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Tony Fretton Architects, recent Lectures, Talks, Readings and Interviews

Form and Facades

Day 03 of the Architecture Foundation's 100 Day Studio: In this lecture on form and facades, Tony Fretton discusses the works of architects including Mies Van Der Rohe, Lina Bo Bardi, Alvaro Siza and Louis Kahn

Lewerentz and Anshelm in Skåne

Day 27 of the Architecture Foundation's100 Day Studio: Tony Fretton describes three projects built in southern Sweden in the postwar period - St Peter's, Klippan (1966) by Sigurd Lewerentz and Lund Stadshallen (1968) and Malmö Konstahall (1974) both by Klas Anshelm.

Louis Kahn: Imperfect Hero

Day 32 of the 100 Day Studio: In his third talk in the series, Tony Fretton returns to discuss the works of Louis Kahn. Kahn combined exceptional architectural and rhetorical skills. Sometimes his overt poeticisation of a brief seriously detracted from the performance of his buildings. At other times his combination of skills produced buildings of very great architectural merit and comfort. This is the dilemma that architects face, of distorting aspects of a brief to make architectural form or diluting architecture through too greater pragmatism. Kahn understood and thought about that dilemma, and his buildings and words present moments of exceptional quality from which we can always learn.

Távora, Siza, Friedlander, Winogrand

Day 61 of the 100 Day Studio: Tony Fretton returns to the 100 Day Studio programme to discuss the works of architects Fernando Távora & Alvaro Siza, and photographers Lee Friedlander & Garry Winogrand. The lecture is modelled on one that Tony first gave at the University of North London and the University of Cambridge in 1995.

Tony Fretton reads from his book AEIOU
Articles Essays Interviews and OUtakes

Day 66 of the 100 Day Studio: Bedtime Stories: Tony Fretton established his practice in London in 1982 and has gone on to build extensively across northern Europe. He reads essays on the work of Peter Celsing, John Glew, Adrian Forty an de Vylder Vinck Taillieu. The reading forms part of Bedtime Stories, a series of nightly broadcasts on Instagram curated by Alicia Pivaro.

Tony Fretton reads poems by Auden, Eliot, Mandelstam, Frost & Ginsberg

Day 44 of the 100 Day Studio: Tony Fretton reads works by 20th century poets, all of whom were modernists in varying forms: WH Auden, TS Eliot, Osip Mandelstam, Robert Frost & Allen Ginsberg.

The work of Tony Fretton Architects

Day 91 of the 100 Day Studio: Tony Fretton returns for the final part of his series throughout the 100 Day Studio, to discuss the work of his practice Tony Fretton Architects, which he establishrd in London in 1982. His work includes the highly influential Lisson Gallery (1991), the Stirling Prize-shortlisted Fuglsang Museum in Denmark (2008) and more recently the Westkaai Towers 5 & 6 in Antwerp (2016). Tony is a unit master at the London Metropolitan School of Art, Architecture and Design and Emeritus Professor Chair of Interiors, Buildings and Cities at TU Delft in the Netherlands.


Tony Fretton founded his eponymous architecture practice in 1982. His early work in London, including the Lisson Gallery (1986-1992), was influential in defining a new approach to architecture focused on urban context and daily life.

“By the time I graduated, London was completely different. It wasn’t opulent, it was poor, and punk was an attitude that accepted the nihilism of the state and of the city. All those songs by the Sex Pistols, they rang true, they weren’t just inventions. Punk was really important to me - punks were ethical, they had an idea of the world and it was about make and mend, about living in the margins, and that was the background from which I developed my practice.” – TF

Interviewed by  Matthew Blunderfield

Interviews with architects, artists and designers. Produced by the Architecture Foundation and hosted by Matthew Blunderfield.


In this episode Andrew Clancy interviews the architect and educator Tony Fretton. Since establishing his practice in 1982, and by example and instruction Tony has persistently made the case for the value of quiet and thoughtful architecture. This thinking was made powerfully manifest in his ambiguous masterpiece – the Lisson Gallery – makes a reading of its London context which is at once lyrical and scholarly, and does so in a manner respectful of its programme as a small gallery, and its civic responsibilities. When this project was completed it provided an exemplar for architects across Europe who were seeking a means to engage with history and context without recourse to pastiche and on the terms of contemporary tectonics. Its value remains today and we talk about this project at length in this interview. 

Interviewed by  Andrew Clancy

A wonderful companion to get to this project is the sketchbooks published by Drawing Matter. Tony continues to teach, and he reflects on the particular challenges facing young practitioners and students. He sets these against where he now finds himself, and the potential for continued discovery and reinvention in late practice – a rich tradition in the history of architecture. This was an impromptu interview in Tony’s office – apologies about the ambient sounds from the local school, which while joyful might make certain parts of the interview difficult to follow!

Register is brought to you by the Department of Architecture & Landscape at Kingston University // Head of Department: Eleanor Suess // Register Editor: Timothy Smith // Interviewer: Andrew Clancy // Audio: Justin Howard


Royal Academy ‘Forgotten Masters’

Tony Fretton and Ellis Woodman discuss the powerful, yet often overlooked contribution of James Gowan to twentieth-century British architecture.

In this podcast, the second of the Royal Academy's ‘Forgotten Masters’ series, organised in association with Docomomo-UK, Tony Fretton and Ellis Woodman discuss Gowan’s powerful, yet often overlooked contribution to the development of British architecture in the second half of the twentieth century.

You can follow the link below to listen.

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