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More from Alexander Davidson

The Toilet Tower on Conduit Mews

This viewpoint focusses on a toilet tower (a series of bathrooms stacked in the shape of a helix), built as part of scheme to transform four Victorian terraced houses into student housing in Paddington, London, in the late-1960s. More specifically, how architects Nicholas Grimshaw and Terry Farrell promoted plastics in architecture on aesthetic grounds in a way which has ultimately proved to be unsustainable.

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 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.

More in United Kingdom

Horror stars of the London Zoo

London Zoo is a place of fun and wonder with animals from all over the world gathered for us to enjoy, but you may not know that one particular animal has been the star of three horror movies. Listen to hear about the role they played in “Werewolf of London” (1935), “American Werewolf in London” (1981), and “Braham Stoker’s Dracula” (1992)