Preserving Post-War Heritage: The Care and Conservation of Mid-Twentieth-Century Architecture

By Pendlebury, John | The Town Planning Review, September 2002 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Preserving Post-War Heritage: The Care and Conservation of Mid-Twentieth-Century Architecture


Pendlebury, John, The Town Planning Review


Preserving Post-War Heritage: The Care and Conservation of Mid-Twentieth-Century Architecture, Susan MacDonald (ed.), Shaftesbury, Donhead, 2001, 235 pp., £37.50 (h/b)

During the 1970s and 1980s in particular, architectural modernism and conservation were portrayed as conPicting forces. The collapse of modernism in the early 1970s was welcomed by conservationists appalled at the damage that had been wrought to British towns and cities in the previous decade, an experience paralleled in many other countries. Thus as the attention of the conservation avant-garde in the 1990s shifted to protecting architectural monuments of the period that had been synonymous with the desecration of British townscape it was an issue laced with controversy. It touched on old antagonisms and it was unclear whether public taste was ready to accept the listing and protection of Brutalist concrete structures alongside comfortable brick Georgian buildings. However, in addressing the protection or conservation of Modern Movement buildings conservationists were re-establishing the link with modernism that had been evident in earlier periods such as the 1930s when the MARS Group of modern architects had close links with the newly formed Georgian Group. It was evident that the listing of post-war buildings in the 1990s would be very selective, using criteria based on an art historical canon. In Elain Harwoodfs excellent survey of English post-war architecture in this volume, it is clear that the conservation movement is principally interested in the 'one-offsf, the important works of important architects, rather than the more banal but representative prefabricated and systems-built structures typical of the post-war period.

Preserving Post-War Heritage is the product of the 1990s conservation focus on the modern, the outcome of an English Heritage conference of 1998, succeeding a 1996 volume along similar lines, Modern Matters. It is organised in four parts. Part 2 focuses on technical issues of structures, materials and services. It constitutes over half the volume and is the least accessible part of the book to the non-specialist. The significance and problems of the conservation of concrete are evident in that four of the nine chapters in this section deal with elements of this issue. There are also interesting and, to this reader, novel contributions on services and plastics, this later covering the conservation of materials, such as GRP and uPVC often considered to be the bane of conservationists' lives.

Initially post-war architecture very often, of course, had a strong social purpose as housing, schools and so on were built as the public sector dominated construction in the physical creation of the Welfare State. The social issues connected with the architectural legacy of this period are most directly addressed in Part 3 of the text, which contains a series of case studies. Park Hill in She eld would be many people's epitome of where post-war housing policy went wrong. An enormous deck-housing scheme of almost 1,000 dwellings it has experienced significant physical and social problems in recent years.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Preserving Post-War Heritage: The Care and Conservation of Mid-Twentieth-Century Architecture
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?