Friday, 22 January 2010

The aesthetics of Wandsworth Borough Council

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This is Wandsworth Housing Department in Garratt Lane, SW18, a sadly typical example of British brutalist architecture in the latter half of the twentieth century: seemingly purpose-built to induce feelings of worthlessness and alienation. And the busy hand of municipality is everywhere. Scroll around Google street view and observe the wealth of road markings and ugly street furniture; is it really necessary to mark the part of the road in which a bus must stop in red tarmac and giant yellow letters? Councils have destroyed the urban landscape with all this crap, almost all of it utterly redundant.

Compare the facade of the Housing Department with the 1930s municipal buildings up the road, designed by Edward A. Hunt. This isn't the main frontage, just a side entrance; nor is it a shining example of Art Deco architecture, however, it is a world apart in its proportions and in its use of materials and ornament.

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