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Twentieth Century Architects: John Madin
Publisher: RIBA Publishing
Date Published: Feb 2011
Stock Code: 73087
Total votes: 9
John Madin was the indisputable master of post-war architecture in Birmingham. The work of Madin and his associates had a profound influence on the reshaping of the city after the war, producing some of the most iconic buildings of that period, such as the Birmingham Central Library, the Chamber of Commerce and the Post and Mail Building.
Trained in the modernist style but too much of a craftsman to abandon decoration, his work is characterised by attention to detail, a preference for natural materials and a desire for decoration and art in his buildings. Many have characterised Madin as a commercial architect, but as the author argues, there was another side to his work: his conservationist approach to the development plan for the Calthorpe Estate, his workman-like master-planning of Dawley, Telford and Corby new towns, his public service commissions, and his design and layout of housing schemes that are still lived-in and popular today, testify to his commitment to human values.
Lavishly illustrated with images from Madin’s personal archive and stunning new photography, this book is an essential read for architects, students, architectural historians and modernist enthusiasts interested in learning more about a key figure in British post-war architecture.This book has been commissioned as part of a series of books on Twentieth Century Architects by RIBA Publishing, English Heritage and The Twentieth Century Society
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Chris Upton, Birmingham Post
If you’re only too ready to dismiss, as many are, the architecture of the Sixties, Crawley’s book is a timely reminder of what it could, and did, achieve.
Jack Pringle, RIBA Past President and Partner at Pringle Brandon
‘This series of books is important because it records the work of important national, if not international, British architects of the twentieth century. They were the salt of the post-war modernist earth, working on housing, hospitals and industrial buildings. Their legacy has been a vein of quiet, very English modern architecture often unheralded but well loved by those who know of it. Now a new generation of students can trace their journey and admire their work’.
Date Reviewed: March 2011
As a non-specialist, I found reading this architectural book not just painless, but pleasurable. I had become aware of Madin's work because of the political debate raging in Birmingham about whether - or not - his Central Library should be demolished. Rene Cutforth's BBC documentary on Madin 'Six Men', which can be accessed via Google videos added to my interest. The author was extremely helpful to me when I was commissioned to write a sound piece about the Central Library, sharing his insights and research materials. Now this (well-illustrated) book has enabled me to appreciate the range and breadth of Madin's work. Madin didn't just shape the city I live in. His buildings, which can be both dramatic and discreet, are of much wider significance.
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