C20 #2 2021

The Twentieth Century Society was founded in 1979, as a direct response to growing interest in C20th architecture and to complement the preservation work of the Victorian Society, which was founded in 1959.

From day one, our focus has been on preservation and education: campaigning to protect the buildings and design that characterise C20th Britain; helping as many people as possible to appreciate their importance and beauty.

Today, we are involved in a number of important campaigns, all of which involve our experts, members, volunteers and supporters. We undertake casework related to planning applications for listed buildings, as we have a statutory role in the planning system.

C20 is the magazine of the Twentieth Century Society and features in-depth articles on architecture, design and conservation from the period.

In this issue:

This issue features major recent work to two extremely different c20 buildings that are both close to our heart: the magnificent India Buildings in Liverpool and Balfron Tower in east London.

Both are big, confident, dramatic bits of architecture - India Buildings by Herbert ] Rowse epitomizes commercial ambition and pride, Balfron the inspirational public housing ideals of the post-war period. In some respects the two buildings couldn't be more different: the first is classical in style and the latter is one of the best-known examples of brutalist architecture in the UK, if not the world.

Both buildings were in need of restoration and the massive investment in their re-use ought surely to be a cause for celebration, though both were cases where c20 raised objections to developers' proposals.

Going back to these projects on completion, we must ask some rigorous questions. Did c20's involvement have a positive impact? Are the results successful and worth celebrating? Could they have been better? And were our initial criticisms valid and helpful?