The Photography of Paul Oliver at Pitt Rivers
Long Gallery, Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford
What do we mean by ‘architecture’, and what does the term cover when we use it? Does it refer only to buildings designed by architects, or does it extend to all buildings? What explains the enormous diversity of architectural traditions around the world? And how can today’s architects learn from and respond to this diversity of architectural form, material, space and decoration?
These are some of the questions that concerned Paul Oliver throughout a career that spanned more than five decades. The author and editor of a range of influential publications including Shelter and Society, Dwellings: The House Across the World and the Encyclopaedia of Vernacular Architecture of the World, Oliver called for an inclusive and cross-cultural approach to architecture; one that acknowledges the intricate relationship between architecture, society and culture, and that recognises all buildings, not just those of specific cultures or those made by architects, as cultural expressions worthy of admiration, study and conservation. ‘Architecture’, he wrote, ‘is not the prerogative of a few nor the privilege of an elite; it is for all, and by all’.
Throughout his career, Oliver was as prolific a photographer as he was a writer. During his travels that took him to more than 70 countries in all continents, he took over 22,500 photographs that together capture the ingenuity, richness and diversity of the architectural traditions of the world.
Until 11 October
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