The Penguin Pool, London Zoo

London, UK Berthold Lubetkin with Ove Arup (1934) Berthold Lubetkin’s seminal Penguin Pool at the London Zoo was an early demonstration of Modernism as a new direction for architecture, and a triumphal showcase of the creative and expressive possibilities of concrete. The pool was built in 1934 by Lubetkin and his firm Tecton, in collaboration… Read More

Ghost Subway : a time capsule at Euston’s Lost Tunnels

You’re a ghost on the highway And I’ll love you forever Ghost Highway by Mazzy Star The derelict station at the corner of Melton St. and Drummond St. is partially hidden behind construction fencing. The craftmanship on display is worth a closer look : purple red sang-de-boeuf terracotta tiles cover the boarded up ticket hall.… Read More

Finsbury Health Centre

Finsbury, London, UK Berthold Lubetkin (1938) In the 1930s the Borough of Finsbury commissioned Berthold Lubetkin’s firm Tecton to deliver a health centre of radical design. The H-shaped building resembled no other hospital that had ever been built before, and encapsulated the technical and aesthetic elements of Modernism. It was a luminous, progressive building, designed… Read More

Hille House

Watford, UK Erno Goldfinger (1961) Hungarian-born Erno Goldfinger first deployed his tell-tale coloured glass slits at Watford’s Hille House, an office and factory he built between 1959-61. It wasn’t a chance collaboration : the Hille furniture company has an illustrious history in modernist furniture design – including the signature Polyside and Hille chairs, and not… Read More

Colechurch House

London, UK E.G. Chandler for the City of London (1973) Colechurch House is a Brutalist office block standing between the Mordor-esque Shard and river Thames, close to London Bridge. In addition to office space, it features shops, a car park, and accommodation in several levels, connected by an elevated walkway and a flight of stairs.… Read More

Lecture Theatre Block, Brunel University

Uxbridge, UK John Heywood for Sheppard, Robson and Partners (1966) The Grade II listed Lecture Theatre Block was built in 1966 by John Heywood for Richard Sheppard, Robson and Partners as part of Phase I of Brunel University’s new campus. It has been immortalised in Stanley Kubrick’s 1971 ‘A Clockwork Orange’ as the hospital building… Read More

The Elephant & Rhinoceros Pavilion, London Zoo

London, UK Sir Hugh Casson (1965) A series of circular brick pens arranged around a central viewing area, with an S-shaped walkway weaving through it. The paddock features a pick-hammered concrete shell – possibly imitating an elephant’s hide – ribbed to dissuade the animals from damaging the structure. The ensemble features conical copper roofs that… Read More

The Dinosaur Court

London’s fantastical Victorian bestiary of prehistoric creatures remains awe inspiring despite its age A few years ago, I spent a morning in south London, looking for the beautiful remains of Crystal Palace – one of the grand feats of engineering that epitomised the Victorian era. Joseph Paxton, the renowned Victorian gardener and architect, was behind… Read More

Brutalism For Beginners

We will walk around London, visit a great number of sites, learn a bit about concrete and its historic and social significance, and spend time admiring and photographing them at most dramatic angles. Loved by some, loathed by others, the rugged urban fortresses we will be locating are excellent examples of the most influential architectural… Read More