Lost Futures: The Disappearing Architecture of Post-War Britain

Lost Futures: The Disappearing Architecture of Post-War Britain explores the rise and fall of buildings constructed in Britain between 1945 and 1979 that reflected the deep-rooted belief in architecture’s capacity to build a better world.

Author Owen Hopkins highlights the ideas and values that shaped these buildings' creation – and how changing external contexts, whether social, economic or political, as well as the buildings’ own internal characteristics, played a part in the subsequent demise and destruction of these ‘concrete monstrosities’.

The book examines 34 buildings constructed in post-war Britain that have since been demolished or heavily altered – or will be shortly. The buildings range from the familiar, such as Robin Hood Gardens in London, Trinity Square in Gateshead, Park Hill in Sheffield, Red Road Estate in Glasgow and Birmingham Central Library, to the lesser known, such as the Brynmawr Rubber Factory in Wales and David Lister High School in Hull.

Each of the buildings is represented by classic black and white photographs taken at the time of completion, and a 300-word text exploring its story.

Featuring work by architects such as Erno Goldfinger, Alison and Peter Smithson, Richard Seifert, James Stirling and Basil Spence, Lost Futures provides a vivid illustration of how architecture that was conceived to bring about a bold new future was lost along the way.

Owen Hopkins is a writer, historian and curator of architecture. He is Senior Curator of Exhibitions and Education at Sir John Soane’s Museum and was previously the Architecture Programme Curator at the Royal Academy. He has written widely on architecture for publications and is the author of a number of books including Architectural Styles: A Visual Guide, From the Shadows: The Architecture and Afterlife of Nicholas Hawksmoor and Mavericks: Breaking the Mould of British Architecture.

Hardcover, 128 pages
Published by Royal Academy of Arts (2 Feb. 2017)
ISBN 9781910350621
17.3 x 1.8 x 23.1 cm