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Thread: best building in london?

  1. #31
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    here we go...


    'An imposing art deco building, covering two and one quarter acres, it was built 1927-1933 as a memorial to the many Freemasons who died on active service in the First World War. Initially known as the Masonic Peace Memorial, it reverted to the name Freemasons' Hall at the outbreak of war in 1939.

    In 1925 an international architectural competition was held. One hundred and ten schemes were submitted from which the jury - chaired by Sir Edwin Lutyens - selected ten to be fully worked up. The winning design was by the London partnership of H V Ashley and Winton Newman. The building is now Grade 2 listed internally and externally and is the only art deco building in London which has been preserved 'as built' and is still used for its original purpose.'


    http://www.grandlodge-england.org/ug...asons-hall.htm

  2. #32
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    "Freemason's Hall, Great Queen St
    This mysterious and rather oppressive building hosts the headquarters of the United Grand Lodge of England.

    Built in 1927-33, the Masonic Hall covers two acres with the impressive Grand Temple at the centre of the design (they wouldn't let me take a picture of that)."
    Looks as though you are right. Annoyingly. I've always "known" that that was Hawksmoor - now why is that?

  3. #33
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    ah, the return of my favourite ever dissensus thread!

    Quote Originally Posted by IdleRich
    Dunno about favourite but every day on my way to work I go past 1 Poultry and that is absolutely hideous. When I found out what used to be there I almost cried, how was that allowed to happen?
    I'll see if I can find some pictures to back up my point.
    I like the Hawksmoor Church on Commercial Street that someone mentioned and also the Masons' Lodge that he did.
    no 1 poultry is fucking horrible. the reason why i tend to be scathing about pomo is that this monstrosity exemplifies it perfectly...a horrible grin of a building. actually one of the mooted plans for the site was a mies van der rohe tower- another masterpiece nixed by charles bloody windsor (cf richard rogers' national gallery extension)
    the culprit for no1 poultry was james stirling, who funnily enough was a leading brutalist in the 60s, famous mainly for this-

    before his apostasy (marked prob by the time he threw a drink over alison smithson) which resulted in loads of horrid ice cream psuedo-deco corporate progstrosities...

  4. #34
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    "horrid ice cream psuedo-deco corporate progstrosities..."
    It does look like ice cream. That building is truly horrible in it's own right and I hated it at a fairly low level for a while. Then one day I saw the picture of what used to stand there and I realised that it was more than just a bad building, it was pure evil.
    What's the thing in the picture that you just posted Owen? It's really good, hard to believe that it's the same person.

  5. #35
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    it's the engineering block at leicester (as was) polytechnic...

    on the subject of the smithsons...this, in poplar

    is sad and beautiful. v similar in its materials and general design to their economist building in st james'

    but being social housing, has been left to rot by the council- there's this blasted mound in the middle, like this little patch of scrubland with some burnt stuff at the top....

  6. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by owen
    it's the engineering block at leicester (as was) polytechnic...

    on the subject of the smithsons...this, in poplar is sad and beautiful. v similar in its materials and general design to their economist building in st james' but being social housing, has been left to rot by the council- there's this blasted mound in the middle, like this little patch of scrubland with some burnt stuff at the top....
    Out of interest, is anyone still building modernist-esque social housing that attempts to correct the assumptions of the 50's / 60's - especially, afaict (feel free to attack these if you feel I've missed the point)
    i) the oversimplified conception of social dynamics and of what people want from a home
    ii) that concrete will continue to look good for some time in a cold wet climate and
    iii) that local authorities will spend large amounbts of money completing all the details of the project and maintaining them afterwards?
    Or are we condemned to more and more generic semis that seek comfort in copying the basic look of older houses but without applying the craftsmanship, materials and attention to detail that makes them either attractive or pleasant to live in.

    I've seen a fair number of public, commercial and institutional buildings that rock a modified functionalism very nicely, but never housing.

  7. #37
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    that's not leicester polytechnic, it's "proper" leicester university. my sixth form college just pokes out in the bottom left!

  8. #38
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    Default we'll make plans for buildings and houses

    aw! but i thought it kinda appropriate...i just really like the word 'polytechnic'

    Quote Originally Posted by Slothrop
    Out of interest, is anyone still building modernist-esque social housing that attempts to correct the assumptions of the 50's / 60's - especially, afaict (feel free to attack these if you feel I've missed the point)
    i) the oversimplified conception of social dynamics and of what people want from a home
    ii) that concrete will continue to look good for some time in a cold wet climate and
    iii) that local authorities will spend large amounbts of money completing all the details of the project and maintaining them afterwards?
    Or are we condemned to more and more generic semis that seek comfort in copying the basic look of older houses but without applying the craftsmanship, materials and attention to detail that makes them either attractive or pleasant to live in.

