Our Place on Earth
This year’s RSA Forum will challenge the popular idea that ‘people make places’ by demonstrating that our ‘place on earth’ remains a powerful and omnipresent force that fundamentally effects our person, our national character, our culture and therefore our art and architecture.
The Sublime Tradition
Historically Scottish art and literature have wrestled with ideas of awe, intensity ruggedness, terror, and vastness emphasising our insignificance in the face of Nature, arousing emotions, and stimulating the imagination. Romantic Scottish art of the past has been more distinct from the ‘beautiful’ and the ‘picturesque’ aesthetic qualities more associated with the English tradition. The Scots evidence a more apocalyptic and laconic character flirting with both the grandeur and violence of natural phenomena; Scotland at the edge of the world.
Fast forward and Scotland’s industrial culture and the imposition of the modern programme clearly disrupts our historic relationship with nature to create a very different sublime experience. Certainly the promise of post-war planning policy and the imposition of modernism architecture across Scotland a disaster, with dictate and economics brutalising our communities and leaving legacy environments derelict of meaning.
The ‘Now Challenge’
Places make people, by listening better to our communities, returning to our landscapes and celebrating our unique climates we can reinstate both meaning and art in our architecture.