Goy, Richard J(ohn) 1947-
GOY, Richard J(ohn) 1947-
PERSONAL: Born January 31, 1947, in London, England; son of Reginald Bland (a property agent) and Daphne C. (a secretary; maiden name, Fletcher) Goy; married Barbara Hughes, September 27, 1986; children: Catherine. Education: Thames Polytechnic, Diploma in Architecture, 1971; University of London, D.Phil., 1981. Hobbies and other interests: Writing, painting (watercolours).
ADDRESSES: Home—44 Bickerton Rd., London N19 5JS, England. Office—Devereux Architects, 200 Upper Richmond Rd., London SW15 2SH, England. E-mail— [email protected]
CAREER: Architect and writer. Douglas Feast Partnership, London, England, senior assistant architect, 1972-76; Newman, Levinson & Partners, London, executive architect, 1978-90. Capita Property Services, 1990-2000; Devereux Architects, project director, 2000—. Member of Architects' Registration Council of the United Kingdom.
MEMBER: Royal Institute of British Architects.
The House of Gold: Building a Palace in Medieval Venice, Cambridge University Press (New York, NY), 1992.
Venice: The City and Its Architecture, Phaidon (London, England), 1997.
Florence: The City and Its Architecture, Phaidon (New York, NY), 2002.
WORK IN PROGRESS: The Building of Renaissance Venice, for Yale University Press.
SIDELIGHTS: British architect Richard J. Goy is the author of several well-received titles on Italian architecture. Goy once commented, "As a practicing architect I have worked on a wide variety of projects, including banks, shopping centers, airports, offices, and some projects involving restoration and refurbishment of historic buildings. One of my chief concerns in designing new works is the relationship between the new project and the historic urban environment, keeping in mind the continuity of the development of urban form." This involvement with the historic urban environment is evident in his first book, an expansion of his doctoral thesis. In Chioggia and the Villages of the Venetian Lagoon he deals with the urban building on the various islands in the Venice lagoon in an "interesting book," as James C. Davis noted in the American Historical Review. Goy's assessment traces development from the late middle ages to the modern age, dealing with the islands of Murano, Burano, and Torcello, as well as with the fishing port of Chioggia, at the southern end of the lagoon. Though Davis noted that Goy "writes clearly and provides splendid maps and illustrations," he also commented that the author's "recounting of this story of urban shaping is a little tedious and repetitious." For Edward Muir, writing in the Journal of Interdisciplinary History, "Goy's comparative urban history tries to do too much and too little," but other critics found more to like in the volume. David E. Alexander, for example, writing in the Geographical Review, thought that "this well-written, carefully researched book is a delight to read and should stimulate renewed interest in the subject."
Goy once explained, "The study of urban history is one of my main associated interests, as is architectural history. I am particularly interested in the architecture and urban development of western Europe in the medieval period, which was the key period in the development of most historic European cities. Venice, therefore, has very special appeal not only because of its unique environment, but because it is the largest and best-preserved medieval city center in Europe." These interests are seen in several more books by Goy. His Venetian Vernacular Architecture: Traditional Housing in the Venetian Lagoon is something of a follow-up to his first study, but now the focus is more on Venice itself, examining the domestic architecture of that city. Goy describes minor palaces and working-class housing alike in this study. Deborah Howard, reviewing the title in the Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, thought that Goy's "discussion of the small, self-contained city palazetto is a useful account of an often-neglected topic, and the introduction to the main building types of the lagoon villages is excellent." David R. Coffin, reviewing the same title in the American Historical Review, found it "comprehensive and instructive" and called it an "excellent study." Oliver Logan, writing in History, also had praise for the book, commenting that "anyone interested in Venice will want to read at least part of this book." And reviewing the work in Choice, G. Knox wrote that it was an "important contribution to the study of 'Venezia minore.'"
