Libby Raper & Charles Jencks – The Iconic Building and Cosmic Art: The Search for a Meaningful and Shared Language in the City

Libby Raper: Executive Director of Culture Northwest

Culture Northwest was a thinking, networking and advocacy organization and was established in 2000 by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) as one of eight Cultural Consortiums in each of the English regions outside London. The then Chair of Culture Northwest was Loyd Grossman, who was also Chairman of the judges for the Gulbenkian Prize in 2004 which awarded the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art as Museum of the Year, and commended its Charles Jenck’s designed Landform garden as an “inspirational, beautiful project”.

Charles Jencks: Architectural Historian, Writer and Designer

Charles Jencks is known for his books questioning Modern architecture and defining its successors – Late, Neo and Post-Modern architecture. Born in Baltimore in 1939, he studied under the Modern architectural historians Siegfried Giedon and Reyner Banham. He now divides his time between lecturing, writing and garden and sculpture design projects in UK, Europe & USA. Over the years, he has lectured at over 40 universities and public museums throughout the world. He has appeared on many television programmes in the USA and UK, and has written two feature films for the BBC (on Le Corbusier and on Frank Lloyd Wright and Michael Graves). Most recent UK programmes he has appeared in include the Opening of Scottish Parliament for BBC Scotland in 2004; and with Melvyn Bragg on The South Bank Show in 2005.

Charles Jencks writes on cosmogenic art, and is also the author of many articles in professional journals (Architectural Forum, Architecture Review, Domus, A&U, AD and many other popular magazines). He has been an occasional contributor to many other newspapers and publications, such as London Sunday TimesMagazine, Encounter, Times Literary Supplement, The Observer, The Independent, Prometheus etc. He is an editorial consultant with Architectural Design and an editor with Academy Editions, London.

As a designer and artist, Charles Jencks is well known for the design of his Garden of Cosmic Speculation at Portrack in Scotland. He also designed the Landform garden at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art in Edinburgh, which won the Gulbenkian Prize for Museum of the Year in 2004.

His talk combined ideas from his latest book ‘The Iconic Building, Power of the Enigma’ with his design work published in ‘The Garden of Cosmic Speculation’.