Sunday, October 02, 2011

Not the kittens!

I have just finished reading The Stones of London: A History in 12 Buildings. Not a gem by any means - far too much broadbrush Tory-ish and not much of an edge - but I did think he had a couple of good points. One was in the chapter on Keeling House and Denys Lasdun, in which Leo Hollis makes the very good point that the Brutalists specifically didn't want to impose international style modernism on everyone but the reverse - they wanted to adapt modernism to the peculiarities of sites, communities, materials, and projects. It's quite possible that trying to be enormously localist and consult everyone is a great way to get things drastically wrong, eh, Pickles? There's no such thing as a Wharfedale shipping container.

In fact, some of Lasdun's remarks he quotes would probably please Prince Charles if only he didn't know who said them, and you might even think that part of the problem was the silly name. Although, I guess they said that about Operation KITTENS.

As a result, I guess I'll have to denounce comrade Hatherley as a right-deviationist.

Another one was about the fate of Victorian houses in London, and specifically the way that people buy them and immediately set about ripping out the interior walls, dragging the kitchen forwards from its kennel in the back garden, and building - essentially - an open plan, white-walled modernist interior inside the brick skin.

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