More Venetian architecture is served up in The House of Gold: Building a Palace in Medieval Venice, an examination of the Ca' d'Oro on the Grand Canal, the largest private palace in the city and the one with the most ornate facade. Built by the Venetian noble Marino Contarini in the early fifteenth century, the palace is well documented with building records from the time, which Goy employed in his study. "Goy has made a good job of sorting out the documentary evidence and checking it against his own observation and measurements," wrote Susan Connell in the Burlington Magazine. Goy also provides an introduction to building in general in medieval Venice in this study of "remarkable freshness and precision," as Richard Mackenney described it in History. Mackenney also averred that "those who built the Ca' d'Oro would acknowledge this book as a masterpiece." Similarly, Coffin, reviewing the work in the American Historical Review, felt that "this is a magnificent example of architectural history, examining in detail every aspect of the construction and also offering much to interest economic and social historians."
Goy's Venice: The City and Its Architecture is grander in scale than his earlier books and appeared in a year, 1997, of anniversaries for Venice: thirteen centuries since its founding and two centuries since the end of the Venetian Republic. "Handsomely designed and generously illustrated, this is an excellent survey of the buildings of Venice and some of their interiors," wrote Stanley Abercrombie in Interior Design. Goy's book is divided into three sections: an overview of the city in the lagoon; a description of four centers: Piazza San Marco, the Arsenale, the Ghetto, and the Rialto; and an examination of individual buildings and their architects. Martin Filler, writing in the New York Times Book Review, commended the book, noting its "substantial text" as well as its "authoritative scope and dense detail."
Goy does the same service for Florence, Italy, in Florence: The City and Its Architecture. Again combining social and architectural history, Goy provides an introduction for the lay and professional reader alike. Greg Kirrish, writing in the Bloomsbury Review, felt that Goy's book "provides perspective by describing the dynamics that converged on that Tuscan town to turn it into the epicenter of Renaissance art and thought." Kirrish also recommended the book for "armchair traveler" and "history buff" alike. For either, it is "a great choice," Kirrish noted.
"While continuing to work in a flourishing architectural practice in London," Goy concluded, "I hope to also continue my own historical studies in the growth and development of some of the other historic city centers of western Europe, concentrating on Italy, where I have many friends and colleagues."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
American Historical Review, December, 1986, James C. Davis, review of Chioggia and the Villages of the Venetian Lagoon, pp. 1178-1179; February, 1991, David R. Coffin, review of Venetian Vernacular Architecture: Traditional Housing in the Venetian Lagoon, pp. 200-201; June, 1994, David R. Coffin, review of The House of Gold: Building a Palace in Medieval Venice, pp. 883-884.
Bloomsbury Review, November-December, 2002, Greg Kirrish, review of Florence: The City and Its Architecture, p. 9.
Burlington Magazine, March, 1994, Susan Connell, review of The House of Gold, pp. 173-174.
Choice, October, 1993, C. Bruzelius, review of The House of Gold, p. 278; December, 1989, G. Knox, review of Venetian Vernacular Architecture, p. 621.
Geographical Review, January, 1987, David E. Alexander, review of Chioggia and the Villages of the Venetian Lagoon, pp. 123-124.
History, June, 1991, Oliver Logan, review of Venetian Vernacular Architecture, pp. 294-295; June, 1995, Richard Mackenney, review of The House of Gold, pp. 290-291.
History Today, December, 1994, Christy Anderson, review of The House of Gold, pp. 52-53.
Interior Design, May, 1998, Stanley Abercrombie, review of Venice: The City and Its Architecture, p. 222.
Journal of Interdisciplinary History, summer, 1987, Edward Muir, review of Chioggia and the Villages of the Venetian Lagoon, pp. 144-146.
Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, March, 1991, Deborah Howard, review of Chioggia and the Villages of the Venetian Lagoon, pp. 73-75.
Library Journal, March 15, 1998, Barbara Hoffert, review of Venice, pp. 60-61.
New York Times Book Review, December 7, 1997, Martin Filler, review of Venice, p. 40.
Speculum, April, 1996, David Rosand, review of The House of Gold, pp. 426-427.*