About Buildings + Cities
Luke Jones & George Gingell Discuss Architecture, History and Culture
2 years ago

56 — The Reactionaries — 1/3 — Interwar Anxieties

Come and see us record a live episode at Dulwich Picture Gallery on the 26th June! We'd love to meet you!

Modernist Architecture has always had more than its fair share of critics. In this episode, the first of a two parter, we discuss the reactionary, counter-revolutionary opposition to modernism in Britain during the interwar period. First, comes an examination of the stodgy, flag-waving, imperialist Classicism of the Edwardian era, which Luke thinks includes some of the worst architecture in Britain. One of the perpetrators of that style, Reginald Blomfield, wrote a patriotic screed against the continental, ‘cosmopolitan’ Modern architecture, which he subtly titled ‘Modernismus.’ We also examine Lutyens’ review of ‘Towards a New Architecture,’ a critique of Corbusier’s theory, but also a refutation of modernism as an appropriate style for living in. Lastly we consider the slightly outlandish ‘England and the Octopus’ by the eccentric architect Clough William Ellis, famous for designing the town sized folly of Portmeirion in North Wales. Fruity characters, problematic tropes and anxiety about a declining Empire abound.

In the bonus episode we will discuss the Evelyn Waugh's 'Decline and Fall.'

This episode is sponsored by The Article Trade Program.

Edited by Matthew Lloyd Roberts.

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