Wren Conversations: His International Influence and Contemporary Relevance

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27 Apr 2023
St Mary Aldermary


From India to the USA Wren’s influence can be seen in buildings around the world. Ranging from the clapboard churches of New England to the city halls of Belfast and Durban. In this conversation chaired by Edwin Heathcote, architecture critic at the Financial Times, speakers will discuss whether Wren was Britain’s first ‘starchitect’ and to what extent the international ‘Wrenaissance’ should be considered the language of British colonial architecture. The panel will also consider if 300 years after his death, Wren is still relevant to contemporary architecture.

Ticket proceeds will go towards the Square Mile Churches and World Monuments Fund Britain.

Chair: Edwin Heathcote

Edwin Heathcote is the architecture and design critic of The Financial Times. He is an architect and designer and the author of over a dozen books including The Meaning of Home (2012). He is also the founder and editor-in-chief of online design writing archive Readingdesign.org and a columnist and contributor to a number of magazines, including GQ and Icon.

Panellists include:

Annabelle Selldorf

Annabelle Selldorf is the Principal of Selldorf Architects, which she founded in 1988. Ms. Selldorf serves as lead designer on each of the firm’s projects. Born and raised in Germany, she received a Bachelor of Architecture degree from Pratt Institute and a Master of Architecture degree from Syracuse University in Florence, Italy. Ms. Selldorf is a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects and serves on the Board of the Architectural League of New York, the World Monuments Fund, the Chinati Foundation, and the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College.

Selldorf Architects are currently working on a series of sensitive adaptations to a series of buildings at The National Gallery, London. Coinciding with the Gallery’s Bicentenary in 2024, the projects will create a world-class welcome to the millions of visitors it receives each year.

Loyd Grossman

Loyd Grossman CBE is an entrepreneur, author and broadcaster. Born in Boston in 1950, he began his career as a journalist writing for music publications including Rolling Stone, Fusion, and Vibrations whilst studying as an undergraduate at Boston University (BA).

He has a lifelong interest in history, the arts and heritage, receiving a PhD from the University of Cambridge and serving on the board of a number of cultural institutions including English Heritage, the British School at Rome and the Public Monuments and Sculpture Association. He is Chairman of The Royal Parks, President of The Arts Society and a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. He founded the 24 Hour Museum (now Culture 24) and was its Chairman until 2005. In June 2015 he was appointed CBE in recognition of his services to Heritage.

Alex Bremner

Alex Bremner is Professor of Architectural History at the University of Edinburgh. His research focuses on the history of Victorian and Edwardian architecture, with a special interest in British imperial and colonial architecture. His books include Imperial Gothic: Religious Architecture and High Anglican Culture in the British Empire, c.1840-70 (2013), Architecture and Urbanism in the British Empire (2016, 2020), and Building Greater Britain: Architecture, Imperialism, and the Edwardian Baroque Revival, c.1885-1920 (2022).

 Ticket proceeds will go towards the Square Mile Churches and World Monuments Fund Britain.

Supported by William J. Loschert KSG