We were sad to hear the news that our former President and outstanding C20 architect Trevor Dannatt died on Monday, February 15th. I have many fond memories of Trevor, who was insightful not only about his own work, but about that of others too. He generously shared his first-hand knowledge of his own projects on C20 trips I organised to Leicester and Cambridge and the recording we made of him talking about the design of his Friends’ Meeting House at Blackheath, when we were making the case for it to be listed, gives some idea of what a joy it was to talk with him.
Trevor went to work for Max Fry and Jane Drew in 1943, leaving them in 1948 to join his former tutor Peter Moro and work on the Royal Festival Hall. But for most of his career he ran his own practice, first setting up in 1952, and keeping working until very recently. He produced some of the most thoughtfully considered and beautifully detailed buildings of the century.
An obituary of Trevor has been written by C20 Society stalwart Elain Harwood for the Guardian and one by Dr Neil Bingham will be in the next C20 Magazine.
We are delighted to announce the winner of the 2020 C20 Society Harry Page architectural photography competition. The award was established in 2013 in memory of photographer and dedicated C20 Society member Harry Page and we would like to thank all 77 entrants for submitting their total 143 photos to the competition, and well as the staff and volunteers who have helped make the competition possible.
The winning photograph is by David Valinsky for his image of the Astra Zeneca HQ in Cambridge.
The judge, Tim McCoy-Page, said: “this is a very timely photo, being of the Astra Zeneca building. The photo does immense justice to the outline of the building. It is very cleverly composed to ensure all the vertical strips are in exact descending perspective, they almost look like pipes in a futuristic organ. The sky is cleverly subdued in grey to make the building pop out, and the overall lighting give the picture an illustrative effect, almost as if it were a book cover. The reflections in the building’s glass, with clouds absent in the sky, is also a very clever touch that makes the photographic detail of the architecture very relevant”
David received the Harry Page Photo Competition trophy, a book of his choice from our e-shop and a Paul Catherall x C20 Society tote bag as a prize.
In response to his award David said: “It is a real honour to have my work recognised by the Twentieth Century Society in this way. I captured this image during an exploration of the developing Cambridge Biomedical Campus. Two years later it is a reminder that buildings can accrue meanings that were not imagined by either clients or designers: in the intervening period world events have made Astra Zeneca a household name and no doubt this meaning will become richer over the next year or so.
The building section is formed by the simple repetition of mono-pitch bays, but the combination of this with the oval plan leads to a view that is always subtly changing as one moves around the curving exterior of the building. The precise crystalline form seems to realise Bruno Taut’s dreamlike vision of an Alpine architecture and the photographs that I captured of this then-unfinished superstructure now take me immediately to the Alps; the jagged peaks rising above a reflected cloud bank feel like a gift of Alpine landscape from Herzog & de Meuron’s Swiss home to one of England’s flattest counties.”
Tim was very impressed with the overall quality of photography and quantity of submissions. The three runners-up were:
Charlotte Swindell, with her photo of the KPMG building in Canary Wharf
The judge’s comments were: “love the Inception style nature of the composition and building layout. Clever take on what is probably a much photographed building in Canary Wharf.”
Pamela Jones, with her photo of the Sydney Opera House
The judge’s comments were: “a stunningly dramatic version of a classic – the light on the roof aspects is brilliantly accentuated by the drop off of darkness in the surrounding more utilitarian aspects.”
Peter Barker, with his photo of the Kunstmuseum, Aahrus, Denmark
The judge’s comments were: “a very welcome colourful entry – great composition and brilliantly captured with reflections and the city vista – and a lovely moment in time with the kneeling friends.”
All four photographs will be published on our social media channels @C20Society and in our next Magazine issue.
We are currently opposing plans to remove an important 1950s abstract mosaic by leading sculptor Geoffrey Clark from Basildon town centre and relocate it within the entrance lobby of a new residential development. We have also submitted an application for it to be listed as we believe it to be of outstanding national significance. As a reminder of Geoffrey’s striking sculptures, we are offering our article about his work from our 2013 Magazine (Issue 3) for download.
