The first entry of C20’s Building of Month was published over 20 years ago, in October 2001. Then chairman Gavin Stamp decided to write about a derelict building instrumental to the foundation of C20 as the Thirties Society in 1979 – Oliver Hill’s modernist Midland Hotel, Morecambe (1933). In 2008, this vast sea fronting complex was refurbished and restored to its original use, which continues today. Since Stamp’s article, Building of the Month has developed into an invaluable platform to document and ultimately help save countless twentieth century buildings in the UK and across the world. In the archive below, you will find over 250 entries spanning more than 30 countries.
Climate and Sustainability
Since 2023, and in the face of the growing climate catastrophe, Building of the Month has focused on twentieth century buildings that were designed with energy efficiency as a major consideration. The buildings selected varied greatly in their approaches. From the BedZED complex in Sutton – a compound of houses and amenities that used reclaimed and recycled materials in its construction – to Eltham’s Street Farmhouse – inspired by political ecology and designed to revolve around regenerative cycles such as the anaerobic digestion process – to the cross-ventilation and night cooling systems of the post-war Solar Campus, Merseyside. The architects of these buildings and others variably addressed the issues of insulation, ventilation, solar gain, renewable energy generation and the conscious minimisation of embodied carbon. Given the importance of all these areas and more, we have decided to continue our environmental theme into 2024.
Our understanding of, and interaction with, the environment is interpreted through multiple different lenses and is undoubtedly embedded in a process of trial and error – of backwards and sideways steps, as well as forward. But in 2024 the chosen buildings will have been designed with the overriding ambition to address climate and sustainability. In its variety, Building of the Month will demonstrate that environmental conscience is not new within the architectural profession. It has been a preoccupation for a very long time.