Centerbrook Architects Lecture Series

Published on November 5th, 2012

The Centerbrook Architects Lecture series began its fifth season this fall with a slate of eight prominent presenters, including, of course, many architects, but also an architectural historian, a filmmaker, and a garden and landscape designer. The illustrated talks are held in the Essex Town Hall and are part of the many programs offered by the Essex Library. They are free to the public. Please call the Essex Library (860) 767-1560 to register for any of the upcoming programs.

Acclaimed gardener and landscape wizard Louis Raymond kicked off the season with his lively exposition “More Colorful than Ever” in early October. Raymond, who was making his third presentation in three years, is often featured in design magazines such Good Housekeeping and Metropolitan Home. The lively talk chronicled Raymond’s thirty-plus years exploring color in his life and his garden. For more information on Raymond visit or

The schedule for the upcoming season is as follows:

Professor Stephen Schreiber, FAIA
“Engaged Design”
Friday, December 7th at 7 p.m. at the Essex Town Hall

Stephen Schreiber will discuss models for architecture education
that strengthen exchanges between academia, the profession and communities. Schreiber is the director of new Architecture+Design Program at UMass Amherst, an interdisciplinary, collaborative program that embraces spirited, socially progressive, and environmentally responsive design. He is a graduate of Dartmouth College (BA) and Harvard University (Master of Architecture) and has served as dean/director at the school of architecture at the University of South Florida, and director of the architecture program at the University of New Mexico. His research and professional work has been published in numerous journals. Schreiber was the 2005-06 President of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA). He is a member of the Massachusetts Board of Registration of Architects.

John Morris Dixon, FAIA
"What's Next Door: How buildings can relate to context."
January 11th at 7 p.m. at the Essex Town Hall

There are various ways buildings have of relating, including contrasting. And there are evolving attitudes: committed early Modernists intended to replace what was around their buildings, so defied the context as a matter of principle. That attitude soon began to be tempered by the reality that the context was going to stay around a while. We see Mies van der Rohe at the Seagram Building responding in interesting ways to the neighboring fabric; Eero Saarinen at MIT recalling geometries and surfaces of existing neighbors; Frank Gehry doing a fascinating variation on neighboring buildings on the Prague riverfront. One must acknowledge that context isn't entirely about physical context: there are other socio-economic-cultural considerations as well.

Architect Bill Chilton, FAIA
Friday, February 8, 7 p.m. at the Essex Town Hall

William Chilton has directed projects for leading corporate and institutional clients worldwide including the world headquarters for Eaton Corporation (LEED Gold) in Cleveland, Ohio; Devon Energy World Headquarters in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; 900 New York Avenue (LEED Gold) in Washington D.C.; ExxonMobil Office Complex in Houston, Texas; the US Environmental Protection Agency Headquarters (LEED Gold) near Washington D.C.; AIM Corporate Headquarters in Houston, Texas; and CaIPERS Headquarters Complex (LEED Gold) in Sacramento, California.

Dr. Chuck Benson
Friday, March 8, 7 p.m. at the Essex Town Hall

Dr. Benson has been teaching Art and Architectural History for more than twenty five years at various universities and colleges across the United States, and has led groups to explore and visit a variety of sites in Italy, England, Scotland, France, Spain, Austria, Germany, Greece and Turkey. He also has led art and architecture trips to New York City, Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Los Angeles. Our Essex Library audiences have enjoyed his lectures on Edward Lutyens, Gian Loernzo Bernini and Antonio Gaudi.

Jake Gorst
Friday, April 12, 7 p.m. at the Essex Town Hall

Jake Gorst is an Emmy® award winning producer and director. Of his documentary film, "Leisurama" (2005), New York Times writer Alastair Gordon said, "Jake Gorst's documentary a compelling look at American culture in the 1950s and 1960s. While the filmmaker has chosen to focus on an amusing marketing concept in affordable housing, he goes out of his way to explain the broader cultural implications of the Cold War and US-style capitalism. Leisurama is a refreshing look at an important era without the usual clichés." Recent film productions include the Emmy award-winning documentary "Farmboy" (2006), currently in national PBS broadcast distribution, "The Rise and Fall of Books", "Journeyman Architect: The Life and Work of Donald Wexler", and associate production on "Andrew Geller: A Spatial Encounter". Jake Gorst is a contributing writer to VOX, HOME Miami and Modernism magazines. You may view the Modern Tide trailer here.

Robert Orr, FAIA
Friday, May 3 at 7 p.m. at the Essex Town Hall

Robert Orr is an award-winning architect, urbanist, educator, lecturer and writer. He was educated at the University of Vermont and Yale University, from which he received his Master of Architecture degree. He collaborated with Andres Duany and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk at Seaside in the early 80s, leading him to become a Founder of the Seaside Institute. His serves in professional roles nationwide. He was a founder of the New Urbanism and serves on multiple boards including 1000 Friends of Connecticut and Liberty Community Services, a program providing housing for homeless people with AIDS. He lectures around the country and his writings on architecture have been published in books, magazines, and newspapers nationwide as well.

Architect Louis Pounders, FAIA,
"A View from the American Academy in Rome: the Tiber & the City"
Friday, May 31 at 7 p.m. in the Essex Town Hall.

The American Academy in Rome awards the Rome Prize to a select group of artists and scholars, who are invited to Rome to pursue their work in an atmosphere conducive to intellectual and artistic freedom, interdisciplinary exchange, and innovation. Louis R. Pounders was selected to be a part of this distinguished group in the spring of 2012. His talk will focus on the Academy's history and mission, and his research on the Tiber River and its effect on urban development in Rome, with ideas on how riverine cities in the U.S. can better develop their urban planning.