The Disappearing Post-War Britain’s Architecture in Pictures

Starting a Fresh

During the early post war years the world changed dramatically. America was established as the world’s super power and the UK’s former territories of the commonwealth had well established their independence. Britain’s Empire State was in conflict with a new age. Expectations and attitudes were shifting and the whole world was in the grip of a massive drive to modernise.

After the war, Britain needed to convince the world that they were still in the driving seat on the world’s journey for what was to come. In 1951, the Festival of Britain exhibition offered Britons who had experienced a rationed and weary number of war-torn years a glimpse of a better future through new architecture, design and audacious feats of engineering. It had a huge influence on British society, kick starting a process of state-led reconstruction and renewal across the UK.

In Pictures
Pimlico Secondary School, Lupus Street, Westminster, London, 1971
Built: 1970, Demolished 2010.
Architect: John Bancroft for Greater London Council, Department of Architecture and Civic Design
Tricorn Shopping Centre, Portsmouth, Hampshire, 1965
Built: 1965. Demolished 2004.
Architect: Owen Luder Partnership
Detail of Trinity Square, Gateshead, Tyne and Wear, 1967
Built 1967. Demolished 2010.
Architect: Rodney Gordon for Owen Luder Partnership
ueen Elizabeth Square, Hutchesontown C, Gorbals, Glasgow, 1965
Built 1965. Demolished 1993.
Architect: Sir Basil Spence.
David Lister High School, Hull, 1965
Built 1965. Demolished 2012.
Architects: Lyons, Israel & Ellis
Cockenzie Power Station, Cockenzie and Port Seton, Lothian, 1971
Built 1967. Demolished 2015.
Architect: Robert Matthew Johnson-Marshall & Partners
Park Hill Estate, Sheffield, 1961
Built 1961. Currently undergoing extensive redevelopment, first phase was completed in 2011.
Architect: Jack Lynn and Ivor Smith for Sheffield Corporation City Architect’s Department

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Red Road Flats, Balornock, Glasgow, c.1969
Built 1969. Final six point blocks demolished in October 2015
Architects: Sam Bunton & Associates
Hulme Crescents, Manchester, 1972
Built 1972. Demolished 1994.
Architect: Hugh Wilson and J. Lewis Womersley

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All photography by RIBA Collections and their respective photographers

Our Recommended Read

Author Owen Hopkins  has explored the rise of 35 buildings, which were constructed between 1945 and 1979, and has examined how social, economic and political factors contributed to their destruction or regeneration – from Park Hill Estate in Sheffield to Hulme Crescents in Manchester. This was a period when many believed that architecture and innovative design could pave the way for a better future, and now thanks to Hopkins’s contribution we have a record of the movement before it completely disappears. Featuring works by renowned architects such as Erno Goldfinger and Peter Smithson, Lost Futures: The Disappearing Architecture of Post-War Britain is a 128-page visually pleasing must-read for all interested in history and design. Click on the image below for information.

Lost Futures: The Disappearing Architecture of Post-War Britain by Owen Hopkins
Published by the Royal Academy of Arts, 18 February 2017, £12.95 hardback

 

Architecture’s gender debate

Dame and Queen

Zaha Hadid: DBE by royally appointed title, ‘queen of the curve’ as described by the Guardian, a true inspiration to the architectural field worldwide. Taken from us last year at the age of 65, she left a legacy literally anyone in the profession would be exceptionally proud to have achieved in a lifetime. At the time of her death, Zaha Hadid Architects was the fastest growing practice of its kind in the UK. So why does the question of gender gap in architecture even exist? Is there evidence to support the theory that a male-dominated industry effectively drew a glass ceiling into the design of architecture? If so then surely now we are heading in the right direction when it comes to gender equality, aren’t we?

The polls are in

In February 2016, The Architectural Review published the results of the 2016 Women in Architecture Survey.

