Joseph Rykwert

Since it is now far too hot to do anything other than sit in the sun and read, I have spent the morning reading Joseph Rykwert’s recently published intellectual autobiography, Remembering Places, which provides a fascinating account of his upbringing in prosperous, middle class, Jewish Warsaw, before escaping, but only just, on the outbreak of war and travelling via Lithuania, Latvia, Stockholm and Amsterdam, to London, where his father had an office in Bush House and kept a motor car (a Buick).   He was then sent, improbably, to Charterhouse, half trained as an architect under Albert Richardson at the Bartlett, then stationed in Cambridge, transferred to the Architectural Association, and found his spiritual home in the library of the Warburg Institute, which was still in the old Imperial Institute in South Kensington.   After the war he embarked on a study of Italian architecture, never completed, before transferring to the translation of Alberti’s Ten Books of Architecture, published in 1955, and to the analysis of the origins of Italian towns, which appeared, in 1963, as The Idea of a Town.   His book gives the best possible description of the life of a post-war, Soho intellectual and the free-ranging development of his architectural interests.

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2 thoughts on “Joseph Rykwert

  1. Edward Chaney says:

    Rykwert’s First Moderns (1980) is the the work i found most useful (as did Frances Yates?), not least for its recognition of George Berkeley’s architectural connoisseurship, the result of one of the most extensive Italian tours of the 18th century…

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