The Grand(er) Tour: Architectural Imagination Beyond the Classical World

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The Grand(er) Tour: Architectural Imagination Beyond the Classical World

April 20, 2016 @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm CDT


Experience a lecture, book signing and reception event featuring architectural historian, curator and writer Abraham Thomas, presented in partnership with The Royal Oak Foundation.

For centuries, architects have used travel to fuel their cultural and artistic education. From the late 17th to early 19th century, the Grand Tour of Greek and Roman sites of antiquity was de rigeur for any architect, providing a finishing school for young men wishing to round off their academic training.

However, the 19th century witnessed travels further afield, with architects venturing to Southern Spain, the Middle East and India, seeking inspiration from Ancient Egypt or the Islamic world. J.D. Crace’s Egyptian drawings, James Fergusson’s studies of Indian architecture, and Christopher Dresser’s designs from Japan among others transformed European and English collecting habits and influenced design taste. They also created new fields of architectural discourse.

Today, the ambition and hunger for architectural travel has continued to evolve. Rather than visiting Athens and Rome to discover the classical world, architects now travel to places such as Lagos and Dhaka to understand contemporary urban planning. These wider global influences can be seen in the work of architects such as Jean Nouvel and David Adjaye.

Abraham Thomas

Using objects from the Royal Institute of British Architects’ collection, Abraham Thomas will illustrate various journeys undertaken by designers in the past 300 years, demonstrating how these adventures expanded and enriched the creative and intellectual imagination—resulting in buildings that have changed the architectural landscape of London, Paris, New York and the rest of the world.

Please note: Ticketing for this program is being handled by The Royal Oak Foundation. Register above or call Robert Dennis at 800.913.6565, ext. 201. CAF members: Call the CAF Tour Center at 312.922.TOUR (8687) to receive a discount code for the member price.


Lecture Hall at Chicago Architecture Foundation
224 S. Michigan Ave.
Chicago , IL United States
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