Architect endorsements



John F.C.Turner,  a distinguished architect planner/ writer/ advocate/ teacher who developed a pioneering approach to user-build approaches to low cost housing and settlements within developing countries. His writings and advocacy have had global influence.




‘Your marvellous book arrived and I have spent two hours skating around in it, looking forward to exploring its many dimensions. I am reeling and revelling in your text right now. It would be too easy to say why but there is so much in it that I will want to tell many friends that I can't risk leaving any part unseen or unread.’




John Ashdown, Oxford City Council Conservation Officer 1972-2000. John has a deep knowledge of Oxford and its architecture and urban design.  He is a trustee of the Oxford Preservation Trust . Author: The Buildings of Oxford  (1980)




A great pleasure to read your wonderful book ’Experiencing Oxford’.  A finely made personal product indeed.  We are both enjoying it in retired Begbroke, wondering from where you get all the energy, let alone the skills. Congratulations!’




Ellen Clayton, Architectural Student, Edinburgh University




 ‘As a second-year architecture student who grew up in Oxford, ‘Experiencing Oxford’ offers precious insights into how one can explore and understand the city from a multisensory perspective. Your book beautifully captures moments and details- whether it be describing the sequence of smells and aromas which guide us through the Covered Market or capturing the gentle reflection on the cobbled roads when approaching Radcliffe Square. It reminds me to slow down and pause once in a while, rather than rushing through the busy Oxford streets and really appreciate the abundance of senses that the city provokes. ‘




 Simon Davis, Architect, Kew. Simon contributed a series of sketches of St Catherine’s College to Experiencing Oxford (pages  212-213)




 ‘Ian Davis brings his infectious enthusiasm and love of Oxford to this beautiful collection of writing and drawings. Through his Architect’s eye the spatial and experiential qualities of this City are celebrated, and its history is vibrantly brought to life. The book offers a comprehensive set of watercolours warmly evoking the spaces, qualities, light and sense of place of this treasured City. 


This lovely book will be enjoyed by everyone with an appreciation of the City, and the vibrant experiential life captured within.’ 



   Maggie Stephenson, Architect, Disaster Reconstruction Consultant, Dublin, Ireland




‘…the book looks great in real life, like a big box of chocolates with lots to choose from and more layers beneath.’



Juhani Pallasmaa, a leading Finnish architect, Professor Emeritus Aalto University, Helsinki is the author of definitive books concerning a sensory approach to Architecture and Urban Design including: The Eyes of the Skin, Architecture and the Senses (1996)  He wrote the Foreword to Experiencing Architecture (page 7)




‘Ian Davis fuses landscapes and urban views, details of buildings, historical narratives and facts and comments of other writers, with his personal perceptions and recollections. The author’s beautifully executed watercolour paintings open up a rich sensory and sensual world which evokes the authority of the real…Ian Davis’s paintings and photographs zoom from landscapes to plants and singular flowers.’  




Ian Salisbury is an Oxford based architect specialising in legal aspects of the profession, as well as being the architect responsible for Leicester Cathedral. Ian was a student of Ian Davis in Oxford Polytechnic in the 1980’s.




‘…I fear that our copy will very soon become well-thumbed and dog-eared, for it is a treasure. It is most decidedly a dipping book – and if it opens on the same page as before no matter, for there is so much to enjoy. Of course, we know your routes and all the buildings you have illustrated, so we can follow the trails without walking them; but it’s great fun to see what you see in the same place, and to marvel at your unusual viewpoints. Congratulations Ian, a brilliant and hugely entertaining achievement. You have given us hours to enjoy.’




Dan Fox grew up in Oxford and studied in the Ruskin School of Art in Oxford University.   Dan is an artist/ Turner Prize assessor/ writer/editor at large- ‘Frieze’ Magazine based in New York City




‘…the idea that you would build your architectural study of Oxford around 'experience' rather than marvelling at a few gothic arches or neo-classical facades, caught my attention. I was taken especially by the way you highlight harmony and discord as the structural characteristics of the city's architecture and reveal all the gushing about 'unity' to be faintly ridiculous if one really looks closely.


I thought the metaphor of the geode was a good one (page 211) - a structure with contrasting interiors and exteriors. Applying Robert Venturi's postmodern criteria to the city makes a lot of sense to me (page 111) Oxford's buildings are such a mishmash of periods, styles, and thereby of ideologies too. I also enjoyed the ways in which the book deftly encourages the reader to keep moving their gaze from small details (door handles, the play of light on water) to a broader, macroscopic perspective (literally so, with the section on the first aerial flight over the High Street).


Your book does a great job of being both a functional guide to Oxford, and a reminder that we must see the city in a much bigger context, one that productively complicates the notions of misty-eyed folk who stumble out of the King's Arms after one-too-many ales and declare Oxford to be a masterpiece of poetic intent, as harmonically poised and mathematically perfect as a Bach sonata.


One final remark - your watercolours are beautifully executed… so hats off for making it look so easy. Congratulations again on the book, it's one I know I shall enjoy returning to and dipping in and out of for a long time to come.’




Luke Jacob, Architectural historian, Listing Advisor - Historic England. Luke contributed to Experiencing Oxford with a description of Oxford’s Sensory Public Houses (pages 310-311




‘Evocative and insightful, this personal and lovingly-produced portrait of Oxford is the perfect companion to the City. The vivid watercolours, the experiential walks and the wonderful recollections, by turns fascinating, moving, and even hilarious (see the 'incident' in the Turf Tavern courtyard in the summer of 1983, Page 28), are the distillation of half a century immersed in all things Oxford.'