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Architecture, diplomacy and national identity: Sir Basil Spence and mid-century modernism

Conference at The British School At Rome 

3 - 5 December 2008

This conference, supported by the Paul Mellon Centre and the Arts and Humanities Research Council, considered the use made of classical and Renaissance prototypes and forms by mid-century modernist architects, and compared Spence’s work with that of his teacher Lutyens, and his contemporaries such as Eero Saarinen, Harry Weese and Louis Kahn. The reception of Spence’s Rome Embassy building by architects and critics in Italy, where it was termed ‘una lezione di civilta’ by one writer, was examined, and considered in the light of post-war Italian architecture and attitudes to building in the Eternal City. The conference was organised by Louise Campbell of the University of Warwick, in conjunction with the Paul Mellon Centre and The British School At Rome.


Delegates outside the British Embassy in Rome, December 2008


Exhibition flyer

Conference flyer