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Twentieth Century Architects: McMorran & Whitby

Edward Denison

  • Format: Book

  • Publisher: RIBA Publishing

  • Date Published: Oct 2009

  • Stock Code: 68621

  • ISBN: 9781859463208

  • Binding: Paperback

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Description

McMorran & Whitby are a secret presence in post-war British architecture. Led from the late 1950s by Donald McMorran and George Whitby, the practice represented an unbroken development from the monumental inter-war classicism represented by figures such as Charles Holden and Sir Edwin Lutyens.

In seeking an alternative path for modern architecture, McMorran & Whitby produced durable buildings with a respect for context, but avoided any accusation of unimaginatively reproducing the past. Theirs was a progressive classicism full of invention and beauty. Being out of fashion, they suffered neglect but their work has increasingly won admirers and many of the buildings are now listed.

Many public institutions favoured their work, as Metropolitan Police stations and section houses, the Devon County Hall in Exeter, Nottingham University and the West Suffolk County Council buildings in Bury St Edmunds bear witness. For the City Corporation they built housing estates, the Wood Street Police Station and the extension to the Central Criminal Court, (The Old Bailey).

This book is the first major publication on McMorran & Whitbys work, with an inspiring combination of contemporary photography and previously unpublished archival material. It is an essential read for architects, students, and historians, not least because it uncovers and celebrates buildings outside the mainstream that we need to understand and cherish.

This book has been commissioned as part of a series of books on 20th Century Architects by RIBA Publishing, English Heritage and The Twentieth Century Society.

 

This is the first ever series of monographs devoted exclusively to twentieth century British architects, reflecting the extraordinary diversity and skill of the best architectural practices of the century. While the names of a few individuals and practices may be relatively well-known, many architects of high quality remain undocumented in book form. Fine buildings dating from both before and after the Second World War can fall under the threat of demolition, and requests for listing are frequently turned down amid much controversy. These books, whose subjects represent a range of architectural positions and types of practice, not only redress previous neglect, but also fill out the broader picture of the period. The books are accessibly and authoritatively written by well known experts. The first four titles in the series take readers from the Festival of Britain Skylon, by architects Powell and Moya, to the open plan family house, exemplified by Aldington and Craig’s house at Goodleigh, Devon, now a Landmark Trust property. It introduces the brilliant inventiveness of the Newcastle architects Ryder and Yates, and, the playful classical police stations and civic buildings of McMorran and Whitby. The series editors Elain Harwood (English Heritage) and Alan Powers (University of Greenwich) are both authorities in the field who have a long association with The Twentieth Century Society, which is a co-publisher of the series together with English Heritage and RIBA Publishing. Fully illustrated in colour and black and white, each book includes a list of major works and bibliographic references, combining the expertise of the RIBA, English Heritage and Twentieth Century Society for the first time.

To find more information about the other titles in the series, please click here.

The Journal of Architecture review of the series:

http://www.ribabookshops.com/uploads/21fe63d4-ad48-4044-7d1d-c98b8bca5b69.pdf

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About the Author

Edward Denison

Edward Denison is a heritage consultant, writer and architectural photographer specialising in architectural and urban history in a wide range of cultural contexts. His work for various international organisations, in places as diverse as Africa, China and Europe, regularly features in print, electronic and broadcast media internationally. Among his published works are several acclaimed and definitive studies, including McMorran & Whitby (RIBA Publishing, 2009), Modernism in China - Architectural Visions and Revolutions (Wiley, 2008), Building Shanghai - The Story of China's Gateway (Wiley, 2006) and Asmara ¬ Africa's Secret Modernist City (Merrell, 2003).

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