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Discuss the role of craft and decoration in C.H. Townsend's Whitechapel Art Gallery (1901) what kind of social ambitions do th - Essay Example

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Role of craft and decoration in C.H. Townsend’s Whitechapel Art Gallery (1901) Name: Institution: The Whitechapel Art Gallery was founded in 1901 in the East End of London. The building was designed by Charles Harrison Townsend to serve the purpose of elevating the hearts and minds of the people of the poor East End of London…
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Discuss the role of craft and decoration in C.H. Townsends Whitechapel Art Gallery (1901) what kind of social ambitions do th
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"Discuss the role of craft and decoration in C.H. Townsend's Whitechapel Art Gallery (1901) what kind of social ambitions do th"

Download file to see previous pages He was born in Birkenhead, Cheshire and started his architectural career as a draftsman in London. He later branched off to his own in 1877 and built connections with RIBA and the Art Workers Guild. He became the Master of the Art Workers Guild in 1903. It has been argued that he might have been the only English Architect to have worked in Art Nouveau. However, Townsend considered himself an exponent of the freestyle movement of the Arts and Crafts Movement. Some of his buildings that stand out in style and originality include the Bishops Gate Institute, the Horniman Museum and the Whitechapel Art Gallery. The Whitechapel Art Gallery was a clear attempt by Townsend to showcase the spirit and ideals of the Arts and Crafts Movement. On the exterior, the building has a two tower feature that is a signature feature of Townsend’s architectural designs. It has a relatively wide frontage and it fits organically into the environment around it. Perhaps this imposing nature of the design was intended to portray the building as an important and authoritative structure in the East London area. By blending organically with the surroundings, the structure ably served its purpose of providing recreation for the locals without seeming pervasive. The main doors of the Whitechapel gallery go in at the street level. The placement of the doors is done in an asymmetrical way on one side. The large semi-circular light above them naturally takes the eye upwards leading to the impressive keyed arch on top. From the onset, the art gallery was designed for the people. Hence, by putting the doors to go in straight at the street level, Townsend projected the building as easily accessible. A person walking on the streets could instantly connect with the building and easily enter if interested. Also, the light on top of the door was a natural way of allowing a person’s eyes to wander and explore the other compelling feature of the building: the rounded, arched keyway. This decorative and artistic piece purposively ushered a person into the art gallery in a subtle way. Suffice to say, the keyed arch is neatly tucked into the building and not protruding into the streets in an intrusive manner. This design made the building to feel like a natural fit into the surrounding area without seeming intrusive. The elaborate frontage design of the building was perhaps meant to make it standout in contrast with the railway stations that were already running in the place. The railway stations were uninviting and dull. Also, the underground trains were running through darkness in the tunnels. In contrast, the Whitechapel Art Gallery frontage was bright and welcoming. It opened quickly into a space where the mind could engage in a captivating journey. The frontage of the building was meant to act as an inducement for people to come into the gallery and explore the art pieces on exhibition. The design had the role of attracting passer-bys and engages their curiosity on the things that they could find inside the gallery. In fact, the gallery attracted over two hundred thousand people during its first exhibition. The towers of the building are square in design but taper as they rise. At the top, the towers divide into four turrets with a larger turret in between. Previously, Townsend had a much more bold design that he showcased 1890s. The design of the towers projected the relationship between the earth and the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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