History Today Subscription offer.

Constructing Modernism

Andrew Higgott surveys the contested legacy of modern architecture in Britain from the first machine age to the dawn of the digital.

Denys Lasdun's Keeling House (1954-55) in east LondonYears ago there was a general consensus on the history of modern architecture, based on the idea that the combination of engineering advances and avant garde modern art had produced an inevitable and necessary new architecture, which Nikolaus Pevsner called ‘the true style of our century’. It was the subject of a particularly partisan historiographical tradition that gave the roles of ‘heroes’ and ‘villains’ to the historical characters within the architecture of the early 20th century. In this formulation, true modern architecture was inevitably the expression of the spirit of the age and seen as the manifestation of social progress: the historian’s role was to uncover and explain that zeitgeist and provide the basis for a sound contemporary practice in architecture.

To read this article in full you need to be either a print + archive subscriber, or else have purchased access to the online archive.

If you are already a subscriber, please ensure you are logged in. 

Buy Subscription | Buy Online Access | Log In

If you are logged in and still cannot read the article, please email digital@historytoday.com.

Get Miscellanies, our free weekly long read, in your inbox every week
X