Happy Birthday Sir Giles Gilberd Scott!
Today we celebrate the birth of one of the masters of British architecture, Sir Giles Gilberd Scott. You may not be familiar with his name, but you will certainly recognise his iconic buildings, including Liverpool Cathedral, Bankside Power Station, Battersea Power Station and Waterloo Bridge.
Scott was born on 9th November 1880 into family of famous architects. It didn’t take him long to make his own mark in the world of architecture. At the age of just 22 his design for a new cathedral in Liverpool was selected from 103 applications. This was an immensely important project, for not only was it one of the biggest building projects in the country, but it was also to be only the 3rd Anglican Cathedral built in England since the Reformation in the 16th Century.
During his life Scott worked on over 45 church designs, extensions and restorations. As Liverpool Cathedral rose during the 1920’s and 1930’s, so did Scott’s reputation and he began to obtain commissions for secular buildings, such as Clare College Cambridge. He designed himself a new home, Chester House on Clarendon Place in Paddington, and this earned him the annual medal for London street architecture of the Royal Institute of British Architects in 1928. Scott lived at Chester House until his death in 1960.
Perhaps Scotts most widely recognised work was the K2 telephone box for the General Post Office. It was inspired by the tomb that Sir John Soane designed for himself in St Pancras graveyard. Over the years the design was refined until it became the iconic red K6. A version that became a fixture in almost every town. Over 60,000 were installed across the UK. We have our very own homage to the Scott’s ubiquitous design here.
In 1933 Scott was elected president of the Royal Institute of British Architects. He used this platform to urge colleagues to adopt the middle line: a blend of the tradition and modern. This is an approach he used successfully in major iconic projects like Battersea Power Station, which blended sleek modern Art Deco styling with four corner chimneys resembling classical columns.
Scott worked prolifically until the very end of his life at the age of 79. He is buried outside the west entrance of Liverpool Cathedral. Have a look at his full list of projects here. You may very well live close by to one of his many creations.