18th October 2013
Pragmatic Festivity: Peter Moro & Theatre Design in Britain 1955-85
Between the late 1950s and early 1980s, Britain experienced a boom in theatre-building. Peter Moro played a key role both as an active designer and through professional networks. Reflecting his training with Otto Salvisberg and Berthold Lubetkin, Moro’s theatres aimed at festive excitement whilst being rooted in a rigorous Modernism. They not only shed light on how precedent and innovation could be balanced in theatre design but also raise wider issues. First, Moro’s work, rooted in pragmatism, embodies what we might call the middle ground of post-war British architecture, between the theory-oriented avant-garde and more commercial practices. Second, his reluctance to theorise cautions
against the over-use of theory in architectural history. Finally, Moro’s view of theatres as the ‘ultimate’ architectural type allows us to see his work not only as an exploration of fundamental issues but also a vision of the development of Modern architecture, one that could be ‘popular’ without recourse to Postmodern superficiality.
Dr Alistair Fair joined ESALA as a Chancellor’s Fellow in September 2013. He is especially interested in complex non-domestic buildings. Much of Alistair’s work has focused on twentieth-century British architecture, but his current research is increasingly also looking beyond the British Isles. Alistair studied at Oxford, the Courtauld Institute of Art, and Cambridge. After completing his Ph.D., he worked in architectural conservation before returning to Cambridge as a Research Associate and then a Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellow.