Morris Explores Latest Work of Heneghan Peng Architects

Stockwell Street building

The Stockwell Street building (at right) faces the St. Alfege church, built in the early 1700s. photo / provided

March 25, 2015

The new volume of the architectural journal Log features an in-depth critique of the Stockwell Street building, a recently completed architecture school facility designed by Shih-Fu Peng (B.Arch. '89) and Róisín Heneghan for the University of Greenwich in London.

Written by architecture's Visiting Associate Professor Mark Morris, "Keeping Up with the Inigo Joneses" reviews the varied criticism — both positive and negative reactions — that the building has received in the British press. Morris then offers an alternative critique predicated on a reading of the site's illustrious neighbors — Nicholas Hawksmoor's St. Alfege church, the Queen's House by Inigo Jones, and the Old Royal Naval Hospital complex designed by Christopher Wren and completed by John Vanbrugh. Taken together, these buildings in their park setting are, according to UNESCO, the "finest and most dramatically sited architectural and landscape ensemble in the British Isles."

Acknowledging the typical challenges and controversies surrounding any new architecture school building — Morris cites debates regarding Yale University's School of Art and Architecture building and Harvard University's Gund Hall — the article highlights the tight fit between the new building and curriculum, the enduring role of the public design critique enshrined in its "crit pit," and the beneficial influence of the landscape architecture program on the overall design, which features 14 roof gardens.

Morris explains, "The two missions — new building, new pedagogy — would not merely run in parallel; each would feed the other. Such programmatic alchemy came naturally as fresh curricular initiatives were drafted in view of the drawings and models steadily streaming in from Henneghan and Peng's Dublin office."

Peng delivered a lecture titled "Taipei: Flood Control" on March 18 in the Abby and Howard Milstein Auditorium.

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