Part 4 – Modernism: Revolution or Reinvention?

Part 4 – Part 4 – Modernism: Revolution or Reinvention?

Lecture Summary:

After 1930, the scattered seeds of an alternative architectural culture began to sprout in Britain and only seven years later, Henry-Russell Hitchcock could claim the ‘England leads the world in modern architectural activity.’ This has been viewed merely as a prelude to a more universal elimination of historically-based design and construction practices after 1945, but deserves attention in its own right. The lecture will present a range of work by British-born and trained architects and engineers, and the important contribution of émigrés who not only planted ideas but took cues from what already existed. Spanning from commitment to social change and a dandyish perfection of form, the decade of the 1930s is more contradictory and mysterious than sometimes assumed.

Speaker: Alan Powers


Alan Powers is a leading historian of twentieth century British architecture, art and design. He was Chairman of the Twentieth Century Society 2007-12, and currently a Trustee and co-editor of its journal, Twentieth Century Architecture, and the monograph series, Twentieth Century Architects, published by Liverpool University Press. He is History Leader at the London School of Architecture, and also teaches for New York University, London, and the University of Kent. His books include Modern, the Modern Movement in Britain (20005), Britain – Modern Architectures in History (2007) and Bauhaus Goes West (2019).

Interlocutor: Elaine Harwood


Elain Harwood is an architectural historian with Historic England and a specialist in post-Second World War English architecture.