Salary figures suggest that the gap broadens between men and women as seniority increases. Women are paid £55,000 less than men at director, partner and principal level – a figure that has risen by £42,000 in the last two years. Female architectural assistants are paid £1,800 less than men doing the same job, project architects £3,000 less, associates £2,000 less, and female directors were underpaid by £12,700.

Across all levels of practice women were in agreement that their place in the architecture world had yet to be accepted. Just seven per cent of architectural assistants said the building industry had accepted the role of female architects.

The poll found that almost 30 per cent of all women surveyed felt they weren’t offered the same career progression as men. As seniority increases to associate level,  just half of female respondents reported a good work/life balance and just 45 per cent of those at associate director level think the balance is right. For directors and partners or principals this figure improves marginally to 55 per cent and 52 per cent, respectively.

An equal contributor to the poll, The Architects Journal revealed, “[the poll] paints a picture of a profession where a glass ceiling is firmly in place; women are penalised for wanting a family, and take the lion’s share of responsibility for the care of dependents; and sexual discrimination and bullying are rife.

Our opinion…

A contributor to the Financial Times’ article on architecture’s glass ceiling suggested, “Maybe we should get more women into Mining, or Offshore-drilling, or Fishing the North Atlantic… They’re all male-dominated industries, too…”. This point of view is neither here nor there as far as we are concerned as it has exaggerated and strayed from the issue.

Architecture shouldn’t and should never have been depicted as a ‘male-dominated industry’. Our industry, if we are to trust the evidence presented, must change in order to provide the same opportunities to everyone, regardless of gender.

If you are interested in a career in architecture, please use our Careers page to express your interest in working at MOAT Studio.

Architectural Design Process – How Architects Work

How do architects work?

People often wonder precisely what architects and building designers actually do – what they are paying for? Well, the short answer is design buildings… but there is so much more to our work that pretty pictures.

Very often clients think they only need help through the early stages – get us planning permission and out builder can do the rest! Sometimes that’s true, but there are so many decisions that cannot be made until much further into the process.

Then there are the really important issues, managing costs, maintaining quality and dealing with problems when things change or go wrong.

So, we have put together this infographic to explain the whole process:

Architectural Design Process Infographic

How Architects Work
Architectural Design Process

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As you can see the work up to planning stage really is just the beginning of the design process. At this point we will know what roughly what the building will look like, but we still need to understand how it will be built.

This is briefly covered in the building regulations stage, but when it comes to construction, the builder needs a lot more information – how do the different roof junctions work, what are the internal doors and what ironmongery to they use, how does the stairs fit through the floors… there are a seemingly endless list of questions and decisions to be made.

Sure, you could leave this to your builder to work out, but unless they are very good, then you are all to often going to get the cheapest and easiest solution, rather than the best for you.

Alternatively you can deal with these decisions yourself as they arise. That would work, but you have to be quick – in construction delays are expensive. And are you able to understand the impact your decisions might have later on down the line?

All the key decisions should be made before you get quotes from contractors. When you first seek quotes they are competitive, which means your contractor is going to give you the best price possible to ensure he wins the job. Once they’re on site however, you don’t really have a lot of options, so they don’t tend to be so careful with the pricing.

So do you need a full architectural service or can you manage alone? Well that depends partly on how good you are at managing and making decisions and partly on how much you trust your builder.

5 of Gaudis Most Inspirational Buildings

No other Architect has had such influence on a city, as Gaudi had on Barcelona. His unique organic style, inspired by nature is loosely based on the Art Nouveaux style with Moorish and Gothic influences. Unlike most architects, Gaudí rarely drew detailed plans of his work. He used three dimensional scale models, enabling him to sculpt them from his imagination. Six of Guadi’s buildings have been designated World Heritage sites, which is testament to his creativity and originality.

Casa Vicens

Completed in 1889 Casa Vicens demonstrates the Moorish influence on Gaudi’s work. The building was constructed using undressed stone and rough red bricks, and finished coloured ceramic tiles. The finish was influenced by the owner -Manual Vicens, a wealthy tile and brick manufacturer. The building is still used as a private residence, so cannot be visited by the public.

