The Twentieth Century Society

100 Buildings 100 Years

Isle of Dogs Pumping Station, John Outram, photo Clare Price

1988: Isle of Dogs Pumping Station, London

Architect: John Outram
Location: Stewart Street, Isle of Dogs, London

I have lots of favourite 20th Century buildings, but I have chosen this one as it is such fun. The style is PoMo, which is much maligned, but to me represents the attitude of the 1980s: a decade when flashy was fashionable.

It is tucked away in the Docklands in London and built at a time when this area was on the verge of being transformed by towering developments such as Canary Wharf. This, in contrast, is a small building, but it makes a big statement: a ‘Temple of Storms’, full of Egyptian and mystical symbolism. If the Victorians could build beautifully decorative pumping stations, why shouldn’t the tradition be taken up again a century later?

I am in distinguished company, by the way, in liking this building: the Prince of Wales called it ‘witty and amusing’!

by Clare Price

Isle of Dogs Life blog entry