The Neo-Georgian architecture of Sir Edwin Landseer Lutyens (1869-1944)
Prater, Robin Hensley
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This thesis focuses on the methodologies evidenced in Edwin Lutyens’s Neo-Georgian architecture informing design dimensions of context, form, ornament, and planning, assessing the significance of these projects within his overall body of work, and in the context of contemporaries working in the aesthetic. Rooted in the English vernacular, the Neo-Georgian work is positioned at a crucial point of inflection between Lutyens’s Arts and Crafts designs and his Neo-Classicism. A dichotomy of interpretation of Lutyens’s architecture emerged after his death in 1994, and is addressed in this study. Praised by his contemporaries as one of England’s greatest architects, dismissed by pioneer Modernists as out of sync with the “spirit of the age,” and rediscovered by post-modern architects and historians, Lutyens’s architecture reflects a complexity and diversity well worthy of in-depth study. In ways comparable to Italian Mannerism’s relationship to the Renaissance, Lutyens’s Neo-Georgian was part of what has been termed “Free Classicism,” an architecture drawing upon historical precedent to establish a connection with the past while reinforcing the elements of the design in a manner that imparts new meaning to the whole. Transcending issues of style, Lutyens’s Neo-Georgian architecture holds valuable lessons for the practitioner regarding the use of precedent without historicism, the value and role of symmetry and proportion, and the relationships and reconciliation among interior planning, exterior elevations, and garden design. The Neo-Georgian work of Edwin Lutyens, with its breadth of expression, stands on its own as a valuable contribution to architectural form and function.