Casa Battllo

Casa Battlló is an architectural masterpiece inspired by dragons. This is most evident in the striking roof, with it’s pearlescent blue-green dragonscale tiles. Large vaulted ceilings and parabolic arches continue the dragon inspired theme throughout the interior, where Gaudi’s meticulous attention to detail is evident in every element, right down to the door handles.

Park Guell

Originally intended as a housing estate, Park Guell was at the time unsuccessful, with only two houses being built. Now however it is a must see for millions of tourists visiting Barcelona. Gaudi himself lived in one of the houses – although not designed by himself the house is now a museum, displaying many of his original works. In 1969 it was declared a historical artistic monument of national interest. The park itself is now a municipal garden, providing a peaceful haven in the centre of one of the worlds busiest cities.

Casa Mila

 

Casa Milà, better known as La Pedrera, meaning the ‘The Quarry’), was built between 1906–1912. It is located at 92, Passeig de Gràcia in the Eixample district of Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain. The design was very controversial in it’s time, receiving a mixed reception from local people. Many declared the buildings undulating stone facades and wrought iron balconies a monstrosity. Now however it is one of Barcelona’s tope tourist attractions and has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. From an architectural perspective the building is quite innovative, including many features that even today would be considered modern, such as the underground car park, steel framed structure, with curtain walling and of course the self supported stone facade.

La Sagrada Familia

La Sagrada Familia is perhaps Barcelona’s most iconic building. Work began well over a century ago, and continues to this day. It’s planned completion date is the year 2026 – 100 years after Gaudi’s death. To some La Sagrada Familia is the pinnacle of architectural design. A building like no other on this planet, from the mind of an unrivalled genius. The building dominates Barcelona’s skyline, however up close it can be a little difficult to fully absorb the building. Unlike many other great buildings – particularly those in Rome, which are usually set in a large Piazza, there is hardly any grounds surrounding La Sagrada Familia.

BIM – Solving the needs of future design

Credit: Anita Cooney, Gabrielle Esperdy
Introduction

Building information modelling (BIM) is simply a single digital model of a building that an architect, client, suppliers, builders, environmental managers – can work on. If you are familiar with Dropbox Paper, this is a similar concept.

At present around half of architectural practices use BIM. It is a growing technology in the UK which is set to be used in all practices in the near future.

BIM Explained

BIM takes away the traditional ‘line drawing’ of traditional architecture and replaces these with ‘smart objects’. For instance BIM programs such as ArchiCAD, AutoCAD and Revit make the link between traditional design and match it to building elements. For example a particular set of lines are used to signify windows. Because the program understands the building, it’s easier to make alterations and automatically update the models. This means that there’s no need to make a new set of drawings, making the process less repetitive, saving a lot of time.

Smaller architectural practices can now compete with higher-staffed firms.

The aim of BIM

Since April 2016, the UK government has required any public-sector project to use the technology, to document the process. The requirement throws down the walls between each of the professionals involved in the design and construction process.  In turn this simplifies the environmental planning in a building, making for more sustainable projects: 39% of those working in British construction (architects, engineers and surveyors) think it will lead to a 50% reduction in carbon emissions, according to RIBA’s National Building Specification.

The future

The future development of BIM will see designers entering their buildings through virtual reality technology before they’re even built and get a sense of their space, something that was impossible with computer-aided design (CAD) – a truly amazing thought among the architectural world.

On the downside

The downside of BIM depends entirely on its uptake and subsequent development by the people who use it. It’s restricted by the products that are available. Although some may say that this simplifies the process for everyone involved, there are often ‘happy accidents’ in design which turn out adding creative value.

Our thoughts at MOAT Studio

So, although BIM could stifle creativity it might open up the gap between commercial practices and design-led practices. The beginning of a fusion between designers and technologists.

While we still have the capacity to shape the development of BIM, we must consider how BIM will eventually shape our future environment.