Reviewed: ‘Best Buildings Britain’

Modern architecture often gets a bad deal. We revere Georgian buildings and even many Victorian buildings, and yet can be quite blase about Streamline moderne, Art Deco and, lord forbid, Brutalist buildings, to the point that many are now being pulled down. But a new book is looking fondly at our more recent buildings, those built since 1920, that should be looked at in a more appraising light.

Best Buildings Britain by Matthew Freedman (published by Luster) is an affectionate look at 75 modern buildings. A range of architects and architecture experts were asked to give their list of top 10 modern buildings, and Freedman has then taken choices from each list to expand on. The book is not of the coffee table variety, although it features some beautiful black and white images, but it rather a pocket guide book style read.

Each entry has a full page photograph, along with information about the building including the architect who designed it, year it was built, the style and any other relevant and interesting information. The entries range from the well known to the more obscure, and span the whole of the country, although, understandably, there are more entries from London.

The entries include Tube Stations, theatres, libraries, pumping stations and galleries. There are also shops and businesses, skyscrapers and churches. Some of the buildings are recognisable, like BBC Broadcasting House, the Penguin Pool at London Zoo, the De La Warr Pavilion at Bexhill and Peter Jones Department store in London. But others are less well known including Preston Bus Station, the Engineering building at Leicester University and the NLA tower in Croydon. The choices show the diversity of modern design, and also of modern tastes.

At the back of the book are the complete lists from the architecture experts and architects, to perhaps give you a starting point for further research into modern buildings.

Best Buildings Britain is available from ACC Art Books for £15

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