Timothy Hyde will address the theme of incongruity in modern architecture through an examination of a significant but largely unrecognized act of postmodernism: the installation of an altar sculpted by Henry Moore in 1972 into a church designed by Christopher Wren in 1672. The implications of this installation test and exceed conventional frameworks of explication such as intentionality or style, and in so doing open a view onto intricate exchanges between otherwise incommensurable registers of judgment. Unfolding the complicated legal and aesthetic history of this particular architectural, sculptural, and theological act suggests possibilities for considering facets of architectural postmodernity outside of the disciplinary frameworks of architecture itself.
Dr. Timothy Hyde is Clarence H. Blackall Associate Professor in Architectural History at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is the author of Constitutional Modernism: Architecture and Civil Society in Cuba, 1933-1959, and is the chair of the Aggregate Architectural History Collaborative. Hyde’s work focuses on intersections of architecture and politics, with a particular attention to entanglements between architecture and law in the modern period. His current research project, “Dread of Beauty,” examines aesthetic debates on ugliness in Great Britain from the 17th to the 20th century. His talk on St Stephen Walbrook is part of this research, which also includes his essay “Some Evidence of Libel, Criticism, and Publicity in the Architectural Career of Sir John Soane,” published in Perspecta. Hyde’s writings on modern architecture and architectural theory have also appeared in journals such as Log, Praxis, the Journal of Architectural Education (JAE), and Thresholds. Hyde has been a MacDowell Colony Fellow and his work has been supported by grants from the Graham Foundation. He received his BA from Yale University, MArch from Princeton University, and PhD from Harvard University.