Brutal Britain: The Modern Past of the British Isles

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Great Britain is especially abundant in unique brutalist architecture. After publishing Brutal London in 2015 we wanted to have a closer look at the striking legacy of the post-war concrete architecture in rest of the United Kingdom. After three years of our architectural tours, in 2018 we illustrated and published Brutal Britain, featuring a selection of Britain's most intriguing post-war edifices and their press-out models to assemble; from the iconic slabs of Sheffield`s Park Hill and experimental tower blocks at Cotton Gardens in London, to the demolished Birmingham Central Library. The model of the latter was recreated based on its original plans so that the readers could rebuilt the edifice at least in miniature.

We are very happy to have Barnabas Calder, architectural historian, lecturer and author of 'Concrete Concept '(William Heinemann, 2016), on board for this beautiful foreword:

The mix of buildings represented by the lovely models in this book is splendidly diverse: social housing and educational buildings built for an expanding welfare state, but also speculative projects designed and built to maximise profit – a much larger proportion of postwar British buildings than is generally acknowledged, and, as Arlington House and No. 1 Croydon show, often productive of interesting and attractive buildings.

Cables Wynd House, aka 'Banana Flats' in Edinburgh. ©Matt Brown
The Toast Rack, Manchester. ©Neil N. Wilkinson

Diverse in their purposes and locations, the buildings in this volume are united by their designers’ excitement at the power of concrete and steel. They exude a confident sense that the present was better than the past, and that the future would surpass both.

Very sadly, shortsighted building managements and weak heritage protection for postwar architecture mean there is a real chance that, if you use decent glue, your models could survive longer than some of the original buildings did.
Park Hill Sheffield. ©Jerzy Kociatkiewicz

So build your miniature postwar paradise from the models in this book. Very sadly, shortsighted building managements and weak heritage protection for postwar architecture mean there is a real chance that, if you use decent glue, your models could survive longer than some of the original buildings did.

Arlington House in Margate. ©Zupagrafika

All the images featured in this post are included in the book Brutal Britain. Text extracted from the foreword by Barnabas Calder.
© for the images: their respective authors (see captions).
Header image: David Navarro & Martyna Sobecka ©Zupagrafika

Written by
Zupagrafika & Barnabas Calder

© Zupagrafika

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