Happened Today: Ralph Erskine anniversary of his birth

Ralph Erskine

Ralph Erskine a Swedish-British architect, was born in London in 24 February 1914 (dead 16 March 2005 in Drottningholm, Sweden), he worked in Sweden for most of his life. He was attracted by the work of the Functionalist Swedish architects as Gunnar Asplund, Sigurd Lewerentz, Sven Markelius and by the country’s adoption of the social welfare model.

Erskine experimented with designs that depend on user participation and environmental compatibility. In his later works, he has been experimenting with climatically controlled building environments. Erskine typically creates an architecture of contrasts in which he uses a variety of forms and materials to juxtapose heavy and light elements.

Ralph and Ruth Erskine’s first home in Sweden is known as Lådan, was moved to Lovön island in 1989 and is now open to the public. The 20-square-metre Box, as the house became known, is an example of ingenious design in small spaces, with a focus on function and flexibility. The house is considered to be of major interest in terms of construction history, and illustrates architectonic development in Sweden. Between 1945 to 1955, designed housing project for a factory town.

Shopping is a mall in down-town Luleå, northern Sweden. It was originally designed with an intent to let “city life” move indoors during the cold seasons. It was the first purpose built indoor shopping centre in the world, when it opened in October 1955. Ralph Erskine, who wanted to create something more than just a shopping center, wanted city life to move indoors during the winter months and Shopping would therefore encourage meetings and socializing, as an city within the city.

With Brittgården Ralph Erskine has been innovative for its size, the combination of types of accommodation and the variation in the volumes of the buildings. With the help of public, semi-public and private rooms, Brittgården would be perceived as a separate community with natural meeting places and exciting irregularities. The structure was based on Erskine’s studies of traditional English villages, but the architecture was modern, with a clear characteristic of international influences.

The Byker Wall is a long, unbroken block of 620 maisonettes in the Byker district of Newcastle upon Tyne, England. It was designed by Ralph Erskine and constructed in the 1970s. The wall is just part of the estate, which in total covers 80 hectares. In 1970 Ralph Erskine was commissioned by the municipality to develop a new plan for the Nya Bruket residential area. Erskine managed to recreate the old environment of the housing of the old ironworks of the early 1900s, but with modern features with a combination of colors that resemble the origin but have been combined with new ideas and shapes.

Ralph Erskine was appointed to create the main library building of the University of Stockholm in 1982. Erskine created a linkage between the buildings with his trademark, an arched-formed roof for main entrance of the library. The facades and roof are dominated by concrete and aluminium. Aula Magna is the largest auditorium at Stockholm University in Sweden, completed in 1998, was the last project by Erskine for the university before his death.

Erskine breaks up the facade into many volumes of different size, structure and height in and interesting arrangement. Greenwich Millennium Village (GMV) is designed by architects Ralph Erskine and partners with EPR Architects Ltd as executive architect as part of the regeneration of the whole brownfield site of East Greenwich Gas Works.It offers dramatic elevations of barrel-vaulted roofs, using traditional materials, adding Erskine’s trademark color and texture. Photos via Wikipedia.

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