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A Laboratory for Contextualism

Part 2 Dissertation 2020
Amy Bettinson
University of Westminster | UK
In boroughs where bombing was lighter, gaps left in terraced housing were infilled after the War. While they often appear to be isolated incidents, there are many examples of this particular kind of housing development that can be found across London: high-density modernist blocks of flats inserted into the gaps left by bombing in the city’s stuccoed terraces. This dissertation aims to reclaim this forgotten heritage, and to shine a light on the work of a neglected group of architects.

These projects were controversial in their time (and continue to be so today), as architects considered how Modernist buildings could fit into historic settings, and seized the opportunity to experiment in their design. The schemes were shaped by the social and economic circumstances in which they were produced, and each architect took an approach to integrate their proposals to their surroundings, resulting in a diverse range of contextual buildings.

They have never before been studied as a group, but these projects represent a different Modernism to the better known story of post-war mass housing schemes built on cleared sites, and constitute an important contribution to the design of London, and a valuable part of our architectural heritage.

Amy Bettinson

Harry Charrington
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