Material World: Geoffrey Clark pushed the boundaries in post-war sculptural technique.
We were pleased to hear that the immediate threat to dismantle 14 of 18 buildings within the historic Louis Kahn Indian Institute of Management in Ahmedabad 1968 and 1978 and replacing them with newly constructed dormitories has abated and have sent the below letter to express our support to the global campaign to protect the buildings and give them a viable future. On our 2019 visit to the Ahmedabad campus we were impressed by the sense that this was not only a magnificent example of world class C20 design, but a vibrant and inspirational place of contemporary learning.
Dear Dr D’Souza,
The future of the Louis Kahn Campus at IIM
I am extremely reassured to see the letter of January 1st and the reassurance within it that the Board of Governors of IIM Ahmedabad are “acutely cognizant of the place that the institute and its architecture occupy in the larger community, and of the responsibility that comes with being custodians of the legacy that Louis Kahn bestowed”. I am delighted that the tender for Expressions of Interest for demolition of the dormitory buildings has been withdrawn, and that IIM has committed to a re-evaluation of options.
C20 Society is the national statutory amenity society for buildings constructed since 1914 in the UK, and we have been campaigning for the conservation of recent heritage since 1979. We are very aware of the challenges that this sometimes brings to building owners, both in terms of practical maintenance and repair issues, and as regards sensitive adaptation of significant buildings to changing patterns of use. We fully appreciate that the campus as a whole has to have an economically viable future, and that the dormitories must continue to have a beneficial role. The safety of those who utilize the buildings cannot be compromised and future needs of the institute must be satisfied.
C20 Society was privileged to visit IIM in November 2019, as part of a tour we organised of outstanding C20 Indian architecture. This proved extremely popular with our members and supporters, who enjoyed not only seeing magnificent buildings, but in engaging with a range of complex conservation challenges. IIM was undoubtedly a highlight for all of us, and I am totally in agreement with the excellent description of the campus on your own website where it noted that the “complex instils in the viewer a sense of awe and wonder”. As this description continues “the closeness of the students’ dormitories to the academic complex-… -helps students take the academic dialogue into non-academic spaces. To quote Louis Kahn, ‘Every time a student walks past a really urgent, expressive piece of architecture that belongs to his college, it can help reassure him that he does have that mind, does have that soul’.” We were impressed by the sense that this was not only a magnificent example of world class C20 design, but a vibrant and inspirational place of contemporary learning.
We are firmly convinced that retention of the dormitory blocks is essential to the conservation of the overall integrity of IIM. We are also certain that this can be achieved in a manner which will maintain their integrity and enable them to carry on being used productively.
You are to be heartily congratulated on your receipt of the UNESCO Asia-Pacific Award for
Cultural Heritage Conservation for the restoration of the Vikram Sarabhai Library in 2019, and it was a great pleasure to be able to see the exemplary results of this pioneering project first hand on our visit.
Having made this excellent start, we implore you to continue in like manner to ensure the future of IIM, not just for the vast international community of passionate stakeholders, including ourselves, but because the unique and irreplaceable environment clearly enhances the experience of studying and teaching at IIM.
Director, C20 Society
Our Christmas 2020 Gift List features ideas from our own C20 Society shop and from like-minded organisations that offer C20 architecture and design inspired products that we think you’ll enjoy. We have included items that focus on some of our past casework campaigns. Browse our list below for books, prints, cards and much more.
Answers our question: What is your favourite C20 building and why? Please type your answer in maximum 50 words in the comment box on our website which will appear when you join as member, or buy gift membership
Follows @lhartbooks on social media by 17th December
There will be THREE lucky winners.
C20 membership is only £57 per year and benefits include: member discounts for our physical and virtual events, our e-newsletter with casework updates, C20 architecture & design content and exclusive offers, a free copy of our acclaimed journal, a free copy of our regular magazine, C20 and 10% off all items in our e-shop. We also have concession rates at just £42 for under 30s, over 65s, full time students and registered disabled.
