Nicholas Temple:Renovatio Urbis, Succession and the ‘Architecture of Hurry

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Join us for The Living Memory of Cities, a seminar series convened in collaboration with Eric Parry Architects and CUBE.

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Join us for The Living Memory of Cities, a seminar series convened in collaboration with Eric Parry Architects and The Centre for Urban and Built Ecologies (CUBE), London Metropolitan University.

Continuity and Succession in Renovatio Urbis

Nicholas Temple

Tuesday 8 February, 5pm

In this paper I will explore the issue of temporality in renovatio urbis; how buildings and their urban contexts register continuity of time in the civic, religious, political and commercial lives of cities. The tradition of cities throughout history to commemorate their own ‘renewal’, through civic rituals, religious feasts and ceremonies, has been virtually erased in most contemporary cities where temporality is seemingly an endless continuum of development and technologically driven ‘progress’, denuded of reflective (commemorative) occasions. One of the symptoms of this one-way trajectory of time in urban life is the loss of purpose and erosion of the participatory dimensions of civic space. Beginning with Renaissance Rome, I trace the material manifestations of continuity and succession in city-making, from where I then consider the issue of the ‘unfinished’ in the contemporary city, as a cultural and architectural expression of a restored renovatio urbis.


Nicholas Temple is an architect, Professor of Architecture and Director of the Centre for Urban Design, Architecture and Sustainability (CUDAS) at the University of Huddersfield. A graduate of the University of Cambridge, he previously served as head of the School of Architecture at the University of Lincoln and was an Assistant Professor of Architecture at the University of Pennsylvania. Temple was a Rome Scholar in Architecture at the British School at Rome, a Paul Mellon Rome Fellow and Bogliasco Fellow and has collaborated on research projects on the history and theory of architecture and urbanism in Europe and China. His most recent research is a British Academy funded project with Professor Cecilia Panti on Lorenzo Ghiberti’s Third Commentary. He was shortlisted for the International CICA Bruno Zevi Book Award in 2014 for his book Renovatio Urbis: Architecture, Urbanism and Ceremony in the Rome of Julius II (Routledge, 2011), and is chief editor of the Routledge Research in Architectural History Series and co-editor of the Journal of Architecture.

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The Centre for Urban and Built Ecologies (CUBE) at London Metropolitan University brings together architects, urbanists, artists and designers with collective research interests in environmental, social and cultural ecologies of cities. CUBE investigates relations between spatial contexts, social dynamics and sustainable urban environments, adopting methods of analysis that build upon the critical approaches to the history, theory and practice of architecture. These develop modes of understanding that are responsive to the complexity, slipperiness and interdisciplinary nature of urbanity today. Research draws upon a wide range of themes, topics and issues that emerge through productive exchanges between architecture and urban design, critical ecological studies in the visual arts, and architectural hermeneutics. CUBE provides a creative and intellectual platform for cultivating dialogues between historical, philosophical and critical perspectives on the city.

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