“THE JOB OF THE ARCHITECT IS TO MAKE THE ORDINARY EXTRAORDINARY”-Richard England
Richard England’s contribution to the post-war culture of Malta is unique. Visionary architect, artist, critic, poet and landscape designer, England is the personification of the fusion of the arts promised by the modern movement, but which was rarely delivered. Amongst his best known designs, his masterpiece, Manikata Church, stands amongst the most original works of regional modernism of its time.
Richard England’s importance to Malta is not only because he is a creative architect, but more so due to the fact that he is a multidisciplinarian individual, which makes him an intellectual leader …Malta is lucky to have him.
Richard England has the advantage of being a poet above all …the critical acclaim given to him by the International Architectural Press in Europe and America is a tribute to his high design quality and rare sensitivity.
Richard England, whose churches and sacred spaces have delighted and inspired his epochal church of St Joseph Manikata has created a body of work which is imbued with that memory and that instinctive understanding of an archetypal language of the numinous. Malta’s arid landscape and the blueness of its sea and sky seem to soak into England’s buildings, tinting them with golden sun and turquoise water, the stones imbibe the climate and radiate it back out just as they seem to absorb the island’s torrid history and mongrel cultural mix and reflect it back to the viewer in a trickle of moving set pieces and theatrical moments of recognition.
England is an architectural sculptor with a respect for the past and an admiration for the present.
In Richard England we have a magician of form, colour and chiaroscuro that makes him the architectural Caravaggio of our times.
Richard England has built numerous projects but what distinguishes his work in my view is his artistry. He has revealed himself as a master of connecting the sacred and profane by showing that sacred space is not something cut off from reality but is, indeed, its apogee. What makes Richard England special is whatever your belief, your nature, your religion – you will feel the accessibility to all that is spiritual.
Among my numerous colleagues and friends around the world, Richard England is one of the most passionate about architecture. However, England seeks the essences of things not only through architecture, but also through sketching, painting, sculpting, and writing poetry. His artistic diligence and versatility is not a projection of self-assurance or self-conceit, but a consequence of the intensity of his exploration.
When my wife and I first came to Malta in 1967 we were driving around the North Coast of the island when up on the hill towards Manikata appeared a large building which, from the distance looked as if it had been designed by Le Corbusier. When we drove up to inspect the building we found it to be a new church. This seemed to me so remarkable in a country where all the churches are sophisticated developments of Baroque that I asked who the architect was and was told it was Richard England. Bravo Richard!
Richard England is a master builder. His is an architecture which is local but also global. His language is a language of poetry.
Richard England rappresenta l’artista e l’intellettuale completo espresso dal Rinascimento. Grazie ai valori del suo animo esprime una sincera generosità e qui sulla terra e sotto il cielo, una profonda humanitas, ovvero una concezione etica che guarda all’uomo con un atteggiamento positivo. Ciò rappresenta il migliore lascito della tradizione mediterranea che rischiamo di perdere.
Richard England lancia messaggi …che di volta in volta si definiscono in base a quelle che sono le proposte culturali provenienti dalle centrali della cultura architectonica, con un timbro fortemente personale, il cui filo conduttore si identifica propio in cio` che potremmo definire il teatro del’architettura. Un architettura vista come occasione di individuazione di luoghi dotati di specifica capacita` di attrazione di una memorabile spettacolarita.
The spirit of Richard England, architect and teacher, has become part of the genius loci of our archipelago.
Richard England is a child of the Maltese Islands, the historical meanings of which have seeped into his ever fertile imagination. His is an extraordinary talent that invades many corners of the creative processes associated with the production of innovative and elegant buildings as well with drawing and print making, original music, reflective and poignant poetry, fine art and sculpture.
Throughout Richard England’s work there is invariably an inherent poeticism, sometimes pervading his buildings, often breaking out; and of course his own sculptural and graphic works provide a further outlet for his creative energy and talent, in abundance.