Chris Wilkinson

I went to a talk that Chris Wilkinson gave to coincide with the publication of his book Drawing what I See – drawings which he has made during his travels and which, as he described, help him to focus on the characteristics of buildings and their settings.

He was dismissive of his training at Oxford Polytechnic, which was obviously traditionally craft oriented, as much about the rudiments of plumbing as design, and spoke eloquently about the impact of a talk by Richard Rogers in which Rogers produced all the mechanical accoutrements of construction as if out of a dressing up box.

Much of the presentation was about the particularities of every project he has been involved with, including his beautiful conservation and presentation of the Mary Rose, his work over a long period for James Dyson, the Media City footbridge in Salford, his design of apartments in the gas holders north of King’s Cross, and, most recently, his work on the elegant One Bangaroo in Sydney.

The argument was that every project was different, but, as was pointed out in the discussion, every project shares an aesthetic clarity and authority in the way it solves the technical and engineering problems in the brief.


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