Kenneth Brian Frampton is a British Architect, Educator, and Critic that was born on 20 November 1930. He is known for his written works and was one of the leading historians in Modern Architecture. Despite his works being published as early as 1980, his observations and theories remain relevant in the architecture world today. Many Architecture Schools use his writings on Architectural Phenomenology to educate students on the importance of the manipulation of materials, light and shadow, and spaces. Additionally, his other iconic book on Critical Regionalism also evokes a conversation among Architecture Academics, contributing meaningful discussions regarding the future of Architecture. Today, many students, architects and scholars would like to attend his talks, to reflect upon his views on the topic of Architecture. Therefore, this article will be showing 5 facts you should know about Kenneth Frampton.
1. Kenneth Frampton’s Background
Kenneth Frampton was born in Woking, Surrey, England. He enrolled in Guildford School of Art to study architecture and later studied at the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London. In 1957, he became an affiliated member of RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architect). After spending two years serving the British army, Frampton travelled to Israel for work. He describes his life in Israel as a positive experience, architecturally speaking, in that it was a simpler country with basic building technology”. He worked with Middlesex County Council and Douglas Stephen and Partners in London. Simultaneously, he also involved himself in the education sector by becoming a visiting tutor for the Royal College of Art from 1961 to 1964, a tutor at the Architectural Association from 1961 to 1964 and a technical editor for Architectural Design (AD) Journal until 1965. His pursuit for architectural research also started at the same time when he built up his career as an architect, educator, and writer. Later in 1965, Frampton migrated to the United States and continued his studies in the architecture field.
2. His Architecture Projects
One of Kenneth Frampton’s famous architecture projects is Corringham. The Corringham is a modernist-styled residential apartment complex located in Bayswater, Central London. The building started its construction in 1960 and was completed in 1962. Inspired by the “Neue Sachlichkeit” architectural style, Frampton designed the main façade of the building to be minimalistic and functional. Frampton also admits that the building’s service tower aesthetic was influenced by James Sterlings. The service tower adopts a different design approach from the simple main complex. In 1998, the Corringham was given the Grade II Listed building status as an infrastructure of special interest. In the Uk, this means that the complex is legally protected from being demolished, extended, or modified without permission from the local authorities. Local organization remarked that the Corringham is “Douglas Stephen & Partners’ most coherent design of the sixties and their most interesting”.
3. His Written Works
Other than being an editor for AD, Kenneth Frampton gained an international reputation for his critical and insightful written works on modern architecture. He wrote many international journals, including the following titles.
In 1983, Frampton released an article in The Anti-aesthetic: Essay on PostModernism Culture titled “Towards A Critical Regionalism: Six Points for an Architecture of Resistance”. This article talks about Frampton’s seminal writing on the topic of Critical Regionalism and highlights how modern culture and infrastructures gear towards a civilization that is universally conditioned and technology-dependent.
Frampton also released another book “Studies in Tectonic Culture: The Poetics of Construction in Nineteenth and Twentieth-Century Architecture” in 1995. This writing consists of Ten articles and a conclusion about the development of contemporary architectural forms, using readings from important English, French and German sources dating back as early as the eighteen century.
“Modern Architecture: A Critical History (World of Art)” is another popular book published by Frampton in 2007. In this book, he discussed the history of modern architecture since its appearance in 1980. In the latest edition of the book, Frampton also added a new chapter exploring the interesting topic on how globalization affects architecture, the rise of Starchitects and how international architectural studios approach the issue of sustainability and habitats.
4. His Teachings
Kenneth Frampton has been actively involved in educating the next generations of architects. Apart from being a tutor at the Royal College of Art (1961-1964) and the Architectural Association (1961-1963), he gave talks at various international Architectural Schools as a visiting tutor. After he migrated to the United States, Frampton continued teaching at the School of Architecture at Princeton University from 1965 to 1972. Later, he became affiliated with Columbia University in New York. From 1986 until 1989, Frampton took on the role of the Chairman of the Division of Architecture and became the Director of the PhD programme for History and Theory of Architecture in 1993. Currently, Frampton is the Ware Professor in Columbia University at the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation (GSAPP).
5. His Recognitions
Kenneth Frampton contributed to architecture through practice, education, and research. Therefore, Frampton was awarded the Architectural League of New York Presidents’ Medal in 2005, Schelling Architecture Theory Price in 2012, Lisbon Triennale Millennium BCP Lifetime Achievement Award in 2014 and the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement by Venice Biennale of Architecture in 2018.