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2019 Programme Curatorial Events Digital Archive Festival Learning Performance Research

Watch again: The Architect Reads – The Wessex Project


In 2019, the IAF curated The Architect Reads, a series of readings as performances by authors who have studied architecture.


Few know that Thomas Hardy (1840-1928), novelist and poet, was also an architect and musician.

In May 2019 Nathalie Weadick, Director of the IAF, invited Kester Rattenbury, critic, author and Professor of Architecture at the University of Westminster, to present her book The Wessex Project: Thomas Hardy Architect as a performance.

This book argues that Hardy never gave up architecture but remained a potent, deliberate and influential critic through his huge fictional outreach. So what role did Thomas Hardy’s experience as architect and musician have on the development of his famous part-real, part-dream world of Wessex?

In this performance, Kester Rattenbury reads from The Wessex Project: Thomas Hardy Architect and is joined by Josephine Marsh, Mick Kinsella, Cyril O’Donoghue and Steve Larkin, who play traditional music collected by Thomas Hardy. The performance opens a conversation on how the musical and architectural constructions of Wessex seem to collaborate in practice.

This performance was recorded live to an audience during the International Literature Festival Dublin, 18 May 2019, in the City Assembly House, Dublin. Music was researched, arranged and performed by Josephine Marsh, Mick Kinsella, Cyril O’Donoghue and Steve Larkin.

Unedited recording by kiligproductions.com.

© Irish Architecture Foundation 2019