Preview of the 3D digital reconstruction of Sir Christopher Wren and Nicholas Hawksmoor’s un-built 1692 design for the Sir John Moore School in Derbyshire

Tomorrow (Sunday 8th July 2012) De Montfort University’s Digital Building Heritage Group will be at the BBC’s hugely popular Great British Story show at The Sir John Moore Foundation in Derbyshire to present a new 3D digital reconstruction of Sir Christopher Wren and Nicholas Hawksmoor’s un-built design for the Sir John Moore School. Commissioned by the BBC the reconstruction will be used to tell the story of how and why this design was developed and how, because the client (Sir John Moore) eventually entrusted the construction not to Wren and Hawksmoor but to a local sculptor called William Wilson, this innovative and ground-breaking design was surreptitiously changed during construction to one of an older style belonging to a previous generation. Drafted by Hawksmoor around 1692, the drawings for this un-built design have rested in the Codrington Library of All Soul’s College Oxford for the past 300 years and have formed the basis of this highly detailed 3D reconstruction. The Wren / Hawksmoor design was ultra- modern in the 1690’s, drawing on the latest architectural ideas emerging from the English Enlightenment, and buildings in France. The late 17th and 18th centuries were a time of new scientific and geographical discoveries, and these were changing the way architects thought about the world and how buildings should be designed. These new ideas met considerable resistance amongst traditionalist architects in England who clung onto older renaissance ideas based on a platonic philosophy which had held sway since the early 16th century. The story of how this design was created and how the building changed will be presented using the 3D digital reconstruction next door to the building that was actually built, and will allow a unique and tangible architectural comparison of the realities of the battle between ‘ancients’ and ‘moderns’ in architecture, art, philosophy and politics that raged in England, Europe and America in the 1690’s. Click on the Menu Tab above to see more images.

About Douglas Cawthorne

Reader in Digital Heritage at De Montfort University.
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