10.Constructing our future from our past

fig0011

Clevedon Pier, Somerset.

Understanding distinctiveness

In 1966, the president of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), Viscount Esher, a much-respected architect who had practised as Lionel Brett, felt compelled to respond to an article in The Observer by Ian Nairn, called ‘Stop the architects now’. Nairn argued that rebuilding since the war had wrecked many of the country’s finest historic towns and cities and ‘modern British architecture is just not good enough’. Esher wrote in reply:

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