Ralph Erskine

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Works Village of StorviksHammarby, Sweden, 1947.
Housing at Kiruna, Sweden, 1961.
Housing at Tibro, Sweden, 1959-67.
Stockholm University Library, Stockholm, Sweden, with Bengt Ahlqvist, Erick Mulbach and Peer-Ove Skanes, 1983.   at ArchitectureWeek
Township for the Inuit, Resolute Bay, North-West Territories, Canada, 1973 to 1976.
Housing at Landskrona, Sweden, with Lennart Bergstrom, 1970.
Town plan for Lina, Sweden, with Lennart Bergstrom, 1978.
Town plan for Ekero, Sweden, with Lennart Bergstrom, 1978.
Housing at Newmarket, England, UK, 1970.
Housing at Milton Keynes, England, UK, 1973.
Byker Redevelopment, at Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England, UK, 1973 to 1978.  * 3D Model *
The Ark, at Hammersmith, London, England, UK, 1990.
Greenwich Millenium Village, at London, England, UK, 2000 to 2005.   at ArchitectureWeek

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Ralph Erskine

(b. London, England 1914; d. at age 91, March 16, 2005)

Ralph Erskine, a Swedish-British architect, was born in London in 1914. He graduated from the Regent Street Polytechnic in 1938 and moved to Sweden a year later, shortly before the outbreak of World War II.

After the war and after further study at the Academy of Arts in Stockholm, he established offices in Sweden where he has designed a large number of houses, schools, apartments and urban planning schemes. In his work, Erskine has developed an organic and expressive architecture partly inspired by Swedish Empiricism and British community planning.

Erskine has 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.

Dennis Sharp. The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Architects and Architecture. New York: Quatro Publishing, 1991. ISBN 0-8230-2539-X. NA40.I45. p50-51.

Adolf K Placzek. Macmillan Encyclopedia of Architects. Vol. 2. London: The Free Press, 1982. ISBN 0-02-925000-5. NA40.M25. p30.

"The architect Ralph Erkskine became a celebrity in Britain only late in his career because his earlier work was done wholly in Sweden. He is best described, in fact, as an Anglo-Swedish architect, although he was born in London and retained his British nationality. He settled in Sweden early in 1939 when he was 25; he made his reputation there and practised from Drottningholm near Stockholm.

"His buildings gradually came to be admired in Britain, but his first commission to build in his native country did not come until he was in his fifties. He was asked in 1967 to design a range of buildings for Clare Hall, the Cambridge postgraduate college. As his reputation grew after a number of teaching appointments overseas, more buildings followed, most notably, in 1969, the much admired and highly original Byker housing scheme near Newcastle upon Tyne, and in 1990 the Ark in Hammersmith, London."

— "Ralph Erkskine", Times Online, 2005.0319.

The Creator's Words

"Architecture, like the shaft of an axe, must beautifully and precisely symbolise its own good reasons for its necessary existence. Insight and sincerity will tell us which reasons are good."

— Ralph Erskine, writings, quoted in "Ralph Erkskine", Times Online, 2005.0319.

"Architecture and urban planning — be it at macro or micro level, a private villa or an office block — must not only be a showpiece of design and technology, but also give expression to those democratic ideals of respect for human dignity, equality and freedom that are fostered in our society."

— Ralph Erskine, quoted in "Ralph Erkskine", Times Online, 2005.0319.


RIBA Gold Medal of Architecture in 1987

Resources Sources on Ralph Erskine

"Two International Masters", by ArchitectureWeek, ArchitectureWeek No. 235, 2005.0413, pN1.1.

"Erskine's Millennium Village", by Don Barker, ArchitectureWeek No. 76, 2001.1128. pD1.1.

"Ralph Erkskine : Architect who created humane offices and housing in cold and challenging environments", Times Online, 2005.0319.   Find books about Ralph Erskine

Search the RIBA architecture library catalog for more references on Ralph Erskine

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