Books / Art Deco and modernism of the Interwar Years in Britain.

Art Deco Britain / Elain Harwood

Buildings of the Interwar Years

A personal guide to Art Deco buildings in Britain from leading architectural historian Elain Harwood. Nearly a century after Art Deco first lit up the luxury store and cinema screen, it remains as glamorous as ever. The style – variously known as Jazz Modern or moderne until the 1960s – was transported by ocean liner across the world from its origins in Vienna and Paris, offering a slick of sophistication and succinct design to rich and poor alike.
The style arrived in Britain in the late 1920s just as cinemas, hotels, theatres and factories were being built in large numbers. Yet despite its popularity, there have been few books that explain the what, where and how of Art Deco buildings and their architects; until now.
In Art Deco Britain, architectural historian and writer Elain Harwood brings her trademark clarity and enthusiasm to many of Britain’s finest interwar buildings. They include the Midland Hotel in Morecambe; Eltham Palace; Broadcasting House and the Carreras Cigarette Factory in London; Finella in Cambridge; Tinside Lido in Plymouth and many cinemas and theatres – but also lesser-known ice-cream parlours, factories and public buildings. Many of these buildings are still with us thanks to the Twentieth Century Society, founded forty years ago as the Thirties Society, and sales of the book will support its future campaigns.
Beautifully produced and richly illustrated, mainly with pictures specially taken for the book, this is a definitive guide to a much-loved building style.

Elain Harwood is a historian at Historic England specialising in the twentieth century. Her publications include England’s Post-War Listed Buildings and Space, Hope and Brutalism: English Architecture 19451975. She is the co-editor of Twentieth Century Architecture, the journal of the Twentieth Century Society, and 100 Buildings 100 Years, 100 Houses 100 Years and 100 Churches 100 Years, all published by Batsford.
Hardback, 272 pp Over 125 colour photographs, ISBN: ISBN 9781849945271


Wells Coates / Elizabeth Darling

Wells Coates was one of the most significant figures in British Architectural Modernism and designer of the landmark Lawn Road Flats (1934) in Hampstead that offered a new solution to the problems of urban living, still relevant today.
Through contacts in London’s bohemian circles, Coates entered architecture in 1929 without any formal training. He was soon at the forefront of the Modern Movement, starting with dress shops and moving on to interiors for politicians and actors, and studios for the BBC, while as an industrial designer, he created the classic circular Bakelite AD65 Ekco wireless. Coates was also a tireless champion of the Modernist cause and in 1933 co-founded the MARS (Modern Architectural Research) Group – a ‘think-tank’ which worked to theorise British Modernism through programmes of research and exhibitions, establishing links to the leading European architects of the day. The outbreak of World War II and the subsequent decline in commissions almost brought a halt to Coates’s flourishing career, although he enjoyed one last success at the Festival of Britain, returning finally to his native Canada where he worked on planning and housing schemes. Three sublime blocks of 1930s flats form his principal legacy, and the book concludes by describing the physical decline of two of these, Lawn Road and Embassy Court in Brighton, charting the complex process by which each was repaired and relaunched in the first decade of the 21st century. There is a full gazetteer of Coates’s works and projects.

Elizabeth Darling is an author and academic at Oxford Brookes University, whose research focuses on inter-war British Modernism, on which she has published widely. The book is richly illustrated with historical images, many of which are previously unpublished, and includes specially commissioned colour photography by James O. Davies. It will delight architects, students, architectural historians and anyone who is interested in the Modern Movement in Britain. This book is part of the Twentieth Century Architects series published jointly by RIBA Publishing, English Heritage and the Twentieth Century Society. Paperback, 234x167mm, 160pp 120 illustrations Published 2012 ISBN: 978-1-8594643-7-3


British Modern: Journal 8 / Edited by Susannah Charlton, Elain Harwood & Alan Powers. Architecture and design in the 1930s.

From the influence of sculpture and photography, through the work of iconic architects like Lubetkin, to the impact of new housing models on their inhabitants, this journal looks at many aspects of the architecture and design of the 1930s. Setting the context is an unpublished piece by Nikolaus Pevsner, written as part of a text on “British Architecture for the Architecture Review” in 1939, which never appeared. It is a highly perceptive early assessment of the modern movement in Britain, from the man who did much to champion the movement here.
Many of the essays were originally given as papers at a conference organized by the Society on the occasion of the Design Museum’s exhibition ‘Modern Britain 1929-1939′. 255x198mm, 176pp B/w illustrations Published 2008 ISBN: 978 0 9556687 0 8

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