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Alison and Peter Smithson: The Duo that Led British Brutalism

Wife and husband pair Alison (22 June 1928 – 16 August 1993) and Peter Smithson (18 September 1923 – 3 March 2003) formed a partnership that led British Brutalism through the latter half of the twentieth century. Beginning with a vocabulary of stripped-down modernism, the pair were among the first to question and challenge modernist approaches to design and urban planning. Instead, they helped evolve the style into what became Brutalism, becoming proponents of the "streets in the sky" approach to housing.

Collective Design: Alison & Peter Smithson

Between 1973 and 1975, Alison and Peter Smithson, published a series of seven articles in Architectural Design questioning the unity of the architectural form, as well as their commitment as architects. In recognition of the inevitable cultural fragmentation of society, they question the collective dimension of their work and their relationship with the community.

Texts: Peter & Alison Smithson | Commentary: Marc-Antoine Durand, Xavier Van Rooyen | Interviews: Dirk Van Den Heuvel, Peter Murray | Translations: Francis Guevremont, Ian Monk | Graphic design: Matthieu Becker

Français / English, 192 pages + 2 bookmarks

What Can Be Learnt From The Smithsons' "New Brutalism" In 2014?

Sheffield born Alison Gill, later to be known as Alison Smithson, was one half of one of the most influential Brutalist architectural partnerships in history. On the day that she would be celebrating her 86th birthday we take a look at how the impact of her and Peter Smithson's architecture still resonates well into the 21st century, most notably in the British Pavilion at this year's Venice Biennale. With London's Robin Hood Gardens, one of their most well known and large scale social housing projects, facing imminent demolition how might their style, hailed by Reyner Banham in 1955 as the "new brutalism", hold the key for future housing projects?

Robin Hood Gardens, London. Image Courtesy of John Levett - http://www.flickr.com/photos/joseph_beuys_hat/Robin Hood Gardens, London. Image Courtesy of Amanda Vincent-Rous - http://www.flickr.com/photos/51746218@N03/Drawing at the 2014 Venice Biennale, Alison & Peter Smithson (1963). Image © James Taylor-FosterRobin Hood Gardens, Alison and Peter Smithson+ 8