The Twentieth Century Society

Campaigning for outstanding buildings


Two Barefoot Modernists: Pat Crooke and John Turner

Presented by Joshua Mardell

This talk is about the ‘barefoot’ AA-trained architects John Turner (b. 1927) and Pat Crooke (1927–2018), and their parallel paths in the direction of dweller-oriented housing in developing countries in the post-WWII period, and how certain institutions with which they were involved as students — not least the Congrès Internationaux d’Architecture Moderne and the Modern Architectural Research (MARS) Group — framed their mutual position on architecture and the role of the architect. Turner’s work is well-known in the fields of vernacular architecture and housing, but his relationship to key organs of late modernism, have been overlooked. Pat Crooke, an unsung, but nevertheless significant, figure in the field, has been all but absent in any existing histories. The talk offers a still more nuanced approach to our understanding of the ‘modern movement’ while suggesting that the architects’ work yields lessons for contemporary questions over housing shortages and sustainability.