The prize books in our competition are must haves for any C20 architecture fan:
Copiously illustrated with rarely seen photographs and reproductions of his graphic work and correspondence, this is the first definitive study of Moholy-Nagy’s highly productive time in Britain. The book highlights his collaborations and friendships with architects, both British and fellow emigrés, such as Maxwell Fry and Walter Gropius, and other leading cultural figures, such as John Betjeman and Herbert Read.
The first new comprehensive introduction to Edwardian domestic architecture in over 40 years, including a fresh look at not just country houses, but cottages, seaside villas, golf dormy houses, the first barn conversions and suburban villas. It is a considered analysis of Edwardian domestic architecture in its broader context which includes Edwardian political thought and contemporary children’s and other literature, and a new approach to the history of conservation in Britain. The book includes specially commissioned, high-quality photography by Robin Forster which presents a canon of significant houses as well as reproductions of historic drawings.
Terms & Conditions:
The competition is organised by C20 Society and Lund Humphries. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are in no way responsible for its content or the selection of the winners
This competition is in no way sponsored, endorsed, administered by or associated with Facebook, Twitter or Instagram
Multiple entries by the same person are allowed if the person is buying gift memberships for different people
The person paying for membership(s) may decide if they wish to receive the books themselves or if they wish for them to be sent to the person for whom they are buying the gift membership
The competition will run from 25th November 2020 to 17 December 2020 at noon.
The 8th Harry Page Photography Competition is now open for entries. The competition was established in 2013 in memory of Harry Page, a passionate photographer and a keen C20 member.
The competition is open to C20 members and this year for the first time also to non-members. This closing date for entries is 31st December 2020.
What we’re looking for:
Architectural colour or black and white photographs of a particular building or building detail, whose construction was completed from 1914 onwards. We welcome entries from talented and enthusiastic amateur photographers.
Last year the award was won by Chris Houldsworth with images of two London landmarks: the National Theatre (Denys Lasdun, 1969-77) captured in ‘Interior’ and the King’s Cross Tunnel (Allies and Morrison, 2014) in ‘King’s Cross, St Pancras’.
In addition to the Harry Page competition trophy (entrusted to the winner for a year), the winner will receive:
Their winning photograph published in C20’s magazine, website and all on C20 social media channels
A book of their choice from the C20 Society’s e-shop inside a limited edition Paul Catherall x C20 Society tote bag
How to Enter:
1. Upload your photos to your Instagram and/or Twitter profile including #HarryPage20 and tagging @C20Society
NB: Don’t worry if you don’t have a social media account, the formal means of entry is (2) below and entrants without social media will not be penalised
2. To formally enter you must also send your photos with their captions to email@example.com, and be sure to include:
Your full name
Your postal address
Your phone number
Please also include any social media handles you are happy for us to tag you in
Please write: your full name in the subject line of the email, e.g.: Harry Page Entry 2020 – John Smith
3. The maximum size for each photo is 4MB
4. The maximum number of photo entries is 2 per entrant
It is the responsibility of each entrant to ensure that they have read and abided by these rules
The competition is open to C20 members and non-members
The competition is for non-professional, amateur photographers
The competition is open to UK residents only
The competition will run from 16th November to midnight on 31st December 2020. Any entries submitted outside of these dates will not be accepted
Entries may be used for C20 publicity and by entering the competition, entrants grant C20 Society licence to reproduce any image for any promotional purpose connected with the competition
All entries will be judged by Tim Page, and his decision will be final
Entries must include full name, address and contact details otherwise cannot be considered for judging
It will not be sufficient to post your entry on social media – it must be formally emailed as listed in ‘How to Enter’ above
Entries may be of any building, part of a building or architectural feature from the period covered by The Twentieth Century Society (post 1914)
All entries must have been taken by the entrant and anyone found to be using multiple accounts or email addresses to enter the competition will be disqualified
By submitting entries, each entrant confirms that:
they are the sole author of each entry and it is their original, unedited work
they own the copyright and any other intellectual rights of each image
if applicable, they have the prior permission of those pictured in any image
they have not licensed or disposed of any rights in any image
if applicable, they have received any necessary permission from the owners of buildings
This competition is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Instagram.
