'The core': The centre as a concept in twentieth-century British planning and architecture. Part Two: the realization of the idea

Elizabeth Darling*, Alistair Fair

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This article is the second part of a discussion of what we term the ‘centre-idea’. This idea, we argue, was fundamental to British modernist architecture and planning praxis from the mid-1940s onwards. It represented an active spatial environment in which people could develop their selves and their interests at a time of expanding democracy, which required new forms of community association. We locate this idea’s roots in the pre-war British voluntary sector, specifically the activities of the Peckham Experiment and the Pioneer Health Centre which housed it, and evidence its long-term influence on post-war architecture and planning theorization. The article begins its discussion in wartime Britain and it traces how the ‘centre-idea’ was absorbed into the committees, plans and discussions which underpinned post-war reconstruction. It also documents how a CIAM dominated by Anglo-American theorists developed the idea into a particular understanding of, and approach to, modernist design and planning. These two strands are brought together in an analysis of their realization in a series of now state-sponsored projects, which include the Design Centre and the South Bank Arts Centre.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-33
Number of pages33
JournalPlanning Perspectives
Early online date26 Nov 2022
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 26 Nov 2022

Keywords

  • modernism
  • planning
  • CIAM
  • MARS group
  • Jaqueline Tyrwhitt
  • J.M. Richards
  • S. Giedion
  • community
  • democracy

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