More from Alexander Davidson
The Barbican and the Making of the Modern Office Building – Pt. 1
The Barbican Redevelopment Scheme, comprising the Barbican Estate, Barbican Arts Centre and the office buildings around London Wall and Moorgate, is well known to people with an affection for twentieth-century architecture, and has become major cultural centre in its own right. Nevertheless, very few people are aware of how a type of plastic manufactured in rural Kent quietly revolutionised the design and construction of modern office building, in particular the curtain-walling systems that enabled open-plan offices. In the first of two viewpoints on the New Barbican, Alexander Davidson tells a story encompassing two office buildings built as part of the Barbican Redevelopment Scheme – Lee House and St Alphage House – and how the plastic Holoplast was manufactured, used in construction, and eventually came to be demonised by the City of London Corporation.
Broadcasting House and British Plastics
In this viewpoint, I tell the story of the BBC’s headquarters, its design by Val Myer and FJ Watson Hart and its magnificent recording studios. The story features angry local residents, neo-Art Deco facades, and a type of early plastic made of formaldehyde resin.
The Plastic Eggcups by Camden Lock
In this viewpoint, I tell the story of Terry Farrell & Partners’ TV-AM building (1981-83), a maverick television studios near Camden Lock. The TV-AM building, which – as the name suggests – was home to one Britain’s first breakfast television programmes, is associated with the architectural style of postmodernism and with colour in architecture and interior design. The building was substantially refurbished by architects Jacobs Webber in 2012-13 and is now home to Viacom International.
More in United Kingdom
‘Boys Playing Football’, Peter Laszlo Peri. South Lambeth estate, Lambeth
After the Second World War, Hungarian artist Peter Laszlo Peri approached the LCC with the idea of depicting scenes of family life to ‘brighten up’ the facades of new LCC housing in Lambeth. ‘Boys Playing Football’, dates to between 1951 and 1952 and was installed on the South Lambeth estate.