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This last programme steps outside the Course's time limits (1890-1939) to look at some key housing developments in post-war Britain. Stephen Bayley, Lecturer in Art history, looks at the London Cou...nty Council's Roehampton, Alton West development of the early 1950s; Erno Goldfinger's Trellick Tower, London, of the late sixties - early seventies, and Ralph Erskin's and Vernon Gracie's Byker now being built in Newcastle-upon-Tyne. The sequence on Roehampton includes interviews with the architects from a film made in 1966, a testimony of the survival of the post-war interest in Le Corbusier's housing ideals. In the idyllic setting of Roehampton these ideals had some chance of success, but Stephen Bayley goes on to ask how successful is Trellick Tower, a 36-storey building of impressive sculptural form. Erno Goldfinger describes his magnificent brief and explains his solution; also some problems that arose. At Byker Stephen Bayley interviews Vernon Gracie, the architect in charge and analyses what appears to be a very new solution for this country, related to Scandinavian ideas rather than to Le Corbusier and very much in line with the ideas of Oscar Newman.
Metadata describing this Open University video programme
Module code and title: A305, History of architecture and design 1890-1939
Item code: A305; 24
First transmission date: 18-10-1975
Published: 1975
Rights Statement:
Restrictions on use:
Duration: 00:25:00
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Producer: Miriam Rapp
Contributor: Stephen Bayley
Publisher: BBC Open University
Keyword(s): Alton West, Roehampton; Apartment architecture; Byker; Tower blocks; Trellick Tower
Subject terms: Apartments--Great Britain--History; Architecture, Domestic
Footage description: Shots of Pruitt-Igoe, U.S.A. flats being destroyed. Bayley comments on the often mentioned links between social problems and architecture, especially from the modern movement. Various quotes from modern movement manifestos the Futurists, Bruno Taut and Le Corbusier. Bayley points out that the latter is often held to blame for the failure of modern architecture. The GEC high-rise development at Alton West, Roehampton, 1951-9 is looked at in detail. A film from 1966 in which the architects describe the kind of building they have designed. The external ornamentation is described. Bayley goes back to the relation between housing and socio-economic problems, especially crime. A second high rise development, Trellick Tower in North Kensington, is looked at. The architect, Erno Goldfinger outlines what he was trying to do. Numerous shots of the exterior and interior of the block. Oscar Newman's theory of defensible space is outlined in which vandalism is linked to a lack of individuality etc in the archtiectural design. Goldfinger pours scorn on the concept. The two modern movement developments are compared with the Byker programme in Newcastle. Bayley begins with the perimeter block, explaing why it meets Newman's ideas of defensible space. Bayley continues by looking at the rest of the scheme, mainly low rise buildings. The architect comments on the attempt to produce a soft environment and its social effects. Bayley comments on the special nature of the Byker redevelopment of an old working class area although the scheme is not yet finished.
Master spool number: 6HT/71742
Production number: 00525_3168
Videofinder number: 1768
Available to public: no