• 17 February 2017
  • 12:30 – 2:00 pm
  • Seminar Room, Paul Mellon Centre

The fourteenth century is arguably the most remarkable period in the history of British gatehouse architecture. Intellectual impetus, stimulated by institutional prosperity and cultural exchange, increased the value of aesthetic ideas treated amongst medieval builders, thus enriching in every project the progression from vision to conception. Alongside this artistic re-evaluation was a growing recognition of the gatehouse as the foremost physical expression of an establishment’s status and wealth, whose purpose was to accommodate the needs of individuals concerned with the welfare of the place, whilst exhibiting martial and divine powers over those positioned outside their circles of alliance. By comparing the fundamental elements of historic monuments, this investigation will aim to trace the development of medieval gatehouses from their preliminary appearance as integrated structures in twelfth-and-thirteenth-century enclosures to their independent fourteenth-century forms, which embodied multicultural agendas in an effort to idealise institutional values. On a primary level, this analysis will address questions on the origins of stylistic details, the nature of defensive features and the function of the gatehouse as a building whose design proliferated by the way of adaptation. On a broader level, this study of building-patterns will lay the foundation for a more extensive history of British gatehouses.

About the speaker

  • Headshot of man in glasses and flat cap

    Rodolfo teaches design at the Architectural Association School of Architecture and is currently contributing to the PMC Collection and Display: The British Country House project. He has carried out research on the transformation of architectural interiors in England in the eighteenth century, and is working to produce a digital reconstruction of West Wycombe Park.