Having recently come into possession of the Brutalist London Map, a handy guide put together by the 20th century society, today we braved the Mayday April showers to gawp at some of London’s finest buildings.
I think the cliche about Brutalism enthusiasts is they sneeringly enjoy it from the comfort of their Edwardian townhouse. I love the lines and the scale, but I couldn’t possibly live in it, darling.
Our starting off point was Bloomsbury’s Brunswick Centre, a Grade II listed shopping / apartment complex I would happily live in should I ever come into possession of an Edwardian townhouse to swap it for.
Heading east, past the assorted tourists and questionable eateries of Russell Square, next up was the Institute of Education and SOAS library. If these two buildings were ever to become magically alive and end up fighting each other like Godzilla villains, I’d put my money on the I of E, because of its impressive pyramid-esque heft and potentially violent cascade of falling concrete staircases.
Continuing east past the Goodge Street mural and an emergency bibimbap, next up was the University of Westminster, the first unlisted building of the day and the first one I’d never noticed before, despite having cycled past it approximately a million times before. It’s situated just east of the Post Office Tower, is massive, and you can study architecture and the built environment there if you wish. You probably should.
Next, another building I’ve never noticed, despite once meeting Paul Weller directly outside it in 2006. The Royal College of Physicians – specifically, the fifth building to hold the Royal College of Phyisicians – was opened by the Queen Mum, no doubt stinking of gin, in 1962. Situated directly to the east of Regent’s Park, it is grade I listed and pleasingly symmetrical. I braved incessant Range Rovers to stand in the road and take its picture.
I paid 20p for the opportunity to spend a penny in the park, before having tea near ultimate frisbee players and children playing Pokemon Go in zeitgeist-defying fashion. Nothing in this paragraph is Brutalist; nearby, London Zoo’s Elephant and Rhinoceros Pavillion stood unseen, at least by these eyes.
The final stop: Wellbeck Street multi-storey car park, situated just north of the big Debenhams on London’s hellish Oxford Street.
It was my favourite building of the day.