By Owen Hatherley
A darkly funny architectural advisor to the decrepit new Britain that neoliberalism built.
Back in 1997, New Labour got here to strength amid a lot speak of regenerating the internal towns left to rot less than successive Conservative governments. Over the subsequent decade, British towns turned the laboratories of the recent company economic system: sparkling monuments to finance, estate hypothesis, and the provider industry—until the crash.
In A advisor to the recent Ruins of serious Britain, Owen Hatherley units out to discover the wreckage—the constructions that epitomized an age of greed and aspiration. From Greenwich to Glasgow, Milton Keynes to Manchester, Hatherley maps the derelict Britain of the 2010s: from riverside house complexes, paintings galleries and amorphous interactive "centers," to procuring department stores, name facilities and factories changed into dear lofts. In doing so, he presents a mordant statement at the city setting during which we are living, paintings and eat. Scathing, forensic, bleakly funny, A consultant to the recent Ruins of significant Britain is a coruscating post-mortem of a get-rich-quick, aspirational politics, a super, architectural "state we're in." 250 black-and-white pictures and illustrations
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Extra resources for A Guide to the New Ruins of Great Britain
I took a friend, a theatre photographer and lecturer, along to take pictures, knowing that he would not resort to the clichés, sweeping xxxi introduction perspectives and endless summers so beloved of architectural photographers. This—for better or worse—explains the ubiquitous signage, overcast skies and neck-craning angles you will find in the images in this book. And aside from a final, parenthetical visit to Liverpool, visited for other reasons, this follows the unplanned path we took across Britain for Building Design.
You climb up the frighteningly unstable-seeming motorway bridge which leads to Millbrook station, and from here, equipped with zoom lens and/or binoculars, the port reveals itself at nearly its full extent. The neglect of the place is clear enough from the foliage that has draped itself around the concrete and steel of the station bridges, a mutant nature which is particularly virulent round here. Walter Benjamin differentiated Communist Constructivist aesthetics from Fascist Futurist aestheticism by pointing out that the latter were merely interested in the look of technology, and had little interest in finding out how it worked, in mastering and applying it—it was instead a subject for a kind of technological nature painting.
E. of the increasingly vast London Metro Area, is threatened only very slightly by Greater Manchester—hence the horror of BBC workers on realizing their jobs were moving to Salford, a shocking two-hour train ride away from the capital—and by nowhere else in England (Scotland, as in so much else, is a different story). This is only partly because London’s sheer size has such an overwhelming gravitational pull. In strict census terms, the nearest competitor is Birmingham, with less than one seventh of its population.