By Owen Hatherley
A darkly funny architectural consultant to the decrepit new Britain that neoliberalism built.
Back in 1997, New Labour got here to energy amid a lot speak of regenerating the internal towns left to rot less than successive Conservative governments. Over the following decade, British towns turned the laboratories of the hot company economic climate: sparkling monuments to finance, estate hypothesis, and the carrier industry—until the crash.
In A advisor to the hot Ruins of significant Britain, Owen Hatherley units out to discover the wreckage—the structures that epitomized an age of greed and aspiration. From Greenwich to Glasgow, Milton Keynes to Manchester, Hatherley maps the derelict Britain of the 2010s: from riverside house complexes, artwork galleries and amorphous interactive "centers," to purchasing department stores, name facilities and factories become pricey lofts. In doing so, he offers a mordant observation at the city setting within which we are living, paintings and eat. Scathing, forensic, bleakly funny, A advisor to the recent Ruins of significant Britain is a coruscating post-mortem of a get-rich-quick, aspirational politics, a super, architectural "state we're in." 250 black-and-white images and illustrations
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Extra resources for A Guide to the New Ruins of Great Britain
Southampton’s ‘urban renaissance’ entailed nondescript retail and Barratt boxes. British cities’ perceptions of each other, when refracted through the compulsory agonism of a sporting rivalry, tend to get very skewed. On close investigation, these rivalries are usually built on myth, and are very recent. The Southampton–Portsmouth football rivalry began in the late 1960s, at the exact point that Colin Buchanan was charged by the Wilson government with developing a plan for the ‘Southampton–Portsmouth Supercity’.
At one end, a piece of public art, an abstracted steel seaman carrying a ship, manages to be surprisingly good, providing a signpost for the place which doesn’t make it look institutional without going for the usual alternative of being brightly patronizing. The effects of aerial bombardment are visible on practically every corner round here, if you look hard enough, but Holy Rood Church is the most eloquent statement of it, a bombed-out church which was left in its ruined state as a memorial to the Merchant Navy.
At the end of this survey of a country torn between north and south, rich and poor, Priestley listed three Englands that he had found on this journey, all of them embodied in their man-made structures. The first was the countryside, an area of patchwork fields and local stone, one which has ‘long since ceased to make its own living’, pretty in its desuetude, if over-preserved. The second was that of the Industrial Revolution, of iron, brick, smokestacks and back-to-backs, more ‘real’ than the first but ruthlessly inhumane towards its inhabitants.