Via triumphalis redux: The Nash Route today
Saturday 29 July 2017 9.30 am to 3.30pm
Two centuries ago this year, construction had just begun on John Nash’s triumphal way through central London connecting the Prince Regent’s palace near the Mall to an idyllic park more than a mile to the north. This processional route’s smart new roads, including Regent Street and Park Crescent, elegant junctions such as Piccadilly and Oxford Circuses and graceful changes of direction were a sensation at the time and remain one of the great moments in British town planning.
Forming the backbone of today’s West End, Nash’s via triumphalis is now lined with a remarkable variety of 20th century architecture, quite apart from Reginald Blomfield’s inter-war rebuilding of most of its central section. This includes a fin de siècle hotel by Norman Shaw, a hidden Art Deco barbershop and little-known Modernist gems from James Stirling, Donald McMorran and Powell & Moya. Contemporary developments have been led by practices like AHMM, Dixon Jones and Make, and mix office, retail and residential uses.
Marking publication of his book How to Read London – A crash course in London architecture by The Ivy Press, this tour by Chris Rogers will look at how all of these schemes and more have respected, echoed or refuted Nash’s model over the past hundred years. There will be peeks inside Liberty’s, Broadcasting House and the Royal Institute of British Architects, and we will end the day in the elysian fields of Regent’s Park at Denys Lasdun’s acclaimed Royal College of Physicians, to which we have been given special access. Explore the past, present and future of a grand civic design this summer.
Cost: Members £20.00 Non-Members £25.00
Meet: The Mall opposite the ICA, nearest station Charing Cross