The exhibition of FLORIAN BEIGEL & PHILIP CHRISTOU, a dream of innocence, at the Betts Project – 7 Architects in Practice. Posted on March. The architect and educator Florian Beigel has died aged Tributes have been pouring in for the founder and director of the Architecture. Biography. Florian Beigel in partnership with Philip Christou practice, teach and research architecture. Florian Beigel is the director of the Architecture Research.
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Florian Beigel, who has died aged 76, was a hugely influential architect and teacher. For more than 40 years, Architecture Research Unit, his studio at the Polytechnic of North London now London Metropolitan Universityeducated successive generations of architects both directly and vicariously, through his compelling lectures, writings and drawings, its numerous, beautiful publications, and a small but important body of built work.
A significant influence on many well-known practitioners, in the UK and internationally, ARU was also instrumental in transforming its host institution from a rather minor London architecture school into an internationally respected one.
He found the city in which he was to live for the rest of his life animated at that moment by both student protest and Beatlemania — an intoxicating mix of politics and pleasure.
Radically cosmopolitan, it represented for this idealistic young architect a place to avoid the inevitable limitations of conventional practice, and to search instead for new ways to think about florin experience the world.
However, it was an appointment into teach at the Polytechnic of North London that provided him with the physical and intellectual space to properly address his ambitions.
Florian Beigel obituary | Art and design | The Guardian
He was made professor of architecture there in ARU was established following the design and construction of a series of innovative, widely published grid-shell structures with students. Conceived as a single environment in which thinking and doing were inseparable, the unit, with its synthesis of studying, drawing, making and building as a continuous process, was to revolutionise the ways in which architecture was thought about and taught.
However, as he pointed out in his acceptance speech, Florian wished first and foremost to be considered an architect; this was the passion that underpinned everything he did. Inwhile still a student, Florian had designed a prefabricated house in Biberach for his mother, which was erected in one day and is still occupied by his sister, Elisabeth.
However, with ARU the pace slowed, and he went on to realise beigfl a small number of built works. The first important project was the Half Moon theatre in east London, during which Florian was joined by his partner and long-term collaborator, Philip Christou. In London this was largely confined to a series of elegant interiors; intimate micro-urbanisms that he considered analogous to the more substantial work ARU was able to engage in elsewhere.
They were followed by a series of competition wins between andwhich proposed the transformation of large-scale former industrial sites in Berlin and eastern Germany. Although a few of these projects were only partially realised, their conception of context, time and the power of the void as tools for architecture became highly influential.
These projects also laid the foundations for a more consolidated body of work in South Koreawhere in ARU designed Paju Book City, which was devoted to the editing, publishing, printing and distribution of books.
It was a fully realised landscape infrastructure, within which ARU also constructed three fascinating buildings, Youlhwadang and Positive Thinking publishing houses, and Youlhwadang Book Hall.
Their distinctive characters also demonstrated a move towards figurative architecture. Through this body of work, Florian questioned traditional hierarchies of large and small, and the usual distinctions between history and modernity.
Landscapes were conceived as rooms and rooms were invested with the potential of landscape or city, within which traces of past, present and potential futures were overlaid. His ideas culminated in the proposal for Seamangeum, a new coastal city in South Korea, conceived as a series of constructed islands rather like Venice, each with its own beigdl form and character.
Florian Beigel obituary
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