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Department of Architecture


Event supported by the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art

A symposium in Cambridge, on Monday 24th September, around the theme of evaluating the architecture of the 1950s and 60's - more or less the period of "Brutalism". The session has been conceived by Marco Iuliano and Nicholas Ray: the idea is that there will be two round-table discussions, bringing together building designers, users, managers, critics and historians, with architects currently engaged with the repair of buildings of the period.

In Great Britain, post WWII Architecture forms an important and yet diffuse part of the identity of cities, which is not well known or studied even by scholars. In the London area, amongst several examples, we may refer to the Hayward Gallery, built in 1968 and almost demolished in 1993. Recently, scholars have demonstrated increasing sympathy with the architecture of this period, an attempt to historicize the architecture. But are these scholarly analyses enough? Are all of these buildings, realized especially between in the late 50s and the 60s, worth preserving? Is it possible to judge in an objective way this type of architecture? Now is the time to generate a discussion about a very controversial period and, at the same time, to provide institutions and the wider public with some clear answers.

Moreover, it seems to us important that a debate emanates from Cambridge, which hosts so much architecture of this kind. The seminar will take place in the extension to the Department of Architecture at the University of Cambridge, built by the architect Colin St John Wilson. The new addition was opened on 11 June 1959, when Le Corbusier and Henry Moore attended the inaugural ceremony, on the invitation of Leslie Martin, who had commissioned the work. 

Welcome: François Penz

Table A: (Convener Nicholas Ray): Ivor Smith, Alan Berman, Christopher Pratt, Mark Whitby

Table B: (Convener Marco Iuliano): Dean Hawkes, Alan Powers, Mark Goldie, Barnabas Calder

Final remarks: Catherine Croft and Peter Carolin

Important: the event will take place in the Department of Architecture, Scroope Terrace 1, Cambridge, 3-6.30 PM. It is free, but limited places are available and booking in advance is highly recommended. If you want to join us please email or

Click here to view 'The Hidden Cambridge', an article by Marco Iuliano from The Modernist Magazine.


Monday, 24 September, 2012 - 15:00 to 18:30