Power to the postwar: architecture’s most scorned era finally gets some love

‘the hanging gardens of basingstoke’ – aka gateway house – is among 14 newly listed postwar office building
‘The hanging gardens of Basingstoke’ – aka Gateway House – is among 14 newly listed postwar office buildings / © James O Davies/English Heritage

One of them leans out precipitously into the street, the sharp white teeth of its stacked arcades framing sleek bands of tinted windows. From across the road, its curving prow recalls a top-heavy Tower of Pisa with a space-age twist, as if the Imperial Stormtroopers HQ has had a makeover. Fifty miles away, another emerges from a tangle of shrubbery in a business park, a multi-storey slab that looks like it’s been overtaken by nature. Foliage drips from its cascading terraces in the manner of a modernist Angkor Wat.

Both 30 Cannon Street, in the City of London, and Gateway House – aka “the hanging gardens of Basingstoke” – are extraordinary examples of what an office building can be. And this week, they received just acknowledgement in the form of Grade II listed status.

They join a group of a dozen other buildings that have been singled out for listing as part of English Heritage’s latest project to assess postwar offices from 1964–84, a period and building type that might not immediately jump to mind as fertile ground for producing cherished landmarks.

“We have to stay ahead of the game,” says Roger Bowdler, director of designations at English Heritage. “There’s no big book saying what matters from this period. The jury’s still out, and we have to make our decision before it has returned.” ….

Aline Chahine
Aline is an international licensed architect currently practicing in Canada, she is the reason you are reading this right now, Aline founded the platform back in 2008 shaping the very foundation of Architecture Lab, her exemplary content curation process that defines the online magazine today.
Aline Chahine
Aline Chahine
Aline is an international licensed architect currently practicing in Canada, she is the reason you are reading this right now, Aline founded the platform back in 2008 shaping the very foundation of Architecture Lab, her exemplary content curation process that defines the online magazine today. Highlights Aline founded Architecture Lab in 2008 Lead editor of dan | dailyarchnews since 2019 Founded and Creative Director of DesignRaid Licensed architect with creative sales and marketing experience Experience As full-fledged architect, Aline's background involved a great deal of research that lead to the creation of Architecture Lab as an online database of exemplary design. Her experience snowballed into founding two architecture platforms, Architecture Lab and DesignRaid. Education Aline received USEK’s Master of Architecture in 2004 and BA in English from the University of Toronto
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About Architecture Lab Architecture Lab is a MKR.S Media brand, a website devoted to extraordinary design and aesthetics aiming to promote exceptional aesthetic values and sustainable design in all it's shapes and sizes. Learn more about us and our editorial process and feel free to contact us if you would like to see something in particular on the website, our certified experts will get back to you with the most trustworthy advice as soon as possible. Read all articles by Aline | Follow her on LinkedIn

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