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Denys Lasdun

BROWSE ALL FROM THIS FIRM HERE

Fighting the Neoliberal: What Today's Architects Can Learn From the Brutalists

09:30 - 10 March, 2017
Fighting the Neoliberal: What Today's Architects Can Learn From the Brutalists, <a href='http://www.archdaily.com/790453/ad-classics-barbican-estate-london-chamberlin-powell-bon'>The Barbican</a> in London. Image © Joas Souza
The Barbican in London. Image © Joas Souza

In this second installment of his revamped “Beyond London” column for ArchDaily, Simon Henley of London-based practice Henley Halebrown discusses a potential influence that might help UK architects combat the economic hegemony currently afflicting the country – turning for moral guidance to the Brutalists of the 1960s.

Before Christmas, I finished writing my book entitled Redefining Brutalism. As the title suggests I am seeking to redefine the subject, to detoxify the term and to find relevance in the work, not just a cause for nostalgia. Concrete Brutalism is, to most people, a style that you either love or hate. But Brutalism is far more than just a style; it is way of thinking and making. The historian and critic Reyner Banham argued in his 1955 essay and 1966 book both entitled The New Brutalism: Ethic or Aesthetic that the New Brutalism began as an ethical movement only to be hijacked by style. Today, it is a mirror to be held up to the architecture of Neoliberalism, to an architecture that serves capitalism. More than ever, architecture relies on the brand association of the big name architects whose work has little to do with the challenges faced by society, which are today not unlike the ones faced by the post-war generation: to build homes, places in which to learn and work, places for those who are old and infirm, and places to gather. We can learn a lot from this bygone generation.

Dunelm House student union building in Durham, by the Architect's Co-Partnership. Image © <a href='http://www.geograph.org.uk/more.php?id=2935919'>Geograph user Des Blenkinsopp</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/'>CC BY-SA 2.0</a> <a href='http://www.archdaily.com/791939/ad-classics-park-hill-estate-sheffield-jack-lynn-ivor-smith'>Park Hill</a> in Sheffield: left, in its original design; right, a section of the renovation. Image © Paul Dobraszczyk "Streets in the sky" at Robin Hood Gardens by Alison and Peter Smithson. Image © <a href='https://www.flickr.com/photos/stevecadman/3058342144/'>Flickr user stevecadman</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/'>CC BY-SA 2.0</a> St Peter's Seminary in Cardross, Scotland, by Gillespie Kidd and Coia, here shown in its original state. Image Courtesy of GKC Archive + 10

AD Classics: Royal National Theatre / Denys Lasdun

14:01 - 8 September, 2015
AD Classics: Royal National Theatre / Denys Lasdun, Exterior terraces. Image © flickr user chumpolo
Exterior terraces. Image © flickr user chumpolo

Royal National Theatre. Image © flickr user aguichard New exterior lighting at the National Theatre. Image © flickr user garryknight Detail of circulation towers. Image © flickr user goynang Ground floor plan as completed in 1976 + 8