Sir Christopher Wren
“Architecture aims at eternity”
1. In 1653 aged only 21 years, Wren earned a Masters degree from Oxford University studying the Works of Aristotle. Following a period of research he was appointed Professor of Astronomy at Gresham College in 1657. Moving amongst some of the finest scientific minds of the day Wren became a founding member of the Royal Society. It remains the premier scientific body in Great Britain to this day.
2. Wren was amongst the first of a new breed of architects in England. One who saw architecture as a means of expressing imagination and thought as much as it was a process of applied mathematics. Taking his cue from antiquity, his first design was the chapel at Pembroke College, Cambridge. From this point on, architecture became his overwhelming muse.
3. In 1666 most of the ancient city of London was reduced to ashes by a devastating fire. Wren submitted plans to rebuild the city but work was put on hold as many owners of the destroyed buildings would not give up the sites on which the charred remains stood. By 1669 Wren was installed as the surveyor of Royal Works and rebuilding immediately gained momentum.
4. Amongst his most famous works include the Royal Observatory Greenwich, Kensington Palace, Hampton Court Palace, Royal Hospital Chelsea and his most famous landmark, St Paul’s Cathedral. His works have influenced a great deal of architects up until the 21st century and provided the inspiration for the Queen Anne style design which became popular in England and a number of foreign countries including the USA.
5. Upon his gravestone in St Paul’s Cathedral is written in Latin: “If you seek his memorial, look about you".
6. Sir Christopher Wren was responsible for extending Hampton Court Palace at the request of King William III. A very similar design was used for Middlethorpe Hall, now a luxury hotel in York, which features the red limestone brick and forms the symmetrical horizontal silhouette that was typical during the reign of Queen Anne.