Each entrant and participant agrees to a complete release of Instagram when entering the competition.
This time last year, we had just began our C20 trip to India. Many of us who travelled there were struck by the murals by Satish Gujral, which are prominent in the entrance halls of two of the most impressive buildings we saw in Chandigarh (the Corbusier designed Government Museum, and the Gandhi Bhawan by Pierre Jeanneret). He was also the artist of the alphabet mural on the outside wall of the Delhi High Court. However, described by the Indian National Herald as a ‘multifaceted master modernist’, Gujral was far more than just a muralist, he was an architect, painter, sculptor, graphic artist and writer as well. The younger brother of Inder Kumar Gujral (Prime Minister of India from 1997–98), he was born in Jhelum in undivided Punjab in British India. In 1939 he enrolled for five years the Mayo School of Industrial Art in Lahore, then headed by Rudyard Kipling’s father whom Gujral described as belonging “to the old school which believed that all visual expressions are one”, and led a very broad curriculum as a result. Gujral then specialised in painting at the Sir JJ School of Art in Mumbai. His artworks, particularly his paintings including anguished figures, have been interpreted as a response to the turbulence of the partition of India in 1947 (when he was back in Lahore and saw much violence), but he also saw them as an expression of his own personal difficulties, including deafness and disability resulting from a traumatic childhood fall into a river.
In 1952, rather than following many of his contemporaries to Paris or London, he received a scholarship to study at the Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City, where he was apprenticed to Diego Rivera and David Alfaro Siqueiros. Whilst there Frank Lloyd Wright, with whom he was to disagree strongly about the role of murals, visited. He asked Wright why he had never commissioned Rivera to do a mural for one of his buildings. The reply was “if there is a dead wall, then I would want an artist to give life to the dead wall by painting a mural, but I have never built a dead wall” which he followed with the assertion that “to do a mural for architecture is to deny the right to both mediums to be independent”: in contrast Gujral believed that “all mediums are one”.
Winning the competition for a new Belgian Embassy in Delhi (1980–83) proved controversial, because he was not a qualified architect, but the fortress-like complex in brick was widely regarded as very successful. ‘I had not thought of architecture in intellectual terms,’ he was quoted as saying in the New York Times obituary. ‘I just designed it through some kind of instinct, and when I had finished I still did not know what I had done. As always with creative work, an artist is himself surprised by what he has produced.’
What do the ‘delightful bronze brackets’ in a London furniture store, a ‘triangular-coffered ceiling’ in a Los Angeles residence, a ‘drainpipe in a block of flats’ in Florence, a ‘wet riser outlet/pressure regulating valve’ in every lift-lobby of the Barbican Estate, and the ‘space-age numbers’ in the entrance of a building in Sheffield have in common?
They all feature in MyC20Detail, a publication due this December that all C20 members will receive for free, instead of the third issue of our magazine, C20.
What began as a small project – and a hashtag #MyC20Detail – on our Instagram account to cheer us up at the beginning of the first lockdown soon became something much more significant. At a time when many of us found a local walk part of a radically transformed daily routine, these images celebrated the pleasure to be found in looking closely at local buildings.
Soon, however, the contributions also encompassed buildings and objects people remembered; they captured details of places no longer accessible or even existing, and brought reminders of easier travelling times. Thanks to the generosity and kindness of our 50 contributors – not to mention their discerning eye – MyC20Detail has become an inspiring and deeply personal account of how these features, so varied in size and function, can affect our understanding of C20 architecture and design.
More information soon on how to purchase the book if you are not a member.