The man who prized history

Tom Dyckhoff welcomes a travel fellowship in memory of the critic Giles
Worsley that will encourage the study of the architectural past

"So who was he, then?” the student asked me. Who was he?! Who was Sir
Christopher Wren, the greatest British architect? The man who defined
English Classicism, invented English Baroque, the one truly world-famous
architect that this country has produced?

The unfortunate questioner was a first-year architecture student of mine
a few years ago. It was like a first-year English student being ignorant
of Dickens. And it’s this kind of ignorance that a new award for
architecture hopes to combat.

The Giles Worsley Travel Fellowship, launched this week, will be awarded
each year to a newly graduated architect or architectural historian to
allow him or her to travel to the British School in Rome to study an
architectural subject of his or her choice. It’s been set up as a
memorial to the distinguished architectural historian Giles Worsley,
architecture critic for The Daily Telegraph, who died of cancer last
year, aged 44.

“History was Giles’s supreme passion,” says Michael Hall, the editor of
Apollo magazine and a co-founder of the fellowship. “His enthusiasm
spread from Ancient Greece to the most contemporary architecture. He
simply couldn’t understand why anybody, especially an architect, would
not feel the same.”