> Skip to content
  • Published: 7 October 2021
  • ISBN: 9780141998312
  • Imprint: Penguin eBooks
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 608

Modern Buildings in Britain

A Gazetteer




The definitive illustrated guide to modern British architecture

Modernism is now a century old, and its consequences are all around us, built into our everyday lived environments. Its place in Britain's history is fiercely contested, and its role in our future is the subject of ongoing controversy - but modernist buildings have undoubtedly changed our cities, politics and identity forever.

In Modern Buildings in Britain, Owen Hatherley applauds the ambition and explores the significance of this most divisive of architectures, travelling from Aberystwyth to Aberdeen, from St Ives to Shetland, in search of our most important and distinctive modern buildings. Drawing on hundreds of examples, we learn how the concrete of Brutalism embodies post-war civic principles, how corporate values were expressed in the glass façades of the International Style, and why Ecomodernist experimentation is often consigned to the geographic fringes. As Hatherley considers the social, political and cultural value of these structures - a number of which are threatened by demolition - two linked questions emerge: what happens to a building after it has been lived in, and what becomes of an idea when its time has passed?

With more than six hundred pages of trenchantly opinionated, often witty analysis, and with three hundred photographs in duotone and colour, Modern Buildings in Britain is a landmark contribution to the history of British architecture.

  • Published: 7 October 2021
  • ISBN: 9780141998312
  • Imprint: Penguin eBooks
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 608

Also by Owen Hatherley

See all

Praise for Modern Buildings in Britain

A weighty, glossy gazetteer of the most significant British modernist buildings... Packed with pleasurable details... [Hatherley] is trenchant, never fawning; a provocateur, and a good one - and more entertaining than Nicholas Pevsner... He writes glorious contextual critiques... Emotional and affecting

Helen Barrett, Spectator

The best blueprint for understanding Britain's modern architecture... An erudite and informative new classic ... a book that is colossal in ambition, range, and achievement

Darran Anderson, Elephant

It is an addictive book to dip in and out of, to open at random to learn something new. ... an approachable guide... Hatherley's introduction is possibly the most lucid and concise history of modern architecture in Britain you will find anywhere

Oliver Wainwright, Guardian

Owen Hatherley, long an eloquent proselytiser for municipal Modernism, has produced a new Britannica for our era of reassessment... Hatherley has superbly documented a moment in which we are rapidly losing what many have only just learnt to appreciate

Edwin Heathcote, Financial Times

Insightful and inspiring... One of its strengths is the devotion and persistence with which Owen Hatherley has sought out gems across the country... [A] phenomenal work of gathering and observation

Rowan Moore, Observer

A masterpiece. A book that distills an accumulated life's work of thinking, seeing and writing

Jonathan Nunn

Swashbuckling... A very considerable achievement... Being a gazetteer, this is a book to dip in and out of, and you will keep dipping in and out, it's an addictive process that is made easy to navigate

Hugh Pearman, RIBA Journal

A book that will get you excited about architecture

Teddy Jamieson, The Herald

Those with more than a passing interest in modernism will have great fun planning excursions with the help of the book's geographically arranged chapters

David Nicholls, House and Garden

Hatherley's urban perambulations are in the great tradition of some of the best writers on architecture and design... Over 600 pages, our author and guide present us with a very personal selection, seeking out the diamonds in the rough and finding just the right pithy observations to praise the unusual, while damning the neglect, philistinism, and opposition that often comes with the territory

Jonathan Bell, Wallpaper*

A gorgeous treat... Hatherley is a flâneur with a cause. He incites his readers to engage, as he does, with what is around them, no matter how banal it may appear at first glance, and to take nothing for granted

Jonathan Meades, Literary Review

Related titles