By Gavin Stamp
When you consider that 2004 Gavin Stamp, one in every of Britain's most outstanding and readable architectural historians, has written a per 30 days column for Apollo, the esteemed structure and fantastic paintings journal. the topic is just no matter what in layout or structure occurs to take his fancy. it would be the luxurious reopening of the incredible Midland Grand resort at St Pancras Station, or the dilapidation of a little-known church in Eastbourne, the much-lamented death of the unique Routemaster bus, or the huge majesty of the airship sheds that housed the R.101.
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Extra info for Anti-Ugly: Excursions in English Architecture and Design
An earlier quincentenary exhibition, of so-called ‘New Palladians’, held at The Prince’s Foundation in London, conﬁrmed this sad state of affairs. Although it purported to demonstrate ‘the continuity of a Timeless, Robust and Sustainable Culture of Building and Design into the 21st century’ in the hands of the ‘World’s Leading Practitioners’, the display was dominated by derivative designs for Classical country houses, each with a grand portico. Unfortunately, there seems to be no shortage of rich men, on both sides of the Atlantic, who want to build nothing more than a Neo-Palladian house – always with a big portico – to show off their wealth.
And it was out of the enthusiasms of that time, expressed in the witty and elegant pages of the ‘Archie Rev’, that Lancaster’s ﬁrst books emerged. The brilliance of Pillar to Post was that not only were types, and styles, of buildings caricatured and made familiar, but also that they were placed in context. Lancaster’s architecture is never ideal but used and lived in – made human, as architecture should be. Not only is the essence of a style conveyed, but the building is depicted with contemporary people in appropriate attitudes, drawn with his deceptively simple and naïve line.
And then there was the television play he wrote (with Stewart Farrar) which was broadcast on BBC 2 in 1965. Called ‘Pity About The Abbey’, it concerned a road scheme and redevelopment in Westminster which required the demolition of the great Mediaeval Royal church – not so very far fetched when you think of some of the more arrogant projects of the 1960s. This programme made a great impression on me and introduced me to the menaces who are with us yet: the blinkered road planner; the amoral, know-all civil servant and the venal, cynical architect sheltering behind the excuse of modernity and necessity.