The Brunswick Centre – an early experiment in planned mixed-use development of housing with retail and commercial uses – occupies a city block between the Russell and Brunswick Square Gardens, with Coram’s Fields lying to the east. The centre is well served by the nearby Russell Square underground station. (academyofurbanism)
The site was originally occupied by Georgian townhouses on the estate of the Foundling Hospital. During the mid 1950s this was bought by a private developer whose plan from the outset was to clear the site to make way for two 25-storey tower blocks containing luxury flats and retail. These proposals were resisted by the borough of Camden and the developer was recommended to the consult the renowned post-war architect Leslie Martin. He championed low rise development and maintained that an equal density of development could be achieved on the site with two parallel blocks. At this stage he handed the project to Patrick Hodgkinson to take forward. (academyofurbanism)
Development commenced in 1967 and was finally completed in 1972. However, the original developer went bankrupt during construction and the project was sold to Sir Robert McAlpine construction. The housing element was bound into contractual obligations and completed as per the original design. After the 1964 general election, furnished tenants were given security of tenure, and Camden Council agreed to rehouse in social housing all existing tenants. (academyofurbanism)
The compound appeared in various popular media pieces such as in the movie The Passenger (1975) as Jack Nicholson visiting the centre and even the Finnish group Lodgers wrote a song for the Brunswick Centre. It has been more than a half of a century, it is still alive and kicking!
(Image Credits: e-architect, Guardian, londonist, academyofurbanism, timeoutlondon,
Collegio del Colle, Urbino (PU), 1962-1965
Collegio del Colle is located in the hills of Urbino. It is the first one of four university colleges realized by De Carlo between 1973 and 1983. The sloping terraces follow the land shapes. De Carlo tries the interpenetration between the shapes of architectural volume and the morphology of Urbino. This section represents a cell, which is composed by two bedrooms in two different floors.
This group of building is mainly made of exposed bricks; the main structure and the cantilevered elements are made of reinforced concrete. Even if his architecture is a natural inclination of the hills, the materials he used underline their strong presence in the landscape. (Claretta Mazzonetto)
The early “collegio del colle” is formed by a central nucleus with collective services, surronded by several groups of small residential cells, lying on a hill near the city of Urbino. Concrete and brick constructive elements are in harmonic contrast with the landscape. The following three groups of “collegi” (vela, aquilone, tridente), were added between 1973 and 1983, creating a organic ensemble. (Francesco Di Bella)
Giancarlo De Carlo (1919-2005) has been one of the most influential figures of the Italian architectural scene of the second half of the twentieth century. A protagonist of the architectural debate since the mid-1940s, De Carlo visited Urbino for the first time in 1951, invited by the dean of the university, the writer Carlo Bo, who, in the following year, commissioned him the renovation of the ancient seat of the atheneum in the historic center of the city. Such a commission marks the starting point of the long relationship that ties the life and work of the architect to the city of the Marches: the collaboration first with the university and then with the municipality is kept alive up to last years before De Carlo’s death. (detailsinsection)
Image Credits: sosbrutalism, istate, organiconcrete, wikimedia, spatialagency, divisare,
Middle East Technical University is located in Ankara and one of the prominent figures of modern architecture in Turkey. Its Faculty of Architecture building has recently received The Getty Foundation’s Keeping It Modern grant which is an initiative focused on supporting model projects for the conservation of modern architecture.
The Middle East Technical University (METU) Faculty of Architecture Building located in Ankara is considered the premier example of modern architecture in Turkey. Originally housing administrative offices and the university’s central library, the building was conceived in the 1950s to reflect a political agenda that valued innovation and new models for learning. Designed by Turkish-born architect couple Altuğ and Behruz Çinici as a manifestation of a forward-looking nation, the building incorporates striking nods to the International Style, as well as regional interpretations of modernism. In 1966 the building became the Faculty of Architecture. (The Getty Foundation)
Image Credits: SaltOnline, Cinici Architects, METU Faculty of Architecture Visual Archive, worldarchitecture.org, worldarchitecture.org
Erickson’s design was regarded as innovative in several key aspects. Its mountain top location inspired Erickson to reject multi-story buildings, which he felt would look presumptuous. Instead, Erickson turned for inspiration to the acropolis in Athens and the hill towns of Italy, where the mountain was incorporated into the design itself. This concept is evident in many aspects of the university’s design. For example, the manner in which the buildings are terraced to remain in harmony with the contours of the landscape and the emphasis upon the horizontal rather than the vertical expansion of the buildings themselves.
Another innovative aspect of the design was its rejection of the traditional separation of faculties and departments into individual buildings. In emphasizing the universality of the university rather than the specialization of knowledge, Erickson wanted to facilitate interdisciplinary work and a closer relationship between faculty and students. To this end, the design incorporated buildings which would house several departments as well as classroom space. This measure satisfied the practical requirements of both students and faculty by reducing the travel time between classes, as well as fostering an intimate learning environment. (Simon Fraser University)
Image Credits: Modernist Architecture, Wikipedia
Paulo Mendes da Rocha’s Brazilian Museum of Sculpture in São Paulo, Brazil is a simple yet provocative design that uses a large beam to give the museum a presence, while also fulfilling the need for shade and shelter for the exterior plaza. (Archidose)
Though MuBE took shape in the late 1980s, significantly after Brutalism’s heyday, it is a striking example of the Paulista School style—the international movement’s Brazilian iteration. As such, Mendes da Rocha—who received a Golden Lion at this year’s Venice Architecture Biennale and the 2006 Pritzker Prize—embraced the large-scale, bulky forms that raw concrete naturally facilitates, manifested in the nearly-200-foot beam atop the museum. Containing offices, an art school, and open, concrete galleries, the museum itself is built largely below ground, so as to respect the surrounding green space. (Rachel Lebowitz)
Image Credits: Archdaily, Danda, Artsy
The Barbican Housing Estate is a residential development in a central part of London called the ‘Square Mile’. The Square Mile is the historical centre of London, where the original city of the Middle Ages grew out from. It is called the Square Mile because the original fort wall that protected the City encloses an area that is roughly one square mile.
The Barbican Housing Estate contains 2,013 flats and houses, is built round a lake and a collection of gardens. It hosts the largest arts centre in Europe in the heart of the development, the Barbican Arts Centre. (The Barbican Housing Estate)
Image credits: barbican.org.uk, dazeen, urban75, thespaces.com, Walking Tour of Barbican
Residents on the Alexandra and Ainsworth Estate have made a documentary film exploring the ideas behind the design of their landmark estate and in the process interviewed neighbours, the architect who designed the estate and others. An intergenerational group of residents worked with arts and educational charity, digital:works, to decide on themes and questions to explore. Throughout the production the residents learnt practical film making skills, conducted interviews and operated the camera and sound.
Rowley Way speaks for itself. (rowleyway.org.uk)
Image Credits: bdonline, municipaldreams, greatbuildings, camden50, alexandraandainsworth, london-architecture, new-brutalism
Whenever space is enclosed a spatial sensation will automatically result for persons who happen to be within it… it is the artist who comprehends the social requirements of his time and is able to integrate the technical potentialities in order to shape the spaces of the future. – Ernö Goldfinger, Architect of Trellick Tower
Image Credits: Steve, Dorothy, Galinsky, Guardian