Details

Keywords Change this

Brutalism, Concrete, Social Housing

Project timeline

1960 – ?

Type

Mixed Use

Location Change this

1 Byng Pl, Bloomsbury
London
United Kingdom

Architect Change this

The Brunswick Centre Change this

London, United Kingdom
by Patrick Hodgkinson Change this
1 of 5

Description Change this

Brunswick centre was designed by Patrick Hodgkinson in the mid-1960s, based on studies by Leslie Martin as a mixed development with an open shopping precinct complete with cinema and residential accommodation above. Located in the heart of Georgian Bloomsbury, replacing rows of Georgian houses in true brutalist tradition, completely excluding it's environment. The scheme was the brainchild of a private property developer looking to make a quick profit with the original intention of constructing a series of high density high-rise blocks for private residential accommodation. However the then restrictions on height of buildings in London by the LCC (London County Council) led to a radical rethink in the design. The scheme quickly fell into trouble again, as it failed to find enough private tenants to make the scheme viable, the result of which was to lease the accommodation to Camden council for social housing, and that influended the quality of the finished project. After completion the scheme was widely regarded as a failure with many of the shops unoccupied and retailers staying away.It used to look like demolition is only a matter of time. Although since it opened in 1972, it has retained an independent cinema.
The building became one of the first brutalist modern buildings to be listed in 2000 by English Heritage and has since been restored and modernized along the lines of the original intentions of the scheme.

Sources

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