28 November

Renée Tobe: Creating an Urban Pattern from Opposites

A session, part of the series of talks on “The Living Memory of Cities”, convened on 28 November 2022 in a collaboration with Eric Parry Architects and the Centre for Urban and Built Ecologies (CUBE), London Metropolitan University. With a keynote presentation by Renée Tobe entitled “Creating an Urban Pattern From Opposites, Recollection, Similarity, Harmony, and Composites”:

00:00:00 José de Paiva
00:02:13 Matthew Barac
00:03:11 Eric Parry
00:03:35 Renée Tobe – Keynote presentation
00:47:38 Matthew Barac
00:54:45 José de Paiva
01:01:35 Matthew Barac
01:07:42 José de Paiva
01:09:28 Tracey Winton
01:13:47 Eric Parry

I look at architecture in film, and here at a particular film, Peter Greenaway’s Belly of an Architect, and at a particular place, Rome, in which the film is set. The film itself is a handbag of monuments loosely held together with a plot that pits neoclassical rationality against classical imperialism. An American architect, Stourly Kraklite comes to Rome to make an exhibition of French neoclassical visionary architect, Étienne-Louis Boullée at the somewhat neoclassical and entirely eclectic Vittoriano. This talk presents a series of vedute, maps and postcards of some of the monuments of Rome, using the Greenaway film as a premise to explore the city. Rome becomes scrittore, regista e attore of itself. Renée Tobe was Paul Mellon Research Fellow at the British School at Rome in 2018. Her publications include Film, Architecture and Spatial Imagination (Routledge, 2017). She began as a practicing architect and maintains a connection to the practice of Architecture. While her earlier research investigates how we perceive, imagine, and visualise the solidity of architecture whether in the fluidity of film, or through the merest suggestion of form, her current work moves out of the ‘room’, the ‘home’ and the ‘house’ into the city, looking at how we occupy cities, and the diversity of the cities we construct for ourselves. Political, social, and economic structures form part of this debate. She is currently writing Plato for Architects for the Routledge Thinkers in Architecture series.