Scott, Sir Giles Gilbert
Among Scott's other churches may be mentioned the Annunciation, Bournemouth, Hants. (1905–6), St Joseph, Cromer Road, Sheringham, Norfolk (1908–10—in which a tendency to greatly simplify Gothic forms is very marked), the monumental Our Lady of the Assumption, Northfleet, Kent (1913–16—displaying certain design features that were to reappear at Liverpool Cathedral), St Paul, Stonycroft, Liverpool (1913–16), St Andrew, Luton, Beds. (1931–2), St Francis, Terriers, High Wycombe, Bucks. (1928–30), St Alban, Golders Green, London (1932–3), and the austere RC Cathedral of St Columba, Oban, Argyll (1930–53). One of his most successful churches, with its battered walls, is St Michael, Ashford, Middx. (1927–8). He also designed the completion of the nave at Downside Abbey, Som. (1917–39), several boarding-houses and the Chapel at Ampleforth College, Yorks. (1922–60), and the very fine Chapel at Charter-house School, Godalming, Surrey(1922–7—per-haps one of his most successful buildings). At St Alphege, Bath (1927–30), and the Chapel at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford (1931–2), he employed a simple round-arched style instead of Gothic. After the 1914–18 war he designed the Memorial Court, Clare College, Cambridge (1922–32), in a simplified Neo-Georgian style, on the central axis of which is the central tower of his huge Cambridge University library (1930–4). At Oxford he designed the New Bodleian Library opposite Hawksmoor's Clarendon Building (1935–46—a great part of which is below ground thus keeping the visible part of the building low), and Longwall Quad, Magdalen College (1928–9).
Among his best-known designs were the 1924 and 1935 versions of the Post Office cast-iron telephone kiosk, with tops derived from Soane's tomb in London. In 1930 Scott was appointed consultant architect to the London Power Company for the new generating station at Battersea. This huge structure, with chimneys treated like Classical columns, and much Art-Deco detail, demonstrated Scott's sense of the monumental in composition and his control of massing. Even Pevsner admired it. Other commissions followed, including the Guinness Brewery, Park Royal (1933–5), Waterloo Bridge (1932–45), and the rebuilding of the House of Commons at the Palace of Westminster following bomb damage (1944–50—a tactful and very intelligent intervention, much hated by Modernists). He also rebuilt the war-damaged hall of the City of London's Guildhall (1950–4), and designed Bankside Power Station on the south bank of the River Thames opposite St Paul's Cathedral, London (1947–60), his Sublime ‘Cathedral of Power’ with its chimneys treated as one magnificent campanile-like tower. This building is now the Tate Gallery of Modern Art, having been converted by Herzog & De Meuron, who unhappily altered Scott's handsome stepped main elevation.
Scott's last religious buildings were the Carmelite Church, Kensington, London (1954–9—another replacement of a church lost in 1939–45), an RC Church in Preston, Lancs. (1954–9), and the small but lofty Christ the King, Plymouth, Devon (1961–2). However, his post-1939–45-war work was not appreciated in the climate in which International Modernism was enthusiastically and almost universally embraced. He himself was impatient of dogma, be it ‘unintelligent Traditionalism’ or ‘extreme Modernism’, and stated that he would have been happier about the future of architecture ‘had the best ideas of Modernism being grafted upon the best traditions of the past’, and if ‘Modernism had come by evolution rather than by revolution’. Knighted in 1924, he was appointed to the Order of Merit in 1944, and honoured in Norway for advising on the completion of Trondheim Cathedral.
Anno Domini, lxix/10–11 (1979), 72–83;
Gavin Stamp ;
Placzek (ed.) (1982);
Stamp & and Harte (1979);
Jane Turner (1996)
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Scott, Sir Giles Gilbert
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