In Appreciation of Dennis Sharp
by Richard England
The death of Dennis Sharp on May 6, 2010, has robbed the architectural world of one of the most eminent and prolific authors, critics and commentators of the 20th-century architectural scene.
Born in 1933 into a family of building contractors, architects and surveyors, Dennis initiated his architectural studies at the Architectural Association (AA) in London and later attended the University of Liverpool under Dr. Quentin Hughes.
Dennis Sharp's writing was particularly impressive, not only for the scholarly approach he gave to his material, but also for the clear and erudite language with which he expressed his ideas in the many areas of his expertise.
In contrast to much of contemporary journalistic and woolly "archispeak" writing, his contributions stand out for their lucid, articulate and clear vocabulary; he constantly produced intelligible, coherent and comprehensible texts. Always, he approached his tasks with total dedication and commitment, and his cultural baggage on the 20th-century architectural scenario remains unsurpassed.
His rich and vast bibliography demonstrates his scholarly command of the subject. His nearly 50 published books include Modern Architecture and Expressionism (1966); A Visual History of 20th Century Architecture (1972, 1991, 2002), a sort of illustrated bible of the new testament of architecture; and, in conjunction with Sally Rendel, a comprehensive survey of the work of Connell, Ward and Lucas (2008), the Modernist British practice of the 1930s, a period on which, without doubt, he was the leading authority.
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Dennis Sharp, a British architect, historian, author, editor, and educator, passed away on May 6, 2010, at age 76.
Photo: Courtesy Dennis Sharp Architects
One of Sharp's best-known books is Twentieth Century Architecture: A Visual History, an expansion of his earlier Visual History of Twentieth-Century Architecture.
Image: Images Publishing Group
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