Shot of Richmond Riverside

Richmond Riverside, outside of London. (AVOE)

Richmond Riverside, outside of London. (AVOE)

This shot of Richmond Riverside, completed in the mid-1980s near London and designed by Quinlan Terry, is on the latest edition of AVOE – A Vision of Europe. It is so lovely that I decided to post it after posting another lovely shot from AVOE of central Beirut.

I visited Richmond Riverside in 1999. Before I left for London, I looked up Richmond Riverside in guidebooks. To my surprise, one of the guides identified the development as having been built in the 19th Century. Actually, I was not surprised but instead overjoyed, because the mistake played into my fascination with new architecture lovely enough to be confused with old architecture.

Professional preservationists will cluck that it undermines the authenticity of genuinely old places when people think new places are old, too. But who cares about “authenticity”? What happens when a new place surprises the public by emerging as lovely as old places is that the whole world becomes slightly more beautiful – the reverse of when a new place is built that looks like we’ve come to expect, with regret, that new places generally look like. That is far more important than a spurious authenticity of interest only to scholars.

I will put that old Journal column on the blog if I can locate it somewhere. Check back later.

About David Brussat

This blog was begun in 2009 as a feature of the Providence Journal, where I was on the editorial board and wrote a weekly column of architecture criticism for three decades. Architecture Here and There fights the style wars for classical architecture and against modern architecture, no holds barred. History Press asked me to write and in August 2017 published my first book, "Lost Providence." I am now writing my second book. My freelance writing on architecture and other topics addresses issues of design and culture locally and globally. I am a member of the board of the New England chapter of the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art, which bestowed an Arthur Ross Award on me in 2002. I work from Providence, R.I., where I live with my wife Victoria, my son Billy and our cat Gato. If you would like to employ my writing and editing to improve your work, please email me at my consultancy,, or call 401.351.0457. Testimonial: "Your work is so wonderful - you now enter my mind and write what I would have written." - Nikos Salingaros, mathematician at the University of Texas, architectural theorist and author of many books.
This entry was posted in Architecture, Development, Other countries, Preservation and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Shot of Richmond Riverside

  1. Anybody with integrity cares about authenticity.


  2. Clem Labine says:

    Amen to the comment about spurious “authenticity” that is of interest only to scholars. What is far more important is that Quinlan Terry has created a beautiful civic space that each day makes life a little more pleasant for the thousands of people who experience it. Not one in 1,000 passers-by will think to themselves: “Gee, I wish this traditionally designed area had been built in an anti-historical context-disruptive style.”


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