From Here to Modernity

August 22nd, 2011

Click image to see full Wordle

Kirsty Wark charts the rise and fall of the Modern movement from the 1930s to its fall from popularity, in three half hour programmes made for the Open University.

Here follows a comprehensive list of the buildings featured in the programme, in the form of stills.  It is not by any means a review of the programme but rather intended as an introduction by way of showing the content.

Title shot – click above for larger image

The link to the Open University details about the series is here:-

http://www.open2.net/modernity/


Part One – The 1930s

Mies Van der Rohe – German Pavilion in Barcelona Exposition 1929

Villa Savoye

De La Ware Pavilion Bexhill on Sea

Lawn Road Flats Hampstead – Wells Coates

Floor plan

Highpoint One Highgate – Berthold Lubetkin

Kensal House – Maxwell Fry

Ivor Flint – resident – “the flats are bright, they’re airy, I mean they’ve been designed really well because in the morning you get the sun coming through in the bedroom and in the afternoon of course you’ve got the sun coming through in your living room and kitchen.”

This is exactly what I experienced living at Aragon Tower on the Pepys Estate Deptford and reinforces the idea that a North / South orientation is desirable for a rectangular block of flats.

Finsbury Health Centre – Berthold Lubetkin

Kirsty Wark – “The smog deprived the population of sunlight and caused rickets in children, and homes were ridden with fleas and lice.”

Read my article on the Health Centre

This open reception desk is wonderful and looks as it should be for a health centre and yet I was in there the other day (August 2011) and whole thing was screened off in the most awful way like a high security bank.  Nothwithstanding my personal objection to this change it is nevertheless still a functioning health centre (just).


Part Two – Post war reconstruction

Spa Green Estate – Tecton – Berthold Lubetkin

The estate was the first to be constructed after the war and used concrete box frames in much the same way as Park Hill was constructed some twelve years later in Sheffield.

Unité d’Habitation Marseille – Le Corbusier

Festival of Britain 1951 – Hugh Casson, Leonard Manasseh, Leslie Martin, Misha Black to name but a few

Balloons being released during the Festival of Britain.

Royal Festival Hall – Leslie Martin, Peter Moro, Robert Matthew

Denys Lasdun – Keeling House

Alison & Peter Smithson – Hunstanton School

Cumbernauld New Town

Ronan Point

Following taken from A social history of housing, 1815-1970 by John Burnett

Download -> The Failure of ‘Housing’ by Nicholas Taylor – 1967 Architectural Review


Part Three – The death of Modernism

“A new generation was now living in the hundreds of thousands of homes that the Modernists and local authority  architects had built.  But this was a generation that couldn’t remember the war, or how bad things had been in the slums, the social climate was beginning to change”.

Robin Hood Gardens – The Smithsons

The Modernists were being blamed for the failures of construction companies and system buildings techniques that resulted in poor quality buildings.

Balfron Tower – Erno Goldfinger

Trellick Tower – Erno Goldfinger

“Despite its massive 31 storeys there are only ten public corridors and the two lifts need only ten stops, reducing the building to a much more human scale”.

Floor plans

“Trellick Tower was British Modernism’s last stand.  Too much had gone wrong and the high rise had fallen out of favour.  This was the headstone on the grave of the Modern Movement.”

http://www.guardian.co.uk/theguardian/1999/mar/11/features11.g28

Prince Charles “carbuncle” speech at Hampton Court and three years later his Luftwaffe speech caused ripples through the architectural establishment.

Post Modernism

The gratuitous use of stuck on detailing such as plastic pediments, columns, pilasters and coloured window frames leading to a cheap and tacky appearance that quickly dates.

 

“In 1988 the Conservative Government put an end to public spending on new housing.  Any chance architects had for pursuing Modernist ideals in public housing, were gone.”

Peckham Library – Will Alsop

Sky Houses – Marks Barfield (London Eye)


From Here to Modernity – important words and phrases list

Modern-Movement
German-Pavilion-Barcelona 1929
Barcelona Exposition
Ludwig-Mies-van-der-Rohe
Separation of form from function
Columns load bearing
Corbusier
Ville-Savoye Paris
Planning and landscape
CIAM
Bexhill-on-sea
De-la-Warr Pavilion
Serge-Chermayeff
Erich-Mendelsohn
Athens Charter
Wells-Coates
Lawn-Road-flats
Jonathan-Pritchard
Laura-Cohn
Highpoint-1-Highgate
Berthold-Lubetkin
Slum-housing
Shared-kitchens
Outside-lavatories
Kensal-House
Maxwell-Fry
Gas-light-and-coke-company
Finsbury-Health-Centre
Tecton
John Allan
World-War-II
Labour-election-victory
Overcrowding
Sanitation
Modernism
Finsbury
Spa-Green-Estate
Garchey-system
Unite-d’habitation
Skylon
Dome
Festival-of-Britain-1951
Herbert-Morrison
Leonard-Manasseh
Misha-Black
Hugh-Casson
Royal-Festival-Hall
Leslie-Martin
Peter-Moro
Robert-Matthew
Harold-MacMillan
Denys-Lasdun
Cluster-block
Usk-Street
Keeling-House
Hunstanton-Secondary-School
Alison-Smithson
Peter-Smithson
New-towns
Cumbernauld-Town-Centre
David-Cowling
Phillip-Aitken
Park-Hill
Tower-block
Ronan-Point
Poplar
Robin-Hood-Gardens
Vandalism
Smithsons
Balfron-Tower
Erno-Goldfinger
Trellick-Tower
Highrise-living
Hunslett
Nicholas-Grimshaw
LDDC
National-Gallery
Prince-Charles
RIBA
Hampton-Court
Michael-Manser
1984
Monstrous-carbuncle
Post-modernism
Mansion-House
Luftwaffe
Monumentalist
Canary-wharf
Will-Alsop
Peckham-library
Julia-Barfield
David-Marks
Skyhouses
Dorchester
Poundbury
David-Lunts

This word list forms the source of the Wordle at the head of this article.

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