A man of many talents

14th September 2007 at 01:00
A specially designed education programme will accompany a new exhibition by the National Galleries of Scotland in the Dean Gallery in Edinburgh, celebrating the work of architect Sir Basil Spence on the centenary of his birth.

It will include guided tours for schools, further and higher education and community groups, workshops for young people and teachers, lunchtime lectures, and a hands-on session for people with visual impairments.

Back to the Future is the first major exhibition dedicated to Spence (1907 76), arguably Scotland's most renowned modern architect. It looks at an architect who, in the post-war period alone, designed a nuclear power station, an airport, the first of the country's new university complexes, a cathedral and many other projects.

Born in India, Spence came to Edinburgh in his youth and studied at Edinburgh College of Art. The exhibition begins in the 1920s with his prize-winning student work. Modern private houses, such as Gribloch in Stirlingshire, and dynamic designs for the Glasgow Empire exhibition and Festival of Britain helped Spence establish his reputation. In 1951, he won the design competition for the new Coventry Cathedral (built alongside the bombed remains of the original medieval building).

An aspect of Spence's practice was his interest in working with artists. A special section devoted to Coventry Cathedral (pictured) will include related artworks by Jacob Epstein, John Piper, Graham Sutherland and other commissioned artists.

* www.nationalgalleries.org

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