    I've seen a fair number of public, commercial and institutional buildings that rock a modified functionalism very nicely, but never housing.
    these are very very interesting questions...
    i) can you expand on this a bit? cos this is for me a class question. eg, the barbican

    is socially considered a 'success', and is not coincidentally inhabited mainly by the very wealthy. the very similar (styllistically speaking) thamesmead development

    is considered a failure, and is inhabited by the very poor. the alienation 'caused' by these structures depends i think on the alienation the inhabitants already feel. but the 'social dynamics' are horribly complicated. the brutalists (smithsons etc) thought that their streets in the sky would be more attentive to the social needs of their working class inhabitants than the le corbusier inspired 'radiant cities' (eg alton estate in roehampton, with its masses of green space, its lack of a centre) and are now equally derided.
    ii) again some 60s types- the smithsons again f'rinstance- already made this criticism. but yeah it is an unanswerable one. something like the National Theatre

    i love dearly but have to admit a certain crapness when it gets damp...truth to materials perhaps not always a good thing...
    iii) will they fuck.
    as to the last point-- hmm well its conspicuous by its absence. no-one seems interested in the question of social housing anymore. i would love to see the capitalist constructivists like norman foster and richard rogers attempt social housing...or even the more touchy-feely likes of will alsop or david adaje...but its really not where the money is, is it...? there is this, in manchester

    http://www.newislington.co.uk/#
    but it looks a bit twee- taking anti-fuctionalism to a rather wilfully eccentric level; and also rather exclusive as well- rather like greenwich millenium village

    http://www.c20society.org.uk/docs/building/gmv.html: fascinating in a desolate, ballardian way, but by no stretch of the imagination social housing.
    one can't really conceive social housing without a concommitant idea of the social. and there, i would say, is the rub...
    Last edited by owen; 13-04-2006 at 12:20 AM.

  9. #39
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    the best thing about the drive to heathrow is
    http://www.artofthestate.co.uk/londo...ing_london.htm
    http://www.74simon.co.uk/hooverbuilding.html
    http://www.74simon.co.uk/hooverbuilding.html

    i like bermondsey and stratford stations too.

  10. #40
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    "the best thing about the drive to heathrow is
    http://www.artofthestate.co.uk/lond...ding_london.htm
    http://www.74simon.co.uk/hooverbuilding.html
    http://www.74simon.co.uk/hooverbuilding.html"
    Shame about all the Tesco signs though.

  11. #41
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    This impressive building on the Thames was originally built as the home of a parliamentary democracy. Other than being the venue for occasional commercial and heritage events, it has largely fallen into disuse.

  12. #42
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    ho ho. can i be the first to say though that, at the very least at a formal level, i fucking hate that building.

    ta for the hoover building pics luka. my dad's from round there...

  13. #43
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    in a similar vein, this wonderful thing in bloomsbury

    which i had always thought was originally a swimming pool, but was apparently a garage when it was built in 1931...is a v good spot there- senate house at one end, the brunswick centre at the other, the brutalist Unison building, british library and st pancras round the corner.

  14. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by owen
    ho ho.
    ha ha. who's joking? http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article...133349,00.html

  15. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by owen
    mainly by the very wealthy. the very similar (styllistically speaking) thamesmead development

    is considered a failure, and is inhabited by the very poor. the alienation 'caused' by these structures depends i think on the alienation the inhabitants already feel. but the 'social dynamics' are horribly complicated. the brutalists (smithsons etc) thought that their streets in the sky would be more attentive to the social needs of their working class inhabitants than the le corbusier inspired 'radiant cities' (eg alton estate in roehampton, with its masses of green space, its lack of a centre) and are now equally derided.
    Absolutely fascinating post. Have you got any recommended books on the subject for me? I've got a summer's worth of lunchbreaks in which to get some quality reading done . . .

    As for Thamesmead, it makes my heart glad to see it floating to the surface again. I spent a month there a few years ago and looking back on it now feels like a strange dream . . . Black & white television . . . reading Cities of the Red Night for the first time . . . a LIDL full of incomprehensible foodstuffs . . . a pony sticking its head out at me from behind a fence . . . some strange misty field—like a patch of ground for which no one had decided on a purpose—where there was a carboot sale and I nearly bought a pair of socks . . . the smashed up factory near the station . . . all the sharp, lurky angles of the estate . . . and also the feeling that the marshland was winning.

    I bet it's terrible in winter though. This was a summer and the weather was just perfect.

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