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Title: Committees and concrete : the genesis and architecture of Denys Lasdun's National Theatre
Author: Calder, Barnabas William Luke
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2007
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This thesis looks at the genesis of one of Britain’s most important post-war public buildings, and analyses its architecture. Part I offers a brief account of the campaign for a National Theatre from the nineteenth century onwards, and describes the struggle to obtain the funds to start construction and thereafter to complete it. It then examines the process by which Denys Lasdun and Partners were appointed, and discuses Lasdun’s charismatic gifts in winning clients. Part II traces the protracted committee and individual consultations which provided the architects with their brief. The building was shaped by discussions of avant-garde theatre forms which took place 1963-66. The process, and the built outcome, were also affected by the stormy rows that blew up in the Building Committee – which included among its members Laurence Olivier, Peter Hall, Peter Brook and Kenneth Tynan – and by the Committee’s periodic clashes with Lasdun. Part III looks at the architectural expression given to the functional skeleton drawn up with the Building Committee. It describes the creative process within Lasdun’s office, and examines the effects on the architecture of Lasdun’s unusual design methods. The National Theatre is placed in its architectural context nationally and internationally, as well as within Lasdun’s career. Following this analysis of the designs, the building process is discussed. The thesis ends with a chapter assessing the reception of the finished theatre, which ranged from the very favourable to the very hostile.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available