The Traditional Architecture Group of the Royal Institute of British Architects was founded in 2003 in response to the growing number of architectural practices and architects in Britain that were building traditional buildings. It was clear that the cause of traditional architecture could be well served by forming a group with the expressed aim of promoting traditional architecture both within the profession and within the wider community. The TAG Constitution states:
“The aims of the society are to celebrate the highest achievements of the past as a living source for modern inspiration. The group seeks to work within architectural, planning and educational disciplines to promote the values of a traditional approach in architecture and design. The group will provide mutual support, a meeting point and a venue for the exchange of ideas for those individuals interesting in or practicing contemporary traditional architecture.”
BEAUTY, HUMANISM, CONTINUITY BETWEEN PAST AND FUTURE
Many people today yearn for a better quality of environment in their cities, towns and countryside. All too often, where changes do occur, the results represent a degradation of what was there before. We need to learn how to reshape our built environment in a way that reflects the desires and values of the community.
Traditional architects understand that buildings of the past are uniquely capable of satisfying people’s needs. In the past buildings were designed to be beautiful as well as well as functional. Architects were schooled in a tradition that had evolved over millennia - one that totally integrated the practical and aesthetic requirements of buildings.
Despite a century of mechanisation traditional skill and knowledge have never lost and some architects in Britain and elsewhere continued steadfastly to practise and develop traditional architecture. The members of this Traditional Architecture Group are heirs to this continuity.
Traditional architecture teaches us that by seeking to create and to recognise beauty we establish a contact with our own sense of humanity – a humanity that is shared by all. Traditional architecture comes in many different styles and forms, for it is produced by many different individuals and cultures and so variety is an essential aspect of it. But whatever its origins it is always accessible to all.
Traditionalists believe that, however much the times we live in might be subject to change, there are basic human values which do not change. Our values in respect of the built environment are an example of this. This is clear for when we look at great architecture of one hundred, five hundred, two thousand years ago its power is undiminished.
The Traditional Architecture Group is committed to developing the values established by long tradition and adapting them to the modern world. Traditionalism looks to the past only to see the future more clearly. In the new century traditional architecture is growing worldwide. Traditionalism is the solid, viable, long term future for architecture.
URBANISM - For Quality of Life in our Towns and Cities
The urban realm is the public realm. Urban space is public space.
Public spaces consists of the spaces (streets, squares, alleys) between buildings that are accessible to all. The freedom of access that we all have to public spaces is what enables them to perform a very special and important role in our lives.
As public urban spaces are formed by the space between and around collections of individual buildings, the separate design of each of those buildings is important to the overall quality of the space. If we think of urban spaces, large or small, they are what they are by virtue of the assemblage of buildings that make them up. As examples, we may for instance think of, in grand fashion, Trafalgar Square or, in more intimate form, of a favourite street or market square near where we live.
Belief in the importance of public space is central to traditional architecture. Traditional buildings respect their context and their neighbouring buildings so that they can contribute to the urban environment in general.
But public space comes to mean more than just attractive, functional space where we can enjoy ourselves or work and trade. It comes to represent in physical form our sense of community and society. The development of good urban space is not just an architectural programme. It is also a societal programme. This wider meaning of public spaces is often heightened by the incorporation of monuments or monumental buildings within them.
Public space in the latter half of the twentieth century often became neglected and the emphasis shifted to the proclamation of private space in the urban arena. Buildings were designed more as individualistic statements sometimes deliberately denying the need for any role in the public space. The result was in many cases a disruption of the urban fabric and a degrading of much loved urban places.
But of recent years, a “New Urbanism” movement has grown up in America and Europe that seeks to re-establish the primacy of public urban space. It also seeks to robustly face up to the many problems of the modern city, such as its overcrowding, relentless expansion and transport difficulties.
Good urbanism is a vital ingredient of modern living and modern society. Only traditional architecture is wholly committed to the development of the urban realm and understands the principles that are necessary to carry this development through successfully.
Chairman: Francis Terry
MA (Cantab), Dip Arch, RIBA
Francis is part of a new generation of classical architects who have recently gained a reputation for designing high quality works of architecture. Francis's pursuit of architecture grew out of his passion for drawing and his love of historic buildings. He studied architecture at Cambridge University qualifying in 1994.
Alongside his architectural interests Francis is a keen artist and uses his talent to draw schemes and paint watercolours of his proposals. He also regularly exhibits drawings in the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition and won the Worshipful Company of Architects Prize for Architectural Drawing in 2002.
Francis was voted in as Chairman of the Traditional Architecture Group at the 2017 AGM having been a member since its foundation.
Membership Secretary: Jan Hauger
Jan is a graduate of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University where he received a Bachelor of Architecture (Hons) and Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Arts and Sciences. He is a Director of Stanhope Gate Architecture, where he has overseen various refurbishments, expansions, new-builds, all in the best traditions of architecture and building and all contextual to their surroundings and cultures, no matter the country.
He was previously an associate at ADAM Architecture where he was involved in various new-build traditional country houses throughout England. Jan gained his Certificate in Professional Practice and Management in Architecture at the Bartlett, UCL, in 2007. He is and a member of INTBAU and the Society for the Protection of Ancient Monuments.
Treasurer: Nigel Anderson
Nigel Anderson is well known for his classical designs of new country houses and high quality commercial housing schemes. His work also includes the restoration and refurbishment of historic houses and masterplanning, with projects across the country. Nigel has over 30 years experience in traditional and classical architecture, and continues to work with private clients as well as commercial developers. His work has been recognised with a number of architectural awards for their new house designs. Nigel trained at the Bartlett School of Architecture at University College London from 1977 to 1982. He joined ADAM Architecture in 1988 and became a director in 1991.
Communication Secretary: Simon Hurst
BSc (Hons), Dip Arch, MA, RIBA
Simon trained at The University of Bath, then the Prince of Wales’ Institute of Architecture and also won a Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings Lethaby Scholarship in 1998.
He is a Trustee of and the Honorary Architect to the Art Workers’ Guild, and a Patron of Sir John Soane’s Museum. He has worked in the past for John Simpson and John Outram but now runs his own practice, specialising in intelligent and sensitive work to Listed Buildings, or in Conservation Areas as well as traditional, classical and contextual new build.
As a Linked Society of the RIBA, the Traditional Architecture Group's membership is principally for RIBA members. These members will maintain a majority and provide governance for the group. As traditionalists, however, we believe that architecture should not only be the concern of architects. Others, including non-RIBA architects, teachers, students, craftsmen and those in commissioning organisations who support traditional architecture will also be encouraged to join and be welcomed for their contribution and collaboration.