|Architecture students, who spend many nights in the Architecture lab, were eager to listen and learn from by Britton’s story very seriously. Brian Izzo | The Informerbruary 21 2012|
The University of Hartford Department of Architecture invited Britton to speak to their students for the second lecture in their spring semester lecture series. The lecture was held in Wilde Auditorium.
Britton received her doctorate from Harvard University. Her studies focus mostly on the relationship between religion and modern architecture, and contemporary works.
As she began her lecture Britton said, “Put your history caps on and stick with me for a bit.”
The title of Britton’s lecture was called The Mystery of Clarity: Classicism and Modernity. The point of the lecture was to disprove that classicism and modernity are two different systems of work, and that the works are actually quite intertwined.
Britton mentioned how the acropolis was influential for architects in the 20th Century. She said, “Classicism is not a style… but also very much a frame of mind.”
Students seemed very engaged, and some even took notes while she continued the lecture and spoke about Le Corbusier.
The lecture included his idea of how proportional systems were connected with the experience of ancient forms, and that tradition was looked at as extremely important.
She went on to talk about his idea that transmission is tradition’s real meaning, and said Le Corbusier had a fascination with the “past’s recurrent present.”
Britton went on to lecture about the architect, Perret, who she said, “Set out a professional model for working that a lot of young architects turned to.”
His idea of the window was important, and he believed that the French window was a frame for the human body.
Three buildings Britton discussed were very innovative for the time they were built in the early 1900’s. The first Domino House was built with columns and horizontal slabs.
The Champs-Elysees Theater was known to be a philharmonic palace that used the idea of a concrete frame for construction.
Britton shared an interesting fact about the theater; Stravinsky’s Right of Spring premiered in the building in 1913.
The third building, a recital hall in Paris, was known as an acoustical success.
This building also was able to accomplish such great architecture with concrete cantilevers, even though it was built in a steep space.
To get back to the lecture title, what exactly is the mystery of clarity? Britton quoted Paul Valery, who said, “What is there more mysterious than clarity?”
This architect believed that architecture could teach us something true of the world, and was philosophical about his work. Valery thought that architecture should be mathematical and cerebral.