Space, Hope & Brutalism (Elain Harwood)

Harwood

Inspired by my modernist mate Eddy Rhead’s recent book choice in the favourite five that he did for us I decided to track down a copy of Space, Hope & Brutalism myself. And just like Eddy says the research is peerless and the photography quite beautiful in this insightful look at English architecture between 1945 – 1975. Looking back on this concrete coloured era in this imposing book you appreciate the bold and beautiful buildings that successfully made the transition from architect’s head to skyline without becoming ‘monstrosities’. Despite the coffee table appearance of this book and the photo friendly subject matter the text actually rules the roost here with everything you could possibly want to know about mid-twentieth century architecture written in super sharp detail.

Despite my limited knowledge of architecture and my love of a thatched cottage, I found myself engrossed by both the sheer scale of buildings built as well as the variety. Take our very own Manchester for example which saw the Co-operative society building, the Free trade Hall, Piccadilly Plaza, ‘Ringway’ airport, Oxford road station and the toast rack pop up during this time. Makes it kind of hard to imagine just how different everywhere must have looked before this tsunami of creativity and concrete changed the lay of the land forever.

Post War Buildings. Coventry Cathedrall Church of St Michael, Priory Street, Coventry, Warwickshire. Chancel and tapestry by Graham Sutherland.

Post War Buildings.
Coventry Cathedrall Church of St Michael, Priory Street, Coventry, Warwickshire.
Chancel and tapestry by Graham Sutherland.

Post war Buildings. Trellick Tower, 5 Goldborne Road, North Kensington, London. General view of elevation.

Post war Buildings.
Trellick Tower, 5 Goldborne Road, North Kensington, London.
General view of elevation.

Post War Buildings. New House, Shipton Under Wychwood, Oxforshire. General view of exterior to house with Japanese garden at twilight.

Post War Buildings.
New House, Shipton Under Wychwood, Oxforshire.
General view of exterior to house with Japanese garden at twilight.

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