free read Concretopia 106

John Grindrod æ 6 review

free read Concretopia 106 Ï TOWER BLOCKS FLYOVERS STREETS IN THE SKY ONCE THIS WAS THE FUTURE Was Britain's postwar rebuilding the height of midcentury chic or the concrete embodiment of Crap Towns John Grindrod decided to find out how blitzed slum ridden and crumbling 'austerity Britain' became in a few short years a space age world of concrete steel and glass On Once Blitzed city centre of Plymouth the futuristic New Town of Cumbernauld Sheffield's innovative streets in the sky the foundations of the BT tower and the brave 1950s experiments in the Gorbals Along the way he meets New Town pioneers tower block builders Barbican architects old retainers of Coventry Cathedral proud prefab dwellers and sixties town planners people who lived through a time of phenomenal. I enjoyed this very much I'm probably less of a fan of the concrete stuff than the author is it really doesn't look all that nice and also I work in a mid 1970s concrete building which while it has nice clean lines and everything occasionally leaks spectacularly in unexpected places as the water seems to travel around in the concrete before unleashing itself without warning when it is no longer raining Having said that the whole planning concept is interesting today it seems to be a matter of uickly selling off publicly owned land for a developer to put whatever is flavour of the month on it student accommodation at the moment with no thought of long term reuirements or the community around the development whereas there was some vision and serious thought behind some of the 1950s and 1960s developments I realise I had a window into all this as a child as my father was a geographer with an interest in planning and retail location I doubt whether many of my friends would have spent an afternoon of a Scottish holiday going round Cumbernauld in 1972 as I did and I also still have the map given to us by the lady at the Milton Keynes Development Corporation in ca1974 when we went on a guided tour most of the present town was not yet built and the bit I remember from that trip is the bit which apparently hasn't aged too well This is a really good readable guide to what happened in post war Britain what has stood the test of time and what hasn't and the human aspect of that what it was like to live in the tower blocks c Highly recommended

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TOWER BLOCKS FLYOVERS STREETS IN THE SKY ONCE THIS WAS THE FUTURE Was Britain's postwar rebuilding the height of midcentury chic or the concrete embodiment of Crap Towns John Grindrod decided to find out how blitzed slum ridden and crumbling 'austerity Britain' became in a few short years a space age world of concrete steel and glass On his journey he visits the sleepy Norfolk birthplace of Brutalism the. 45 Stars“By 1951 eight million homes had been declared unfit for habitation of which seven million had no hot water and six million no inside toilet In 1949 a fifth of London homes were officially classed as slums For bombed out families crushed into sharing homes with relatives or strangers the relief of peace was soon overshadowed by pressing problems New homes were needed not so much fast as instantly” These damning statistics give us some idea of just how desperate the housing crisis was throughout most of Post War Britain “Concretopia” is not just a story about architecture or buildings it’s about the politics the philosophies and the property speculators the public and the architects and the builders who made it all happen Grindrod speaks to the architects the builders the planners and the residents of these buildings ensuring that we get a wide and deep overview of these spaces and not just one overriding impression set by one group of peopleHe really covers so much in here we get a great insight into the prefabs garden cities and new towns He focuses on the likes of Patrick Abercrombie in Plymouth Mary and David Medd’s pioneering schools in Hertfordshire T Dan Smith in Newcastle Richard “The Colonel” Seifert around much of the UK and so many As well as covering the usual Post War architectural big attractions such as Park Hill in Sheffield and the Tricorn in Plymouth we also learn about many of the lesser covered experiments like Cumbernauld town centre and New Ash Green in Kent Kudos must go to Grindrod as unlike almost every other contemporary English based architect critic he actually commits some reasonable time and attention to towns and cities outside of England which is deeply refreshing and gives much needed breadth and contrast to the overall subject Not only do we get a great chapter on Glasgow but we get another chapter dedicated to the much maligned New town of Cumbernauld which made for fine readingHe is also very good on the corruption which went on during contracts and deals scandals which included developers politicians and many other people further down the chain which was exposed thanks to the journalistic determination of Raymond Fitzwalter which eventually helped to expose the criminal activity of John Poulson and T Dan Smith and others We also hear about corruption north of the border in the so called Dundee Dossier caseThe Ronan Point gas explosion in 1968 signalled a huge turning point in the approach and beliefs around high rise flats in the UK as much of the poorly built structures succumbed to the harsh and bleak British climate as well as an increase in crime poverty and distrust the days of the high rise were very much numberedGrindrod like some of his fellow English contemporaries Owen Hatherley Rowan Moore Lynsey Hanley and Iain Sinclair has done a wonderful job of his subject This was an absolute pleasure to read and I learned so much and of course there was a treasure trove of names and books to hunt down This is a delight for fans of urban planning and 20th Century British architecture and it is also a book that will really appeal to those with an interest in social history The black and white photos add a lot to the experience and overall this was a hugely enjoyable journey by a fine author

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ConcretopiaChange and excitement What he finds is a story of dazzling space age optimism ingenuity and helipads so many helipads tempered by protests deadly collapses and scandals that shook the government Concretopia is an accessible warm and revealing social history of an aspect of Britain often ignored insulted and misunderstood It will change the way you look at Arndale Centres tower blocks and concrete forever. Thoroughly enjoyable well told and very clearly enthusiastically researched romp through the modernistbrutalist rebuilding of Britain absolutely delightful something to be savoured I'd have loved and clearer photographs of all those beautiful concrete monstrosities but that's a very minor criticism and there's than enough info there for one to follow up and research independently Not comprehensive by any means but that's hardly unexpected when the subject itself is so vast most valuable for its insight into all those good intentions for its portrait of a time in which public policy was indeed driven by wanting the best for the citizen however idiosyncratic or patriarchal any one group's idea of what best was might have been a time of enthusiastic and exploratory public commitment to serving the collective human good Great fun definitely whets the appetite for and Grindrod's love for his subject shines through constantly making it an absolute pleasure to read