Fred Scott: The double ecstasy of altering architecture

Study for a Memorial, Barbican Lake EC, 2015, Fred Scott

A decade after the designer’s seminal book, Peter Youthed argues he paved the way for the likes of David Chipperfield and Caruso St John

The academic and designer Fred Scott’s approach to interventional work on existing buildings is unique in that it takes a more theoretical approach and places it within a wider cultural framework; by drawing comparisons with art conservation, through discussion of the nature of the modernity, ruin, the function of copying and reproduction and exploring the psychological and sociological aspects of transforming existing buildings.

His thinking illuminates relatively unexplored territory and many of his ideas are eloquently captured in a series of collages that are currently on display as part of the Building on the Built series at Jonathan Tuckey Design.

Scott’s theories and processes have been captured in his book On Altering Architecture (Routledge, 2008) and shared with generations of students through his teaching. He reveals the “transgressive” nature of alteration work that breaks the taboos of restoration and conservation and discloses the presence of the surreal in even the most everyday of architectural transformations.

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