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Brutal enemies? Townscape and the 'hard' moderns

Calder, Barnabas (2008) Brutal enemies? Townscape and the 'hard' moderns. In: The School of Planning PhD Program Colloquium, 2008-04-25. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

Britain after the Second World War was a crucible of planning theory. Widespread destruction from aerial bombardment fused potently with a near-universal consensus on the need for social and urban reform. Local and national government threw themselves into the rapid implementation of new planning ideas, urban design methodologies and architectural outputs. This paper looks in particular at the Townscape movement, which argued for a greater sensitivity to the strengths of existing cityscapes and fought against the neophile absolutism of many of the period's leading planners. The paper looks at the aims of this gentle and conservative movement, and at its important influence on the architecture of the three succeeding decades. It argues that Townscape was to become a major influence on the hard young architects Alison and Peter Smithson, Denys Lasdun and, in the USA, Paul Rudolph. To the horror of its creators, Townscape helped to shape the dominant architectural and planning phenomenon of the 1960s and '70s - Brutalism.