Please join us for Tanis Hinchcliffe, from NYU London, for her lecture considering the reactions of English architects to fires deliberately set during the Paris Commune of 1871. It takes place on Tuesday, October 24th from 6:30pm to 8:00pm in Silver 301.
Fire is the enemy of buildings, and recent examples such as the terrifying fire at Grenfell Tower in London, the devastating fire at the Glasgow School of Art and the fire at Notre Dame in Paris, all bear witness to the appalling helplessness a raging fire inspires when it takes hold. There are also incidents where fire becomes symbolic of a new beginning. The Great Fire of London 1666 and the Chicago Fire of 1871, stood at the start of bright new phases in these cities’ histories. The fires deliberately set during the Paris Commune of 1871 provoked many different reactions, none as curious as those of English architects. Two of these, Robert Edis and Richard Phené Spiers went to view the city shortly after the collapse of the Commune and their observations are surprising, and not in accord with other observers. What was going on?
Tanis Hinchcliffe is an architectural and urban historian who has done extensive research on buildings and cities in Britain and France from the eighteenth to the twentieth centuries. Her interest is in the interface between architecture and the general culture which has led to pioneering work on historic suburbs, women’s participation in architecture, and cross-cultural influences in building and design. She has published widely and taught architectural history in schools of architecture, most notably at the University of Westminster. She is currently thesis advisor for the NYU London MA course in Historical and Sustainable Architecture.