. It would exploit the aesthetic possibilities of perforated and woven materials casting ever-changing shadows on layers of shimmering, reflective surfaces.

Pickett was confident of the aesthetic power of a set of basic principles guiding his unique ideas. His detailed vision anticipated many of the preoccupations of designers more than a century later. Despite clarity of insight and a clear intellectual understanding of a promising Metallurgic Architecture appropriate for the industrial age, Pickett was unable to fix his designs with seductive images. He could not make persuasive drawings of what he so clearly saw and was able to describe in words. He could not extract the forms clearly held in his literary imagination. This paper explores invention and design, proposing that they may be distinct ways of thinking,
one reflective, the other active and specific. Pickett imagined and wrote Architecture. Using a musical analogy – no one rose to the occasion to play it in detail, to perform it in drawing or indeed in matter. His Architecture was never built.
Subjects 1201 Architecture
2103 Historical Studies
Keyword Modern architecture
19th Century Architecture
iron architecture
Aesthetics
design
William Vose Pickett
Q-Index Code E1

 
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Created: Fri, 14 Dec 2007, 10:11:08 EST by Laura McTaggart on behalf of Research Management Office