Thursday, July 16, 2009

Don't talk to me about sophistication, I've been to Leeds

First in what will be several new things about Yorkshire Brutalism. The New Monumentality is an interesting exhibition on at Leeds at the moment essentially on Chamberlin, Powell and Bon's mighty University campus. It's reviewed by me in a very circuitous fashion for the New Statesman.


Blogger Paul said...

Another depiction of a Modernist environment set in the present is Clive Donner's Here We Go Round The Mulberry Bush, a 1968 coming-of-age comedy set in Stevenage. Like Gregory's Girl, it is unusual in showing life in Council housing as normal, and quite pleasant. It is more optimistic about modernity, though: Stevenage is depicted as a town for the future.

Class distinctions are also more apparent: the protagonist's posh girlfriend has fusty parents who live in an old house, whilst he lives in a council house on an estate. The film is clearly on the side of the egalitarian present, not the class-bound past

Stevenage was also the setting for an episode of The Saint, the original 1960s TV series, where again it is depicted as modern and happening.

And another one: Beautiful Thing (1996), which is set in Thamesmead.

2:51 pm  
Anonymous Lang Rabbie said...

If one believes the obsessive-compulsive categorisation of Blake's 7 fans, the only Leeds brutalist building that was actually used for location filming was the former architecture and civil engineering department of Leeds Polytechnic which apparently provided the "cloning plant" in The Children of Auron.

The Brunswick Building was a bizarre hulk of a structure - most Leeds folk only knew the windowless face of the building that backed onto Claypit Lane - but to the Brunswick Terrace side there was a bizarre geometric facade with influences from the Leicester engineering building and a vast flight of unused steps reminiscent of Paul Rudolph, which I think was also used for some scenes in Red Riding.

It remained unfinished when cash ran out in the early 70s, and was finally demolished earlier this year.

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