Tuesday, 23 October 2012


Last week I took a book out of my local library called "The New Brutalism". When I checked the loan stamps, the last time that someone took it out of the library was November 1967, which just goes to show how little we think of 1960s Brutalist architecture.

This book opens up a strange world of concrete which has all but disappeared from our towns and cities. I can't understand why Le Corbusier revelled in the rough texture of, what I would call, badly executed concrete and brick but which purists might call raw, untreated materials. He was either preoccupied with speed and putting up a building quickly or dissatisfied with the plainness that resulted from the flat planes in monolithic blocks. Maybe someone else can explain it to me?

I was so surprised in this 1966 book to see "brise soleil" on many concrete buildings, as I thought that this was largely a new phenomenon. How wrong I was!

The main reason why I took this book out was to research a building I am working on, built in 1965.  I also bought several more obscure rare books - Elain Harwood's “A guide to Post War Listed Buildings" (2000) and Trevor Dannatt's "Modern Architecture in Britain" (1959).  I think these are a good basis for anyone researching influences on British buildings of the 1950s and 1960s.

The Albert Hall (not that one!)

This week I am trying out a new method for a Heritage Impact Assessment on a fabulous building called the Albert Hall in Manchester.  My photos don't do it justice and there are plenty of blogs out there which do (see this link - http://theskyliner.org/post/31389360454/albert-hall-manchester-skyliner )

This is the second Edwardian Baroque building I have worked on this year, and mighty interesting they are too, with lavish theatrical interiors.  If you want to get a flavour of these visit some of the music halls of the first decades of the twentieth century, such as Buxton Opera House, originally built as a music hall, but now raised in status to an opera house.