Praise for modernist buildings sometimes comes from surprising quarters. In his generally glowing review in the TLS of Todd Longstaffe-Gowan’s new book The London Square, A N Wilson takes the author to task for not mentioning the Brunswick and waxes lyrical about the sort of living space it provides, with the amenities of an ideal square:
“The Brunswick is that very rare thing in Britain today, an urban success story. Its ziggurat shapes, its greenhouse roofs, its surprising views and its intelligent layout all remind Bridget Cherry, the reviser of Pevsner’s London, of Sant’ Elia the Italian Futurist, and by the end of a rapturous paragraph on the scheme she even manages to get in a mention of Piranesi, which I shall meditate on the next time I park in the underground car park there. The Brunswick, with its cafés, shops, cashpoints, pharmacist, and well-proportioned flats, its central piazza, its art house cinema and its classy supermarket, is very close to being my idea of paradise on earth.
It deserved a mention (which it did not get) in Longstaffe-Gowan’s survey, not least because Schlaffenberg at planning, and Martin and Hodgkinson (but chiefly Hodgkinson who was sole architect after 1963) managed to achieve what so many of the post-war architects failed to do: namely, the sort of living space which would be provided by the ideal square. It combines the qualities of Inigo Jones’s sunny piazzas and the domestic intimacy of Canonbury or of the Lloyd Baker Estate.”
Great to have this recognition of the success of both the initial planning and the refurbishment of the Brunswick.