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The Environment of the Elizabethan House – Hardwick Hall

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Hardwick Hall in Derbyshire, built between 1590-1597, is one of the greatest houses to be built during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1. It was a collaboration between a remarkable owner, Elizabeth, Countess of Shrewsbury, familiarly referred to as ‘Bess of Hardwick’, and her architect Robert Smythson. The talk will outline research that has constructed a description of the environment within the house In the first years of its inhabitation. The work has referred to the surviving building accounts for the house, an inventory of its contents made in 1601 and contemporary descriptions of the climate of England at that date during the so-called ‘Little Ice Age’. It is suggested that the complex internal planning of the house within its strictly symmetrical exterior plays a key part in its environmental design.

Dean Hawkes taught and researched at Cambridge from 1965 to 1995. He was a founder member of the Martin Centre, the research division of the Department of Architecture, and was its Director from 1979 to 1987. He was elected a fellow of Darwin in 1976. He was professor of architectural design at Cardiff University from 1995 to 2002. Following his retirement, he returned to Cambridge and was re-elected a fellow of Darwin. His books include The Environmental Tradition (1996), The Environmental Imagination (2008) and Architecture and Climate (2012). His buildings, in partnership with Stephen Greenberg, won four RIBA Architecture Awards. In 2010 he received the RIBA Annie Spink Award in recognition of his contribution to architectural education.

This talk is part of the Darwin College Humanities and Social Sciences Group series.

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