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Ramsgate conference celebrates life of Gothic Revival architect Augustus Pugin
A University of Kent-organised conference marking the bicentenary of Gothic Revival architect Augustus Pugin will take place in his adopted hometown of Ramsgate from Thursday 12 to Monday 16 July.
Born in 1812, Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin quickly developed an internationally-renowned reputation built upon his designs for the 'Big Ben' Clock Tower and Palace of Westminster in London. He was also recognised for his architectural designs for churches in Ireland and Australia.
This is the first major international academic conference to mark the bicentenary of his birth. Consequently, it has attracted prominent international speakers such as Professor Barry Bergdoll, Chief Curator of Architecture and Design at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City, Professor of Architectural History in the Department of Art History and Archaeology at Columbia University, and the author of many well-known books on historical and contemporary architecture. Also speaking will be Dr Margaret Belcher, the acclaimed editor of Pugin's collected letters and a leading expert on his life and work. Dr Belcher will launch her fourth volume of Pugin's Collected Letters at the conference on Friday 13 July.
Other speakers include architect Martin Goalen, who has restored Pugin churches at Fulham and Derby, and Dr Caroline Shenton, Director of the Parliamentary Archives. Her book, The Day Parliament Burned Down, will be published shortly after the conference.
The conference was organised by Dr Timothy Brittain-Catlin, Senior Lecturer in Design & Cultural Context at the University's School of Architecture and a specialist in the work of Pugin, with support from Thanet District Council, The Pugin Society and The Ramsgate Society. As such, it is unusual as an academic event because of the high level of collaboration between the School, the Council, and local and national amenity societies.
Dr Brittain-Catlin said: 'We're proud to be working with Thanet District Council on what promises to be a major international event celebrating the work of A.W.N. Pugin, one of Britain's greatest architects.
Pugin's Ramsgate house and church, The Grange and St Augustine's, are buildings of worldwide importance. We've had tremendous international interest in this conference, and we are delighted to be welcoming scholars from as far away as Canada and New Zealand.
We're sure that our visitors will leave with a greater understanding of the unique character of the architecture of the Thanet towns, and that in turn will do a great deal to ensure the long-term future of these buildings.
Paula Harbidge, Tourism Manager at Thanet District Council, commented: Pugin was born 200 years ago, but his legacy stands as testament to his architectural brilliance.
We're very proud of the strong connections that Thanet has with Pugin, and it's great that the Kent School of Architecture (KSA) has made Ramsgate an integral part of its Pugin bicentennial conference. Such events are wonderful for the local economy and they also enhance the area's reputation - nationally and internationally.'
Dr Brittain-Catlin added: As an architecture school, KSA is committed to working on projects that engage our students in the community here, and this event, which celebrates Pugin's bicentenary, promises to be something really special.'
Story published at 3:48pm 10 July 2012